It's already a year full of prayers and appeals and gratitude.
- Steve and Polly are starting a Christian adult home, a dream of theirs, and need a few more residents. They are full of hope amid the challenges of a new business that matches their love for people with helping skills. (I'd be happy to connect you if you know someone who needs care.)
- Sharon had knee surgery. Friends built a ramp so she could get in and out of the house; others have cooked and cleaned.
- Sam's in a financial mess as he continues to look for work to support his family.
- Our daughter Kirsten continues to struggle with complications from arthritis.
- Ron has disappointed his family and wonders if he can ever regain their trust.
- Both W and my mom have been ill with flu since Christmas. Thankfully they're on the mend.
- An uncle and a coworker have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
- Kara hasn't found work, and the promising leads have dried up. She writes my office asking for help. Any help.
- Haiti. Poverty and tragedy beyond comprehension.
The list is long.
Many of us blame God for difficulty when we have never bowed in wonder at his goodness or been grateful for past provisions. Even in the hardest of times, we can reflect on past and present blessings to create balance and keep equilibrium. Think about how many years of health we have enjoyed. Which church or churches taught us the scriptures and fed us spiritually? How long have we sheltered in a warm home, or had good work? Who loves us and nurtures us?
When our kids were little, we remember pausing often to thank God for their good health and sound minds. When our daughter got sick in her teens, we felt equally free to cry in anguish to God for healing. We had been grateful for good days, so abandoning ourselves to tears for the hard days was part of our ongoing friendship with God.
I don't understand much about this life of faith, but his peace and goodness will take us through all days - "good" and "bad" - when he has has full access to our heart, body, mind, and spirit.
*May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Psalm 20:1-5 NIV
*O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:1-4 NIV
*I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 NKJV