Shalom to all who enter.

Tag Archives: hope

 

I am running as fast as I can on the road that goes nowhere.

The Cheshire Cat lied as he smiled at me and said

If I ran long enough I’d get somewhere.

In this land where things are not what they seem to be,

I have forgotten who I am and where I am going.

 

 

If I don’t know who I am, then where do I go with all my running.

Who am I? A product of chance and the sod?

A dispensable taxi for disdainful DNA?

Does my life have meaning and purpose?

Or do I live to just pass DNA on?

Dust to dust, sending forth seed and then I am done?

If that’s all I am, then why do I run?

Why do I dream the impossible dream

Or try to reach the unreachable star?

But, what if the other story were true,At rest

That I am the child of the Most High God,

Named and treasured, loved and cherished,

Nothing random about me at all?

Is it that the impossible dream, the unreachable star

Is found in the place of rest within My Creator’s heart?

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Today morning this verse leapt out at me.

For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and He has not hidden His face from Him, but has heard, when He cried to him. (Ps 22:24)

Or as the Message translation puts it –

He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there, listening. (Ps 22:24)

The last several months have been challenging. Nothing serious. Just me – wrestling with various issues and trying to make sense of certain people and issues, wondering what really God wanted me to do – I guess you could say I was going through an existential crisis of sorts.

One thing I learnt with absolute clarity through these months is that God NEVER despises my doubts and wrestlings. In fact, He delights to bring truth and settle foundations.

Others may trivialise your pain/ wrestlings but God never does. Others may distance themselves from you in your moments of weakness, but God enters into your pain and pours His strength into your emptiness and lack.

I don’t know where you are at (for that matter I don’t know where I am at) but today I know with certainty that God does not hide His face from us, but He offers us His right hand of fellowship and strength to lift us up and strongly support us.

Incidentally this is the Psalm Jesus quoted from on the cross. It begins ‘My God, my God why have you forsaken me.’ But it has this beautiful reminder midway, that God does not turn His face away from the afflicted one but hears his prayer.

It carries a beautiful promise –

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! …(Ps 22:26)

 

 


Mind the gap.

We look at it

Measure it

Assess it

Don’t want to be swallowed by it

And yet, looking at the gap

Sucks us into it.

Mind the gap.

The distance between

What is

And what should be.

Baal-Peor

Lord of the Gap

Demands our worship

In tithes of discontentment

Resentment

And rage

But the gaps remain

Unfilled

Till One came

Laid down His life

Filled the greatest Gap of all

Gave us hope

That every valley will be exalted

Every mountain brought down

Every crooked place made straight

Every rough place made smooth

That we will see

True

Fraternity, Equality and Liberty

Established

May His kingdom come

His will be done

On earth as it is in heaven


path lifeIn the Presence of Jehovah

In and out of situations
that tug of war at me
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King
Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers
In our hour of distress
Now there’s never any reason
For you to give up in despair
Just slip away and breathe His name
You will surely find Him there

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

*** I think we owe this song to Cathy Goddard, but I was not able to get any clear information about it. If you know who’s the author/singer of this song, please do let me know so that I can give the right credits.


Jeremiah is such a heart-breaking book.  The prophet Jeremiah chronicles the story of a son and his Father.

A headstrong foolish rebellious son, intent on finding his own way and who ultimately finds himself in prison. A Father who sees what lies at the end of the road His son is travelling and tries every tactic and strategy to get His son off the path of destruction. Nothing works, for the ears of the son are shut. He does not trust His Father’s love, does not want to submit to the Father’s wisdom. He trusts everyone other than his Father, depends on untrustworthy friends, turns his back on his Father, and even begins to call lifeless things his Father.

Jeremiah brings an amazing revelation of the Father’s heart. A Father who loves with the depth of His being even though He knows that His son doesn’t love Him or trust Him.  A Father who would love to defend and fight for His son but respects His son’s choice to go it alone.  Tough love.  A love that sees the inevitable consequences of His son’s folly and lays plans for His son’s rescue.

