You know most of you reading this(myself included) knew a relatively charmed childhood. For me I was built in a house where love was being learned and taught and felt.. where God was declared and believed. The house sat there in the middle of green miles that seemed to stretch endless. My days were filled with grass beneath bare feet, sun kissing pink cheeks, little legs trying to keep up with brothers off creating a new adventures. Three times a day we were beckoned from our play and chores to a sit and share and love around a feast laid before us. There was a father and mother learning grace and love and by a strength not their own they passed it on to the brothers and I. There was time and words, discipline and fun, poured forth over and into us. Then as the sun said goodbye to another day there was the fathers voice reading from That Book and there were the prayers and kisses as we climbed the stairs and were tucked in to bed by those work worn hands. As a little girl it was thought that this life I was living was the norm. It was not until I had grown a bit older that the world showed me that this life I had known was rare and special.
And so as we grow and see, and the world lays hold of our childlike innocence we are left with a lot of wondering. We grow hearing and reading that, God, He is sovereign! But when you look into eyes and hands reaching out for nourishment, and when you hear of the fists flying, and you see the young girls facing grown men and their twisted propositions.... a soul and mind like mine raised knowing the "charmed" is left wondering. And so God in His mind blowing faithfulness, as we read and seek, His quells the questions. And we read and our soul hears:
"They wandered in the desert in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their souls fainted in them. THEN they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their troubles. ....Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down and their was none to help. THEN they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. .....Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their souls abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. THEN they called out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. ....Their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. THEN they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. "
And as we read the fog is lifted and we begin to see... we see Him... once again coming face to face with the fact that His hand is in it all. Sometimes it seems to takes many encounters with a truth for a soul to grasp it. But He stays there, ever faithful.. showing again and again. Calling the wondering mind to come and see and KNOW. And so slowly the seed finds ground and goes deep and begins to take root. And as it grows so do we! And our minds and hearts find that allusive answer and the result is praise and thanksgiving and peace. Understanding that the "THENS" in life are all there for a purpose.. bringing us to the place where we call on The Rescuer, The Savior.. doesn't mean that the pain caused by hearing the stories and seeing the faces goes away. But it gives such strength to the soul. KNOWING that He is in control. Knowing that every circumstance every situation is perfect... drawing us, leading us, sometimes it seems 'throwing' us to His feet. It doesn't cease the flow of empathy but it does fill us with words that can bring life. There is a time for sitting and listening and holding... that is important. But then comes the time for reaching out with prayers and words and hands and lifting the weary arms and tongues to join you in the giving of thanks. Thanks for the freeing understanding that it is all for our good and His glory. And when we learn this art of thanks for the 'THENS" in life... well then, we can declare with lips washed white as snow.. "any life... any where that means MORE of Christ!"
So as we watch God raise the sun over this city with each new day and as we walk out and encounter the things that it holds we are learning to walk and talk and see differently. We are learning how to speak LIFE... we no longer have to cower behind our wondering but we are learning to embrace the 'THENS" and encourage others to join us. We don't have to hang our heads and look up and ask why... He has told us. It can be a slippery seed to grasp at first.. but we are trusting Him, in His strength, to grab it and plant it deep.
This lesson has been proven to be so timely as we are now becoming involved in a program for teenagers. The things that you hear and are made aware of are sometimes shocking.. the things that some young boys and girls are facing are so far removed from anything I could have ever imagined at such a tender age. When divided and asked to do a skit we sat there and watched as the two dramas unfolded... and realized what it is we are dealing with. Ten to fourteen year old youths doing skits on sex and witchcraft. And I cling tighter to that truth.. and tighter to my Savior, Strength, and Hope praying that He will become the same to them! That they will be able to read Psalm 107 and declare amen as there souls digest verse 43.....
"Whoever is wise will observe these things (the "THENS" of life), and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord."
To think that all of this that they face.. and all that we face... that it helps us know His lovingkindness..
.....and just maybe it IS His lovingkindness!!!
We will be having a week long conference for them this coming week and would appreciate your prayer! We are excited to see what God does!
We have been so overwhelmed with the support that we have received... thank you seems so weak. But we declare it daily.. and know that God hears and see's your deeds done in secret and will reward you!! Thank you and as always we pray.. that God may be glorified.. and may souls be called.. and may His words be declared.. and may Life be found!