Simplicity. I love that word. I don’t get enough of it. Life overwhelms me often enough, and most days my plate is so full, it’s overflowing. But, ah, simplicity. A simple list, a simple prayer. I think we make life too complicated. I think we make God both too complicated and too simple. We make His love too complicated, but His power too simple. At least, I do. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; For holy is the Lord our God. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 99:9, 100:5) Amen
Psalm 92:1-2 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High; to declare Thy lovingkindess in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night. I don’t give thanks nearly as often as I should. There are so many things that I have to be thankful for: my family, a place to live, cars that drive, a job, being healthy and relatively strong, imagination, beauty, a Bible to read and a community to talk with, music and the ability to worship, electricity and technology, laughter (especially my children’s), the ability to buy food, living in America, days off, clean water, my cell phone (Sometimes), joy, words, forgiveness, grace …YHWH. It is good! And I’m thankful I can sing praises! He is reliable and faithful, no matter where I’ve been. Thank you YHWH!
Genesis 13 is the story of Abram’s separation from Lot. Their flocks were grazing the same land, and their shepherds were fighting over the water and the best grasslands. So, Abram gives Lot the pick of the land. Lot, of course, chooses the land that is lush and green. The narrator (Moses?) describes it as being like the Lord’s garden (Eden?). I thought that was interesting – either people still remembered the beautify of Eden or perhaps it was still a location that people could see. Although, it was probably destroyed in the flood. Anyway, Abram is left with the desert, seemingly stark and worthless plains and hills. I wonder if Abram was kicking himself mentally because he knew that he would get the leftovers. But, what seemed void of life became a land of promise and hope. As Lot moves out and Abram moves on, God makes a promise to Abram that his descendents would be as numerous as the sand! Never mind the fact that Abram’s wife, Sarai, was barren. God said it, so it must be true. Eventually, Lot’s land was destroyed by fire and brimstone (remember Sodom and Gomorrah?), but Abram’s land becomes the Promised Land. How often does a landscape that seems hopeless and miserable become a land of brilliant color, great promise, and hope? It didn’t necessarily look that way during Abram’s lifetime, but God isn’t bothered by little details like one person’s limited lifespan. He didn’t abandon His promise to Abram. He doesn’t abandon His promises to us, either. Things aren’t always as they appear. Maybe this miserable, scraping-through time, is just part of a journey to a land of promise and hope. Maybe under the sand and the dust there is treasure!
It seems that no matter how badly off my family is, I am always reminded that there are others with less. My family doesn’t have much – financially, that is. We don’t have our own home, we don’t drive fancy new cars (although right now I get to drive my mom’s fancy new car), we live from paycheck-to-paycheck and pray for providence to pay our bills… it’s frustrating. We don’t have anything else to cut out (except diapers, and I for the life of me don’t know how to potty train a child with autism…), so there doesn’t seem to be much hope of a reprieve any time soon. I have no idea what we’re going to do about Christmas presents this year. But at church last night I was reminded (they talked about their Christmas Angels program) that there are families out there with children who have struggle similar to my own children’s struggles. They don’t have homes to live in, they don’t have bells and whistles, they may not be able to afford basic things like shoes, they may not have family to help them. So, I adopted a little girl with nothing, except autism. I am not sure how things will work out, but sometimes the tug of God is so strong on my heart to help people. I can’t imagine parenting a child with autism alone, and living below the poverty line (we’re close, but not that close). We have family who helps us (we have a beautiful, safe, clean place to live – thanks mom!), and cars that get us where we need to go; I have a job and my husband sort of has a job – sometimes; our children are healthy and happy and safe. We’re not hungry or unable to buy the basic necessities like clothes for the boys or toothpaste. We may not have much, but we are still blessed. It’s hard to remember that sometimes because I get freaked out looking at our bank account and trying to figure out how all the bills will get paid. It’s especially scary since we have to pay our COBRA bill, multiple doctors and hospitals… and still figure out Christmas. But, God has always been faithful in the past. He’s always come through; He’s always provided and made it all work out. Remember. I cling to His promises and I remember His past reliability. And, even though we’re in dire straights, I’ll also try and help someone less fortunate than I am. Shalom.
