Tag Archives: suffering

Deep Roots

Isn’t it interesting that when things are going well we can so easily be lulled, like a sleeping baby, into believing that we have strong and great faith, yet in times like this we are most susceptible to the bubble of faith. Our bubble grows fast, it quickly becomes big  and is so colorful and beautifully round – it is a delight for both ourselves and others to see.  We fill it with air, words, talk and so much more – so it will keep growing, but oh how quickly it pops at the first signs of trial and we are left with what is REAL and TRUE- maybe a seed, but probably something even smaller.

Oh Lord – to have faith the size of a mustard seed!   Please give us each a real and true seed of faith and then, my Love, please teach us how to garden.  Gardeners know that most tiny seeds must be planted and kept in the dark as they begin to grow. Please protect us, keep us hidden in the dark as our roots of faith begin to grow and let us not boast in anything, but especially not in any faith that might appear on the surface for we know that our true faith lies within our deep roots. We know that the deep roots will not only withstand the storms and trials of life but will become stronger with each storm – reminding us yet again of the Joy of Suffering.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
Colossians 2: 6-7

High on a hill

I saw a man high on a hill.  As I climbed the hill trying to reach him, the terrain became steep.  I called out to him asking for help.  He didn’t move and I realized he could not hear.  I waved my arms trying to get his attention and then realized he could not see.

Oh the irony and the great sorrow, that I have ears to hear and eyes to see my endless failures and flaws that keep me from ever reaching that beautiful summit, and his ears do not hear and his eyes do not see to let him realize that he has reached that beautiful summit.

Oh my sweet Lord, the thought of this is frightening and painful… please open our eyes to see and our ears to hear.

In a flash…

I know Christmas is coming and we are preparing to celebrate His birth, but over the last few weeks all of my thoughts have been of Him in the garden of Gethsemane, suffering in agony to the point of sweating blood.

What was flashing through His mind in those moments?  What could cause such great emotional pain that it transferred into physically sweating blood?

Maybe as He knelt there praying He had a moment of life flashing before His eyes.   Instead of seeing His own life, He saw all of our lives flash before His eyes as His life.  As He lived each of our lives in His mind, He saw every sin each of us has ever committed, but instead of seeing us He saw Himself committing these grievous, selfish, terrible acts.

He Himself bore our sins… – Peter 2:24

Thank You, forgive me, and I love You seem to be the only prayers that come to mind when I think of His agony.

A hidden blessing?

Do you remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus?

Luke 16:19-26

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

I was washing my hands today in very hot water after cleaning the bathroom.  The water was so hot that I had to take my hands out for a moment and then put them back in to rinse.  I noticed that once my hands had adjusted to being out of the hot water for that moment, it was even more painful to put them back in the water for my final rinse.

This is such an obvious point that we often forget about it.  Once we are adjusted to an extreme, whether it be temperature or a life situation, things become easier, they become more bearable and  more tolerable and then eventually become our normal as we settle in and forgot about our previous normal.

Could this great chasm really be a hidden blessing for those who choose Hades, because in His infinite wisdom He knows their endless suffering would increase exponentially with even one drop of cool water or one grace given from above?

A deeper love

Last weekend I headed out to an overgrown portion of our yard with a saw in hand and planned to trim a few low hanging branches and cut down a few weeds that were becoming full grown trees.  As I started pushing branches out of the way and worked my way back to the fence I came across some dead branches/vines covered in 1-1.5 inch thorns.  I quickly recruited my sweet husband to spend the next 30 min braving the thorns while digging out this plant.  Unfortunately we did suffer a few pricks during the process and they really hurt!

The thorns and the pricks made me think of Jesus.  It reminded me of His crown of thorns and I tried to imagine these thorns pressing into my head… I couldn’t.

Thinking of this made me wonder why we have elevate the rose to such a high symbol of love when it too is covered in these merciless thorns which pressed into the vulnerable and precious head of our Savior and Lord.

Could it be that the young men of the past longed to present their dear ones with not only a beautiful, soft, sweet smelling flower, but also a flower that required them to brave the thorns before it could be obtained in order to deepen the love they were showing their sweetheart through the gift of the rose?

The soldiers could have mocked Jesus with a crown of twigs, but God placed a bush with thorns nearby to allow Jesus to show us yet another level, an even deeper level of His piercing love for us through His crown of thorns.

Jesus thank You for Your deep love that I don’t understand and cannot fathom.  You call to me, You wake me from my sleep and You long to be with me regardless of my disregard.  Please inspire me to long for You as You long for me, my Love.

Regrets…

Some believe that Jesus told Judas Iscariot to betray him.

In the Gospel of Judas, Jesus said, “But you will exceed all of them.  For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”

If this is the case, then Judas acted out of obedience and faith in Jesus and he was given the strength to follow through with Jesus’ request.  Imagine for a moment being Judas once things had been set in motion and he was outside the loving gaze and light of Jesus.  Imagine the torture and suffering he put himself through questioning his actions, wondering if he had acted within the will of God or made a mistake.  Imagine the tortured thoughts he experienced as he second guessed his actions under the criticism and hatred of those who had once called him brother, his fellow disciples.

It is so hard to keep our hearts and our heads clear and open to God’s message, and then once we are bogged down with fear of a mistake or acting selfishly rather than within His will, we pull yet further away from Him and our faith is so quickly drained from us.

I think it is in these moments of fear that we have to breath deep, and know our faith is being tested.  The moment our faith begins draining from us, is moment that we must hold tight to it and thank God for our current suffering, questioning and lack of confidence in our actions or words.  We must continue to reflect even more on His perfect plan and remember that sometimes acting within His will might not be comfortable.  If we have stepped off the path, there is a lesson within each step and we must remember that He loves us so much that He will not let us stray far before He begins nudging us back on track.

