Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category.

The Right Man for the Job

The King planned an important mission.  It would mean the rescue of many, a life saving venture to bring great glory. This mission would answer prayers, bring deliverance and reap eternal rewards.

“Whom shall I send?”  His voice boomed over the valleys.

“I’ll go, my Lord,” Strength said.  His chest puffed with importance and he flexed his biceps in excitement. “Choose me.  I’m in the prime of life.  I promise not to fail.”

The King shook his head.  “You’re not quite right for this assignment,” He said. “There are giants to slay in other parts of the kingdom.”

“I’ll go,” Religious said.  She folded her hands in piety and gazed downward in an attitude of respect.  “You heard my vows.  You know I will go wherever you send me.”

The King shook his head and smiled.  “I have need of you in other places,” He said tenderly.  “This job is for someone else.”

“I’ll go,” Intelligence said.  He clutched several diplomas and wore a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows.  His hair stood out in disarray, and wire rimmed glasses rested on the tip of his nose. “I have degrees in logic and administration.  I’ll put together a plan to achieve your goals quickly.”

The King shook his head. “Thank you, but I have need of you in other places.  This mission requires different skills.”

“I’ll go,” Bravery said.  He curled his hands into fists and took the posture of a boxer.  “Bring it on!  I’m not afraid of all the devils in hell.”

The King shook his head again.  “Your bravery is needed elsewhere.  I have need of someone with greater courage.”  He scanned the valleys, hills and streets of the cities.  He knew just the person for the job.  His eyes rested upon an ordinary looking man named Simple, well past the prime of life, slightly balding with a middle-aged paunch.

“Will you go for me?” the King said.  “I have need of you.”

“Me?”  Simple said. “You’re mistaken, my lord.  I’m too old!  You know my failing health. You can’t possibly mean me.”

“My son,” The King said, “The strength of man is a useful gift, but it often turns into pride.  My kingdom is built upon humility and the wisdom that comes with age.”

“But I have failed you many times,” Simple said.  “I have broken many promises to you.  Surely you are mistaken.”

“This time will be different,” the King said with such tenderness that Simple’s eyes welled with tears.  “I will go with you each step of the way. You will not go alone.”

“But I lack education and training,” Simple said. His voice cracked and tears filled the grooves in his cheeks. “I am afraid.  Surely there is someone better suited for this task.”

Simple’s expression of anguish caused tears to well in the King’s eyes, too.  How much the King loved him.  Their relationship had grown over years of early morning prayer times.  The King knew the man’s heart, knew his dedication and genuine sweetness.   When the King looked into the man’s heart, He saw all the attributes He himself had planted within him.

“Your weakness is your greatest treasure,” the King said and placed his hand on Simple’s shoulder.  “It forces you to depend upon Me alone.”

“Are you sure?” Simple said.  It seemed the King’s touch left a burning mark on his shoulder, not unpleasant, but hot as fire.

“It is in weakness that My strength is revealed.”

They spent the rest of the morning strategizing for the mission.  “You must not neglect our early morning sessions,” the King said.  “I will give you marching orders for each day.  As you follow them, you will achieve the goal.”

“It sounds too simple,” Simple said.  He thought for a long moment and then grinned.  “I think I’m your man.”

“I know you are, Son,” the King said.  “We’ll do it together.”

 

Prayer by Charles de Foucauld

In my office I have a poster in front of my desk with this beautiful prayer of abandonment.  It is most appropriate during these final days of Lent, and I thought to share it with you.  I hope you are blessed by it as much as I have been.  Candace

 

Father,

I abandon myself into your hands;

Do with me what you will

Whatever you may do,

I thank you;

I am ready for all, I accept all.

 

Let only your will be done in me,

And in all your creatures-

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

 

Into your hands

I commend my soul;

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,

For I love you, Lord,

And so need to give myself,

To surrender myself into your hands

Without reserve,

And with boundless confidence,

For you are my Father.