Jeremiah hears and records the Father’s pleas. He sees and records the stubborn foolishness of the son. He sees the son suffer the consequences of  his foolhardiness. And Jeremiah gets an amazing window into the Father’s heart who sends a message of comfort and hope to his rebellious son who’s now cooling his heels in prison.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,

says the LORD,

thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jer 29:11 KJV

Even though you are in captivity because of your foolishness and stubbornness

in making alliances with those who most certainly were going to fail you

in trusting in the city walls and the arm of man

in calling pieces of clay and wood your ‘father’

and believing that they were the ones who took care of you…

Even though you refused to listen to Me,

Even though you depised My messengers

and deleted and ignored My messages,

I AM and always be who I AM

I cannot stop being who I AM

Holy and True

Unchanging in my love

For I know the heart with which I think of you:

My  thoughts, intentions,

the plans and preparations I make for you –

each one of them is

filled with a desire for your

peace

completeness

soundness

welfare

safety

health

prosperity

quiet

tranquillity

contentment

friendship

rest from hostilities.

My thoughts are not evil

full of hate and anger

planning pain, unhappiness, misery,

but

friendly thoughts

motivated by a desire to give you

a lifeline of hope

something to hold onto

something to look forward to

to anticipate with pleasure

a certainty that what you wait for

will arrive and be fulfilled.

Then you shall call on Me,

and you shall go and pray to Me,

and I will listen to you.

And you shall seek Me and find Me,

when you search for Me with all your heart.

And I will be found by you, says Jehovah;

and I will turn away your captivity, …

Jer 29:12-14 MKJV


Last week was a very eventful week. My daughter turned 21, and she graduated.

21 precious years of hugs, shared secrets, sticky hands, tickles and laughter…

21 glorious years of seeing God’s faithfulness and His mercies unfold day by day.

When my daughter was born, something went dreadfully wrong at the moment of her birth. The doctors could not find her heartbeat or detect movement for over twenty minutes. They told me they would do all that they could to save the child, but they wanted me to be prepared for a still-birth.

‘Still-birth? That couldn’t be? It couldn’t be happening to me… could it?’

Where does one go when all the help at hand expresses helplessness?

God. But why should God hear my cry? I had forgotten Him for years without number, wondered if He even existed.. My lifestyle certainly was way out of sync with what He would want for me.

Yet, didn’t He run to welcome the prodigal son? Didn’t He forgive David after he’d murdered Uriah and slept with Bathsheba? Didn’t David say that he’d rather trust himself to the hands of God than to the hands of man? What about the thief who hung on the cross, all he did was turn to Jesus and say ‘Lord, remember me…’?

I dragged my thoughts together to pray:

‘Lord, there is no reason at all why You should listen to me. I have lived a sinful life. There is nothing that I can bring You as an offering. All I can think of at this moment is that I’ve heard You are a compassionate God and that You are merciful. I know that as God You are the One who has the power to give life to my child. I’m asking You not to hold my sins against me, I am asking You to have mercy on this child that is to come into the world. Give this child life. Let this child be normal in every way. Lord, if You have heard and answered my prayer, would you give me a sign? Let the baby cry the moment it’s born ’

As I prayed I felt a deep peace enfold me, and this strong conviction took hold of me, that all was well, that my child would live.

Not long afterwards, my child was born. A girl. I could see her as the doctor held her up. Ashen and still.

‘Please God,’ my heart breathed, and even as my words were forming, she cried.

The neo-natal surgeon cried out, ‘Praise God!!! She lives!!!’

I held the precious bundle for a few seconds, before they rushed her off to the incubator.

Grace. I learnt about God’s grace that day. I deserved NOTHING, and yet, God chose to hear my prayer and He answered me so marvellously.

A month later I met the neo-natal surgeon who had attended my daughter at her birth. He was thrilled with her progress, but he cautioned me, ‘You are not out of the woods. Your daughter did not receive oxygen for 20mins when her heart was not beating. That is a long time. There will be an inevitable impact. Her physical reflexes seem to be ok. She most probably will be a slow learner and she will definitely be stunted in height.’

