Thursday, September 18, 2014

God's Waterfalls

“He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains”
 (Psalm 104:10).

This past summer we moved to a mountainous area of western North Carolina sometimes called the land of waterfalls because there are so many of them here. 

My husband has hiked to a number of them already.  Some are high and impressive, with volumes of water pouring over the edges. Some flow gradually with two or three drop-offs at various increments.  And some are small and unimpressive, with only trickles of water.  

These waterfalls remind me of answers to my prayers.  I want God to answer me with voluminous falls, pouring down what I think I think I need in great amounts.  And sometimes He does, such as giving me supernatural strength to get through this major move or a difficult bout of pain.  Sometimes His answers come gradually, such as when medical issues or other problems are resolved in increments.  And then there are times when His answers seem unimpressive – if noticeable at all – such as when I pray for pain relief or help that doesn’t seem to come.

All waterfalls, whether spectacular to me or not, are works of God.  The same is true for His answers to prayer.  When He answers with a trickle, He is still there.  The falls that trickle now have been filled with rushing water before and will be again.  God’s waters of love and support are still flowing powerfully even when He only displays a small portion of them.

I will continue to be surrounded by mountains of difficulties in this life, but God’s waterfalls will continue to flow over me through them.  So let me notice the quiet presence of the small ones, relish the power of the magnificent ones, and appreciate the miracle of them all. 

Prayer:  O Lord, I want You to answer my prayer requests in spectacular, powerful ways, but You don’t always choose to do that.  Help me trust in Your presence and power even when I don’t see any answers, knowing that Your source of life-giving water will never fail.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dealing with Defectiveness

“For the creation was subjected to frustration. . . in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We ourselves. . . groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8: 20,21,23).

A few months ago my husband retired and we moved to a new state to be closer to our daughters.  We found a house we liked and believed it was the right choice, but it needed much more work than we anticipated.  We have spent weeks renovating and repairing. We had to buy many new things, which I normally enjoy doing, but the defectiveness of countless items robbed me of that enjoyment.  I spent hours returning and re-ordering things.  I finally had to learn to live with some defects.

Defects aren’t limited to my possessions – they are in me.  I have a defective back and muscles that limit my walking, sitting, and exercising.  Pain and age are affecting my physical appearance.  My deteriorating memory can’t recall names of people in our new church and neighborhood or directions to new locations.  My eye problems limit my reading and computer work to minutes rather than hours.  And for now, I can’t exchange this defective body for a new one.

I long to be liberated from the defects of this fallen world and one day I will be.  For now I can choose to be frustrated by them or to accept them and make the most of what God has given me. 

Defectiveness is a constant reminder that this present world is not all there is.  The defect-free body and world I yearn for will come in God’s perfect timing.  In the meantime, I need to remember that my spiritual perfection is what matters most to God.  Having a godly outlook and striving to be Christ-like in my thoughts and actions should be my primary focus, and keeping a thankful and balanced attitude about the defects here is one of the tools God is using to achieve just that.

Prayer:  O Lord, when I am tempted to dwell too much on the imperfections of this world and body, remind me that these imperfections will not last forever.  Whether these defects are simply inconvenient or whether they are life-altering,  use them to grow me in patience, endurance, and hope.  Amen.