 

Charles de Foucauld

The Blessing of the Wilderness

By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.  Exodus 13:21-22

Fog.  Haze.  Poor visibility. Think how a pillar of cloud must have looked to the Israelites on their long journey.  But fog also cools, protects from the sun, moistens parched skin in a desert place, comforts and shields from enemies or critics.  Night travel is standard practice in the desert, but the pillar of cloud sent to the Israelites gave them the option of traveling either by day or night.  An unexpected blessing in a desert place.

Maybe you’re traveling that hazy path where the future looks uncertain, where visibility shows only your next baby step.  Your vision may be obscured but the Sovereign Lord goes before you, providing every need, leading you forward.  He has a plan—rest in it.  He won’t lead you astray.

Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  Exodus 14:13-14 

 Dear God, thank you for the fog and fire.  Even though I cannot see what lies ahead, your promise has changed my life.  Teach me to be content to walk in this hazy fog, to thank you for the protection it brings in this desert place.  Teach me to be grateful for the blessing of the wilderness. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Climb into my Boat

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.  They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. 

Mark 6:50b-52 NIV

      The fury of the tempest falls upon me. Fierce winds surge waves higher than my vessel.  Sheets of rain fall from the sky midst lightning flashes and rumbling thunder. My little boat wobbles like a matchstick in the churning waves.  I row with all my strength but feel myself slipping backwards, pulled into the dark waters.  The storm, terrifying in its strength, overwhelms me.  My courage fades and I know I cannot survive.

Through the roar of the storm, I hear Your voice. “Take courage!” You say.  “Don’t be afraid.”

Can it be?  I wipe rain from my eyes and squint through the darkness.  In a burst of lightning, I see you coming toward me, walking upon the waves as if on dry ground.  Your face shines bright as the sunshine, Your presence emanates peace.

My eyes focus on You alone, and I forget the danger in the glory of Your presence.

“It is I,” You say.  “Don’t be afraid.”

Then You climb into my boat and take a seat at the helm. The wind ceases. The waves settle.  You ask me how I’m doing and tell a story to pass the time.  Then you pick up an oar to help me navigate toward the shore.  We admire the sunset glowing red and orange in the western horizon.

My hard heart searches for logical reasons to explain what has happened.  I was going under until You came walking upon the water. You climbed into my boat and the storm stopped.

Suddenly I understand in a flash as bright as the lightning had shown in the darkness.  Just like what happened with the loaves and fishes.  Not a coincidence, not explainable, but a miracle.

Your laughter fills the space left silent after the storm.

Dear Jesus, Come to me, walking upon the churning water.  Let me hear your voice over the roaring turmoil.  Climb into my boat.  Calm my storm.  Remove the hardness of my heart and let me understand your miracles. Amen 

 

Comparing Yourself to Others

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister, and she said to Jacob, give me children, or I shall die.  Genesis 30:1

Recently another writer shared how much she wanted to be like me—well, not exactly like me, since she hardly knew me.  She was really referring to my published novels and the amount of books I have sold.  It made me chuckle.  I often compare myself to other writers with far more success than I’ve known, and wish that I could be more like them.

The above verse talks about the dangers of comparing ourselves to other.  You may remember how Jacob worked seven years to marry Rachel. After the wedding, he was outraged to discover he had married Leah, Rachel’s sister, instead.  The Bible describes Leah as “weak-eyed” which makes me think she wasn’t as pretty as Rachel.   It’s complicated—but the short version is that Jacob married, Rachel, too.  No surprise that he loved Rachel more than her sister, even though Leah bore many sons.  Rachel, in spite of being most loved, had trouble getting pregnant.

One might think Rachel would value her status as favorite wife.  But instead, Rachel fell into the same trap as the rest of us do—she focused on her sister who had something she wanted.  Rachel’s envy made her miserable.  This misery spilled over onto the one she loved.

It’s a challenge to be content with our lot in life.  The next time I am tempted to envy those authors on the best sellers list, I will try to remember Rachel.  After all, it’s not about what we don’t have or what others do.  It’s about how we appreciate and value those things that are given to us, and make the best of what we have.