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Posts Tagged ‘Difficult Times’

Dark Alleys

His 12 year old daughter was dying – the light of his life. Although he was a respected, religious leader, he could do nothing to restore his child to health.

She had been to every doctor possible. No one could help her. She was weak from twelve years of bleeding and an outcast in her society.

Their brother was dead. He had been in the grave 3 days. They couldn’t understand why their best friend hadn’t come when he heard of the illness. He might have been able to help him.

He had everything a man could want – wealth, grown children who enjoyed being together, the blessings of God. All was taken away from him in one day. Then his physical health plummeted, and his friends concluded that it he brought all this upon himself.

She was down to the last bit of food for her son and herself. There was nothing in the pantry and no hope of any food to come. She had used every ounce of resources she had.

The city was soon to be attacked and captured by a foreign nation. Two men from that nation had promised her and her family protection and freedom. As she huddled in her home, waiting for her rescuers, she wondered if she had been foolish to trust their words. What if they had lied to her?

In every situation, a person has come to a dead end – an alley with no escape. They have exhausted all their options. They have used up all their resources. There is grief, sorrow, fear, anxiety, and little if any hope. These situations are God’s specialty! This is when his glory shines the most. This is when we see the power and might of the God whom we serve. He shares his glory with no one.

O, child of God, he wants to bless us with his power and might, but we need to be willing to go to the end of the alley where there is darkness and no hope of escape. He will not abandon us. He will walk down the alley with us and wait with us. He knows all about dark alleys. Remember Gethsemane? Remember the cross? I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be in a dark alley with than Jesus.

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Friendly Fire

Proverbs 12:18 – Reckless words pierce like a sword.

How painful are the wounds of a friend. The pain goes deep and lingers. We walk in disbelief that someone so close to us, someone we trusted, someone who has access to our heart and emotions, could cause such pain. Friendly fire: “fire, as by artillery, by one’s own forces, especially when causing damage near or casualties to one’s own troops.” At one moment, you are in the battle together, moving forward; the next moment, you are hit by someone in your own unit. Confusion, shock, and disbelief. How could this happen? The safety and strength you felt as part of a stronger force suddenly disappears and you feel vulnerable and unsure. Maybe I am walking in the wrong direction. Maybe I don’t know my fellow soldiers as well as I thought. Was I too trusting?

When we have been hurt by those within the body of Christ, we can go to our Lord and Savior for understanding and compassion. He suffered in this area more than any of us ever will. The ultimate betrayal – Judas’ kiss – was from one he loved dearly. Did Jesus stop loving him? No, he didn’t even lash out in anger. Christ knew that this was all a part of God’s plan – God would use it for good. This is the part that we can’t get our minds around – how God can utilize hurt, pain, and suffering for good. In our culture, these conditions warrant outrage and even judgment. In God’s kingdom, we are to turn the other cheek and pray for them. Obviously, this is a supernatural act – our human nature recoils at this response. As we consider the hurt we have sustained, let us also be reminded of the myriad times that we have walked in disobedience, dishonored God’s name, and said cruel words that have hurt others. We are not blameless ourselves, and we need as much mercy and grace as the one who has caused us such deep pain and sorrow.

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Ear Training

There have been times in my life when I have been thrown into difficult situations – health issues, loss of a loved one, loss of employment, emotional stress – and dear friends have said to me, “Call me anytime – day or night. I want to do anything I can to help.” Those words are like cool, clear water to parched lips. In times of stress or trouble, you do feel like you’re trying to navigate a tugboat through 30 foot waves. The waters tower above you, and you fear that the next swell may plunge you into the dark abyss. How sweet are the words of a friend willing to come and find you and walk through the darkness with you.

How quickly we turn to friends and family for help in times of need. It is only human, and therein lies a problem. They are only human too. We must train ourselves to turn first to the One who really can be there day or night – the Good Shepherd who will spend the entire night searching for the one sheep that has wandered off or fallen off the path. The Shepherd will not fail in his mission. That sheep will be found, tenderly carried home on the Shepherd’s shoulders, and given proper care. How can we be more responsive to the Shepherd’s voice? Not by head knowledge, but by heart knowledge. We must spend much time with him until we can recognize his voice in the midst of the hurricane or the quietness of the desert. A piano tuner can train his ear to hear gentle nuances of pitch. A Christian can train the “ears” of his heart to hear the gentle words of the Savior. Lord, give us ears to hear.

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