Sunday, June 28, 2009

Holding on to Heaven

Where has the time gone?
Do you ever find yourself asking that same question? I suppose we all do from time to time.

For me, the past few months have roared by like a train barreling down the track.
On several occasions, my faith-train almost derailed causing me to plummet from the safety of the tracks. Thankfully, though, with God, "almost" becoming derailed is not the same as actually experiencing a fatal crash. For, thankfully, in Him love reigns. As His Princess Warriors, we never lose His love.

As mentioned in previous posts, my recent struggles have been the result of numerous hardships, tests, and challenges, both large and small. Not to mention, now in my mid-forties, my hormones are doing a whole new gymnastics routine that I haven't quite learned how to execute the right way. I easily become grumpy and/or weepy. These mood swings only serve to make things more interesting. (That's a nice way of putting it!)

Yet, in spite of it all, I've managed to hold on to the Hope of Heaven found through Jesus Christ my Savior and King, who has gently pressed me to resume my calling to encourage others through writing.

I find it amusing (sort of) that one of the things that I most enjoy (writing) was one thing I casually placed to the side of my life. It's all so backwards. When we're down, we often stop doing the very activities that help keep us positive, and if the devil can get us to cease walking in our calling, he wins ... temporarily. Thank goodness, with Christ on our side the score can quickly change back to our advantage, but we have to get in the game and start participating again.

Honestly, the truth remains: No matter what's going on around us or in us, we can still experience the hope available in Christ. Faith in Him and His love make all things possible.

When I found the following story, I was embarrassed just thinking about the things I've allowed to overwhelm me. This little guy, with his BIG, BIG faith, reminded me that it's all about our belief in who Christ is. If we believe that He does all things out of His unfathomable love for us, we can endure anything. If we believe that He can work what was met for evil for His ultimate good and glory, then we can experience unrestrained hope.

Consider the following story of one boy's faith and courage through a very difficult time in his life. I know I'd do well to remember it when I feel down on my life and myself. Maybe you'll feel the same.

David, a two year old with Leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman's prognosis was devastating: "He has a 50-50 chance."

The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain -- the mother's ordeal can be almost as bad as the child's because she has to stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friend's in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the warm welcome he always got.

When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap -- a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. "If it hurts, remember it's because he loves you," Deborah said.

The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, "Thank you, Dr. Tooman for my hurting."

(Monica Dickens, Miracles of Courage, 1985)

Wow! Do we thank God for our hurting? It's not something I eagerly do on a regular basis.

Do we trust that God's love may involve the pain necessary to heal our hearts? After all, we will face things that hurt and seem to hinder us. However, God is God and He knows exactly what remedy will ensure our best spiritual health. He is the Great Physician dedicated to our ultimate well-being.

We tend to forget that the well-being and health He is most concerned about is the health of our hearts, of our spirits. If pain prompts us to embrace change, he may allow that pain out of love, for a season.

We need only look at the Apostle Paul to know that sometimes we carry a "thorn" that hurts and harasses. Although, Paul asked for that thorn to be removed more than once, he ultimately accepted God's perfect plan and purpose for him, even with the thorn still lodged in his side.

I pray that we, too, will readily submit to our King's care. That we would slow down and experience his goodness and grace, and that in spite of our circumstances, good or bad, that we would praise God for EVERYTHING. As one popular worship chorus goes: If you have breath praise the Lord!

God bless you Princess Warriors.

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