I said something a few days ago that I so deeply regret, that I can now actually appreciate why some people take a vow of silence.  I am not sure if I was on track or off track with what I said, but even through my regret I am trying very hard to be thankful for experiencing these feelings of regret, for the increase in my desire to be pleasing to God (through silence if necessary) and for yet another opportunity to empathize with Judas.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for everything.

He’s My Son!

I recently heard this song for the first time, He’s My Son by Mark Schultz.  I didn’t listen to all of the words the first few times.  I only paid attention to the words of the refrain, “He’s My Son”.  Each time I heard it I thought how beautiful it was that someone had written a song from God’s point of view leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.

I finally listened to the words of the whole song and realized that it was written from the point of view of a father with a sick child crying out to God for help.  It is a beautiful song, but each time I hear it I always imagine how God must have cried out to us in the hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Can you hear Me?
Can you see Him?
Please don’t leave Him.
He is not just anyone, He is My Son!

Friday I heard this beautiful song again. A strong desire came into my heart to write a version giving us a tiny glimpse of the painful cries our Holy Father made into our deaf ears as He went through the suffering of watching His Son die.

He’s My Son by Mark Schultz
(original lyrics)

The re-written Lyrics are in bold below.  Please see the link above for all of the original lyrics by Mark Schultz.

Looking down from on high tonight,
Dreading the moment He sets things right.
See He is a boy that needs your love.
I’ve done all that I can do from above.
He now knows His fate,
To shoulder your sin and hate
Tonight as He prays,
He asks, how to show you the way.
And He tries
Not to cry
As the tears fill His eyes.

Can You hear Me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can you see Him?
Can you pray for Him this night?
If You can hear Me
Please send Him all your love.
See, He’s not just anyone, He’s My Son.

Every night I watch Him sleep,
Amazed at the man He’s grown to be
I send Him strength and see Him through.
Open your eyes, oh how He loves you!
He will never grow old,
Yet lives life without fear
What would you be
If He’d never come here?
His time grows near,
He prays for you,
Let Him know that you’re there.

Can you hear Me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can you see Him?
Can you pray for Him this night?
If you can hear Me
Please send Him all your love.
See, He’s not just anyone, He’s My Son.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see Him?
Can you pray for Him this night?
If You can hear me
Please send Him all your love.
See, He’s not just anyone.

Can you hear Me?
Can you see Him?
Please don’t leave Him,
He’s My Son.
_________

Thank you Mark Schultz for this beautiful song that has opened my eyes just a little bit more!

Grace in disguise?

It was a dark and stormy evening.  A young man who had recently received his license was on his way home from picking someone up.  As he approached a red light, he pumped the brakes, they locked and the car continued right through the light.

There was a collision, people were hurt, a young child in another car was killed.

The young man driving was my grandfather.

I know he thought of this child often.  I know he carried the pain of having caused the death of this child for the rest of his life. As I think back to discussions and time I spent with my grandfather, I can remember the painful expression I would see cross his face if we ever heard about or discussed any type of car accident.  I remember seeing him wince as if he was physically in pain when we discussed a news article about all of the fatal car accidents caused by faulty tires back in 2000.

I think this moment drove him to spend the rest of his life seeking to empathize with those who had recently lost a loved one in death through his work as a funeral director. He sought to feel their pain, he hoped to feel what the family of that young child felt, and he searched for forgiveness by easing the pain of others as they faced the death of a loved one.

I now wonder if God graced my grandfather with an end to his search just before he died?

My young cousin, his granddaughter, was killed in a car accident on a dark and stormy evening about a year before my grandfather died. After his years of searching and empathizing with others, he finally felt what it was like for the family of that young child who had died so many years ago. He finally felt what it was like to look into the face of the mother of that child as he looked into the face of his own daughter as she wept for her child.

My sweet young cousin was the only one who was ready to go home.  Maybe her death was a gift of grace to our grandfather?

God thank you for loving both of them so much!

Dream a little dream with me…

Today I have been thinking about our sweet Jesus and all of the pain and suffering He will go through for me, for you, for all of us.  I am so sad.

I keep thinking of Simon the Cyrene helping Him to carry His cross and Veronica leaning in to wipe His face.  I want others to be there for Him, for our sweet Jesus, during His pain, during His agony.  I have so many friends who love Him so much.

I want to a dream a little dream today.  I want to dream that my sweet friends are there with Jesus.  I want to imagine all of you quietly standing up and taking up His cross so that Simon’s hands are free to carry our Lord.  I want to imagine you sprinkled through the crowd and quietly leaning in as He passes to wipe His face, kiss His wounds, and gently care for Him.

We cannot change what happened, it had to happen, the scriptures had to be fulfilled.   Maybe we can dream a little dream to ease His pain, ease His suffering, and send Him our timeless love.

Thank you my friends for helping me to find our sweet Jesus.  Please love Him today, please care for Him today, and I pray with all of my heart that you have the honor of being with Him today in our dreams.

 

I Believe!

I just heard the song I Believe by Chris August!  This is the first time I have heard it and I love it and wanted to share it with you!

At one point in the song he sings…

If you had some heartache that made you cry a thousand tears
Then let me tell you now I know just how you feel

When I heard this I thought, I have never experienced this heartache and would not be able to tell someone that I know how they feel, but I then thought of a dear friend who has experienced this heartache.  I had this image for a moment of how treasured, loved and special she is and that we are so blessed that Jesus has been carrying her through these difficult times.

I believe and carry a hope in my heart that she is nearing the end of these trials.  Every now and then I think I see Jesus put her down for a day or two so that she can begin taking her baby steps while still holding His hand.

Thank you Jesus for loving my dear, sweet friend so much and carrying her through so many difficult times!

I believe it is Our Best Life!