My New Year’s resolutions never change. I have to be intentional about my relationship with God. “To the degree we want God, we’ll seek Him.” (Loretta Chalfant)
A blog that I’ve followed for years. And an example of someone who’s a hero of faith!
“Thank God, I’m sick.”
I’m laying in bed with a tissue in one hand and a cup of peppermint tea in the other. The room smells like Eucalyptus oil. I’ve been housebound for two weeks.
Sadly, I’m not alone. Every time my cell phone beeps, someone is asking for prayer concerning their health. Toothache, flu, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, miscarriage. When I’m tempted to feel sorry for myself, I remember to pray for other people’s health.
Mostly, I’ve been learning to thank God in everything—even when I woke at 2 a.m., hacking till I thought I’d spit up blood. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Oh, I know how to be a pollyanna—an optimistic character. I’ve learned to look for the silver lining. When a tree fell on our fence this spring, I thanked God the tree didn’t fall on our house. When I got sick, I thanked God for medicine, health insurance, and a husband to bring me tea. I thanked God I didn’t have pneumonia. But, if I thank God in every circumstance, shouldn’t I thank Him that I’m sick?
I know God can use all things for my good and His purposes, but thanking Him for being ill sounds ridiculous, right? However, I’m here to say thanking God this past month (even prior to my illness) has made a difference.
When we went to our son’s college commencement ceremony outdoors, it was raining. I had to wear a poncho over my new dress and walk in sandals over a squishy wet lawn. “Thank you, Lord, for the rain.”
Was I thankful? Not really. Did I sound sarcastic? Yep.
Thanking God in everything requires obedience before there are results. The day after commencement was so hot and humid that, given the choice, I was grateful we’d sat in the cool, drizzling rain rather than squinting and fanning ourselves in the sun.
However, what if we don’t see the positive in hindsight, other than, it might have been worse. Well, when the bad germs first hit me and I felt like road kill, I couldn’t see anything positive. My first instinct was to grumble, “No, spare me.” Then I remembered to thank God in everything. I forced myself to say, “Thank you, Lord, I’m in pain. Thank you for this horrific cough.”
Just saying the words, “Thank you,” put my eyes on God. He knows I’m ill. I know He cares. Thanking God for being sick has kept me from grumbling. How do you thank someone and grumble at the same time? And not grumbling keeps me from having a pity party.
Now, if I’d been ill during my son’s graduation, I’d probably be singing a less thankful tune. But, based on my God lessons and quizzes thus far, I can honestly say:
Being thankful doesn’t change the weather. I’m sick whether I thank God or not. And yet, thanking God in everything does make a difference … even in this.
I stumbled across this old blog and thought, wow! I haven’t changed. I still like to be in control. When will I ever learn…….
“Did you pack extra socks? You want to keep your feet warm.”
“One pair should be enough.”
“Did you pack sunscreen?”
“Someone else should have some.”
“Do you have a flashlight?”
I’d say my voice is going in his one ear and out the other, but there’s an ear bud inserted into his right ear.
Dad’s voice, “Leave him alone. He’ll be fine.”
“What if he forgets something he needs?”
“Then he’ll remember it next time.”
They drive away, leaving an exasperated mother. “I wonder if he packed a tooth brush.”
My daughter says I’d make a great administrative assistant. Even when I leave home, I type out detailed instructions.
“Water the plants on these days. Don’t…
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April Fool’s Day 2018 fell on Easter Sunday so it didn’t seem appropriate to trick folks like I have in the past. However, I found this blog post from a few years ago that occurred near both those days. I’m no longer a volunteer jail chaplain, but the memory of Harry “the juicy fruit guy” still inspires me.
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)
I attended Harry’s memorial service this past weekend. I went, not to weep, but to celebrate a life that belonged to Jesus. To honor a man whose earthly fruit glorified God.
Folks called Harry the “juicy fruit man” because he always …and I mean always…carried sticks of gum. That’s how I met him one night, many moons ago, while I waited to go into jail.
Smiling, he offered me a stick of gum. The yellow wrapper said Juicy Fruit, but it was Harry’s “Gospel Gum.” Whether it was a jail guard or a stranger sitting in the lobby, Harry used gum to break the ice, to part…
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I’m not afraid of the dark except when it covers my soul and I lose sight of hope. Common sense says: “Life’s not so bad. Count your blessings. This too shall pass.” But when the night lingers and you can’t force the sun to shine, what do you do? Pop a pill, chug some wine, pull the bedspread over your head?
Maybe . . . but people gotta keep living even when they feel like the walking dead.
Last summer, God’s Word which normally fills me up . . . suddenly fell on deaf ears. Unable to hear the Spirit of God, I became spiritually mute. Words eluded me—even on paper. Unable to hear The Word or articulate my thoughts, I sank into the dark night of my soul. Yep, disappeared like invisible ink.
I doubt anyone noticed. After all, it’s safer to hide when we’re depressed—physically or spiritually—instead of asking for help or prayer. Why invite someone to judge us or tell us to “snap out of it” when there’s already enough self-condemnation smothering our mind?
At the time I didn’t feel any emotion. Oh, I could laugh. Chat with a friend. Text platitudes to the dark souls around me. A person had to step close and gaze into the window of my soul to notice the flame flickered and dimmed. They had to listen—if only to notice my silence. And who has time to listen to someone else when we’re tuned into a multitude of other frequencies—especially Self.
Besides, I didn’t know how to explain the pathos. Could I blame my dark night on the summer heat? Unmet expectations? Unconfessed sin? Perhaps like Scrooge, I could attribute my heaviness “to a bit of undigested beef.” Who knows what triggered the night. But when you’ve tasted sweet fellowship with the Lord, it’s despairing to cry to God and hear nothing . . . .
My mentor, Loretta, once said, “When God appears silent, it feels as though He’s left the stage and is standing in the wings.” Only, we know it’s not true. Feelings and hormones have a way of distorting reality—even for Christ followers.
The longer my soul stayed in the dark, the less I prayed. I got bored at playing church. Tired of doing the right thing. But like the apostle Peter told Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6: 68,69)
So I went through the motions, and waited for night to pass while I held onto these truths:
- “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8:35-39)
- “Christ will never leave or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
- “Don’t grow weary in doing good.” (Galatians 6:9)
One day, I said, “Enough.” I turned on praise music and fastened my mind to the lyrics. I stopped staring inward and gazed outward to the Creator, Elohim, who knows us inside out. I raised weak arms to the great Shepherd, Jehovah-Rohi, who cares for His beloved and longs for us to experience abundant life. I raised my voice to Jehovah-Rophe, who heals the soul and makes it new.
As my body swayed to the rhythm of Casting Crown’s song, “Who Am I,” a pinhole of light blasted into my dark soul. The longer I sang to the Light of the World, the more brilliant His light shone within me until . . . my dark night mourning turned into dancing. And it was good!