Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Light Never Stops Shining.

It seems like everyone in my life right now seems to be going through some kind of crisis. Honestly, I'm in a pretty good spot right now. Getting dragged into other people's problems and drama isn't exactly what I really want to spend my time doing. But, this theme of hope keeps coming back to me. This whole "I can't give up because there is a greater plan in all of this" concept is something that I want to share with the people that I care most about- even when their situations are messy. In Sunday School last sunday morning, we talked about how whatever happens, we should remember that God has a bigger story- this means we can trust God no matter what! We are so consumed in our understanding. We see the little picture- that in the "right now, things are bad. We don't know how things are going to turn out. But, we serve a BIG God. We can believe in him and have faith that he will keep his promises. His history of faithfulness helps us. I mean, think about the stories in the Bible. One I go to a lot is Job. His story seems pretty hopeless in the beginning. His children? Dead. Animals? Killed. Home? Gone. Skin? Boils. Friends? Blamed him. Wife? Angry. Everyone around him said that he should just go ahead and curse God and die. But, Job had hope. He had hope that God was going to come through and make this bad story into a good story. And God DID! In Job 42:10-17, it says that:
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. 
The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. 
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. 
God had a bigger story in mind. From Job's perspective, his life had to look pretty stinky at times. It had to look a little hopeless. I was reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp the other day, and it really made me think about perspective. Perspective is how we see the world. Ann writes that "that which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining." That hit me like a ton of bricks. In the midst of dark times when we think that God cannot possibly be there and that God cannot possibly do anything good, we need to remember that the light never stops shining. God is still there. God is still at work. God is still standing beside us, holding our little hand. Later, Ann writes,
I feel Him hold me- a flailing child tired in Father's arms. And I can hear Him sooth soft, "Are your ways My ways, child? Can you eat My manna, sustain on my Mystery? Can you believe that I tenderly, tirelessly work all for the est good of the while world- because My flame of love for you can never, ever be quenched?"
Our perspective is warped. We fail to look at life through the lens of God's Word. Our view is warped, because we cannot see outside our tiny little worldview. Julian of Norwich writes,
See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom, and love with which I made it. How can anything be amiss?
Reflect on this today. Even in the midst of the darkness, when sin and death seem to overwhelm you...don't give up. Look at life through the lens of God and readjust your perspective. Cling to the promise found in John 16:33b, where Jesus tells you, his precious child, that "in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world." Take heart. Don't stop fighting. Don't give up. Embrace hope. Trust that God can turn your bad situation into something good. His story isn't finished yet! This is just one chapter, and everyone knows that a "conflict" has to before a "happily ever after" to make a good fairytale.

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