I couple of random thoughts: 1. I loved it how, yesterday, when John called to set up an appointment for Gavin to meet with Pastor Steve, the lady was so matter of fact and said (regarding his lack of speech), “Well, we can take care of that!” She put him on the prayer list and the morning group list. I love women with a sword! 2. I spent time out at this lake near where we live and had some time to pray and read. It was nice. Kinda sunny because the sun was going down and was right in my eyes, but it was nice and quiet. I think I might do that more often. 3. I feel like I’ve just started school again. I started reading some books on spiritual warfare and began to realize just how much there is to learn. I don’t know if my calling is to battle in the same way that John’s is, but I do know that, as his wife, I am to support him. And to do that, I need to know what’s going on. A dear friend, Susan, once told me I was a psalmist. I don’t know what that means, but I ran across an interesting statement in one of the books about how David (THE psalmist) would play for Saul and the evil spirits would leave (in his case they came right back later, but it was a temporary reprieve). I can’t play (yet), but I can write. If you pray, here’s what I’m praying for: 1. Discernment – I want to see more clearly and hear more clearly. I want to be able to discern truth from lies. 2. My purpose – I’m still not sure what my role is in all of this. I know that I am called to raise my children and that I love words, web design, technology, and helping teachers teach better. And music. And once upon a time I liked to read. And organize (but not papers – sooooo tedious). 3. Revelation – I want to know God deeper than ever before. I am still very confused about who He is (personal vs. communal, loving vs. vengeful, interested in me vs. interested in the “Big Plan”) and how I fit into His family (red-headed step child who was adopted, beloved child, bride of Christ – but isn’t that Israel?, peon who is part of a vast kingdom,…). Into this category falls understanding this whole spiritual warfare thing. 4. Financial breakthrough – whether it’s warfare, a generational curse, bad luck, or just life, it would be nice to not have to be scraping by every month. It would be nice to be able to save a little money so we don’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. It would be nice to have a place of our own. It would be nice to be able to afford Christmas presents for our boys without wondering how to pay for them.
Genesis 12: 14-20 This is the story of Abram and Pharoah. Well, it’s the story of Sarai, who was very beautiful, so beautiful that she caught the eyes of Pharaoh. Pharaoh took her to be one of his wives even though she was already married. The problem was that he didn’t know she was married since she said that Abram was her brother. It isn’t until Pharaoh’s household is afflicted with plagues that he figures out he’s been duped. At first it seemed awfully unfair for God to punish Pharaoh for something he didn’t know was wrong. Obviously, or at least it seems to me, he wouldn’t have taken her if she was married (at least, not without killing Abram first, which is how the whole mess started – twice). But, I also realized that God could have killed Pharaoh outright from the start (His later rules call for stoning of those caught in adultery). He didn’t. Sure He sent plagues and such and eventually Pharaoh figured out what was wrong. Maybe because Pharaoh didn’t listen to God (he worshiped the gods of Egypt), God had to be more forceful in His delivery. I don’t know. But it makes me wonder how often He uses situations in my life to tell me I’ve messed up. I’m not very good at discerning His voice and I really hope I understand what He’s trying to say!
Strangely, last night I watched Glenn Beck who had a rabbi on his show, and they were talking about the tower at Babel… This morning that was what I was reading about! Cool, huh? I think that the most interesting thing the rabbi pointed out is that they were building the tower of bricks. Bricks Made by man All uniform and the same shape Easily interchangeable Stone Made by God Each is unique in shape and size and makeup Fit into the perfect place in a building The rabbi said that the big problem was that the “king” wanted to make the people metaphorical bricks instead of allowing them to be the stones that God created. So, the bricks (made by man and all the same) represent these people. Stones (made by God and each unique) are who we are supposed to be. At the end, when God mixed up all the languages, the people returned to their original stone. Interestingly, the bricks that the people made were probably made of stone and sand. Often, when we or our boss or our government or whoever wants everyone to be the same or everyone to be “equal” then we mix the stone that God created, crushing it, and add it to sand. And we all remember what happened to the man who built his house on the sand. It wasn’t pretty! So, be a stone! Be a rock! Be unique! Be strong! Be oddly shaped! Be who God made you to be!