Again I felt that amazing deep peace and conviction flood my heart that all was well, and I replied, ‘My God does not do things in half measures. I believe that she is completely well, and she will be tall.’

The surgeon looked pityingly at me, but he let it go.

I wish I could meet him now.

My daughter graduated with a double major in psychology and anthropology, and she’s taller than me, and is taller than most of her friends.

Grace. Amazing grace that does not do anything in half measures. Amazing grace that responds to the broken, helpless cry of a sinner. Amazing grace that is willing to forgive my doubts, backsliding and neglect.

Grace. I’ve been reading through Jeremiah, and beneath the prophecies and indictments, one can hear very clearly our loving Father God’s heart – His longing to pour out grace and healing the moment His people turn back to Him.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!

Lyrics: Haldor Lillenas

But God,

being rich in mercy,

because of the great love with which he loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ…

so that in the coming ages

he might show

the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us

in Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:4-7 ESV


Coals flowering red

pip dawn’s yet sleeping light

nets breaking with fish at a stranger’s command

pungent smoke

barbecued fish

broken bread

hungry men being fed by the Risen Lord.

Love gave Him eyes to see

their empty boats

heavy discouraged hearts

tired, weary bodies.

Love which knelt to wash their feet

now prepared a meal for them.

Love saw a need and reached out to fill it.

Pungent smoke

eyes meeting

memories stir of broken promises.

Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?

Do you get what I am saying?

Simon, can you hear, really hear what I am saying?

I am not testing your love, do you get it that I love you? I trust you? Put your failures behind you.

Love me, love what I love: My lambikin and sheep.

If you love me, you will see with My eyes: their brokenness, their hunger, their pain

And your heart will melt with compassion

I know you love me Peter.

Are you willing to be bread that is broken in My hands?

Do you remember that moment when the multitudes were in the desert, hungry for food, yet driven by a deeper hunger for the Living Bread?

Do you remember how my heart was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd? –

Sheep – Not knowing which road to take for green pastures, vulnerable to the preying wolves, wounded with no one to tend their wounds…

Mute, helpless, tossed in stormy seas, caught willy-nilly in the dragnet of schemes of men, helpless to resist the chain-tug of the evil slave master of sin…

Simon. Do you hear me? Do you really hear me? Does your heart leap in response? Do you rise to action?

Do you see my people? Really see them? Do you see how satan holds them captive to do his will, pulling them in like fish caught in a net?

I am placing in your hands the keys of the kingdom. I am calling you to go out in My name to be fishers of men.

Go, go in My Name to draw them out of the nets and the snares, the pits and the holes. Go to tell them of peace between God and man. Go, tell them that the price of their sins has been paid.

Sin has paid its wages of death, and I received it on their behalf, now I give to them freely the gift of eternal life. The veil is torn, the net is broken and the captives are free.

Love them as I love you.

See their need. Are you willing to lay down your life, step off the throne, give up your rights that they might find life?

Are you overcome by the knowledge of your weakness and your lack of love? Don’t despair. As you are I love you.

It shall be required of you according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

Remember I have promised you the Comforter and Teacher, He will supply your needs, and fill your areas of lack.

Remember you are my lambikin, tender, beloved of me. Now go with that heart to feed My lambikin, My sheep.

(This is an imagined monologue that I have put together from John 21: 1-17, Mark 6:34-44, Hab 1:13-15, 2 Tim 2:26, John 14-17 and many more verses…)

 

The Sovereign LORD has filled me with His Spirit.

He has chosen me and sent me

To bring good news to the poor,

To heal the broken-hearted,

To announce release to captives

And freedom to those in prison.

He has sent me to proclaim

That the time has come

When the LORD will save His people …

He has sent me to comfort all who mourn,

To give to those who mourn in Zion

Joy and gladness instead of grief,

A song of praise instead of sorrow.

They will be like trees

That the LORD Himself has planted.

They will all do what is right,

And God will be praised for what He has done.

Isa 61:1-3 GNB



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