February 23, 2013

THE SHADES OF MIRACLES





There appear to be as many shades of miracles in the mind of God as there are hues of the colours in this world.  There are big, bold & bright ones which startle, excite and amaze.  There are deep, rich tones which are weighty & profound.  There are lighter pastel and joyous springtime ones.  There are fluorescent ones which are unmistakable to all - even in the dark - and yet there are also translucent ones, almost imperceptible to the human eye.

What colour are you waiting for?

When we exercise faith for miracles (of any kind), we often subconsciously “put in our order” for a certain colour.  I have tried to be really open about my faith struggle on this topic here.  God has me on a journey and I am still wading through answers & doubts, insights & perplexity, mystery & clarity, faith & sight…the stuff of the life of a pilgrim. I have struggled to make sense of His colours, His truths, His obvious undergirding of my faith to even believe at all and yet I am ashamed to say that I have also felt disappointment in Him. 

The disappointment comes when there is an unmet expectation or misalignment of a certain colour, of a certain miracle I am desiring (or something He seems to be indicating I should ask for) and what is given.  When something different comes in answer to the prayers, waiting, tears, community in agreement, alignment with the Word and occasionally words of prophecy or knowledge, I admit – I DON’T GET IT.  Really what this is about is that I don’t get the very sovereignty of God!  Hello!!  Why should I expect to “get” that!?

I have been realizing of late that God asks us to do many things in the Scriptures:  rest, trust, be thankful, sing, walk by faith, evidence the fruit of the Spirit, obey and lots of other things.  But He doesn’t ask us to UNDERSTAND.  Nope.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Is. 55:9)  Is this a relief to you as it was to me?   I DO NOT HAVE TO UNDERSTAND.  God releases me from understanding His ways.  Yes, as human beings we have a God-given desire - we are on a quest, if you will - to understand our lives & surroundings.  But what He clearly does ask is that I trust in His ways, that I acknowledge Him in all my ways, that I believe by faith in His generosity toward me, His desire to always prosper me, to always love, to always care, to always work all things together for good. Because of these truths, it should not be a burden to me to wonder what kind of miracle God will grant for me or my friend or for a certain nation I am burdened for.  His answers are always good – in fact, they are perfect.

Since the answer we get to our faith-filled request for a miracle is from Him, the colour we get is always perfect for us, our situation and His kingdom purposes in general.  It seems incredible but this includes pain & sickness, interruptions of all sorts in our lives, financial crises, relationship heartache, unfulfilled longings, loss & grief, etc. etc.  All the miracles are miracles, no matter their size.  All the hues are good, they are all given in perfect wisdom & love, they all include the greater good, they are all miraculous answers from the hand of God.  If all miracles are miracles – regardless of their size or shape or form - we could almost then say that God is colour blind!  Except that, I am certain He sees and measures each one of our situations with careful, loving attention & precision.  And I am also certain that His artist-hand mixes the paint Himself to make it the absolutely perfect hue from His most celestial palette of miracles!

So, about that colour you’re waiting for…


                                                                         …let Him mix the paint.





Photo by:  cobalt123


THE UNSUNG




Time magazine publishes yearly their elected heroes and there are some amazing people among them.  CNN has yearly voted-on heroes as reflected in their Untold Stories.  I recently watched the global award winning movie Lincoln and was inspired as I watched this film´s rendition of this remarkable leader of courage, vision and faith that changed the course of American history.  The world loves a hero.  We also have a (disgusting) number of sports and artistic heroes who between God-given talent, hard work, sacrifice and often a little luck, have risen to international acclaim.  These "heroes" are easily recognized - and in good part, have received their reward.

But there is another class of hero.  They are not as well known.  For the most part they are unsung, unpublished, unphotographed and unnoticed.  Their work is of another kind.  Their very lives whisper "other-worldly".  Yet none of them received an award this year.  No one gave them an astronomical bonus for their outstanding work.  There was no applause and no paparazzi.  They didn't get their picture in Time or an interview on CNN or the BBC.  Some of them actually died in the line of service.  A band did not play.  There was no flag draped over their coffin (if there was a coffin).  Others are in prison as I write this, breathing day by day in a filthy place with no rights.  And all this for doing good.  For defending the rights of orphans & widows, the poor and the oppressed.  For living sacrificially far away from home and loved ones and well-known comforts.  For being concerned for the spiritual freedom of a people not their own. Very few know of them.

Personally, I cannot wait to see God's version of a hero in heaven.  Because I am sick of modern day heroes being looked up to for remarkable qualities, achievements, talents, etc. but as people be a complete farce and so completely non-hero in anything that even comes close to the integrity category of life.  I am also sick of "heroes" who are so lavishly & indulgently rewarded for talent that is exclusively for entertainment - just so people can have a good time watching a game or a show - but who have contributed little to humankind, to suffering, to poverty, to oppression, etc.  Does the world realize that by doing this we reward entertainment over justice & mercy?  Having a good time vs. doing somebody some good?

It goes without saying that God's heroes are evaluated on a completely different scale and with very different values than the many heroes the world admires.  He uses kingdom values of an eternal scale.  He looks at the heart - and actually sees all that is there. His heroes are not perfect but they are full of integrity.  Their public and private personality is the same, its message is entirely coherent.  They are complete people living for Someone else's greater purposes.  Their reward does not come from men; they do not look for it there.

His celestial celebration of these heroes will be The Bomb.  There will be a welcoming home.  There will be an honoring for the "good and faithful servant".  There will most certainly be music!  And amazing food.  There will probably be flags.  There will be angelic fanfare, celestial applause and eternal confetti.  It will be genuine and real - and the hero will last.  Yes, heavenly heroes will never let us down - they've already been proven.  The world was "not worthy of them".  They will have their reward.

Don´t ever doubt it:  the unsung will eventually be sung....forever and ever.




Photo by: Chapter House

February 20, 2013

THE FIRST BIRTHDAY (Away From Home)




Today my "baby" is 19.  I have been with her for 18 birthdays, planning how to celebrate her wonderfulness.  And today for the first time, she is far away.  There is no party to plan and no cake to bake.  And today I just needed to tell the world that I miss her...

I miss her smile that lights up a room,  I miss her contagious laugh that puts others at ease.  I miss her silliness, her pirouettes & pliés around the kitchen, her flopping on our bed at night to talk & pray.

I miss our deep conversations about God & life, hearing her triumphs & sadnesses during "windshield time" as I drove her places.  I miss her uncanny ability to imitate accents & remember funny lines from favorite movies.  I miss "animated" discussions about every subject known to man - and her opinion on all of them!  (haha) I miss watching her amazing friendship & influence with her little brother and overhearing laughter and conversation with her older sister (read: best friend) by skype late into the night...

I miss how she glues herself to her father when he returns home from a trip, eager to share in his experience.  I miss how she teases him & brings out his playful side.  I miss hearing that she got up early and went down to Dad's office to pray with him - to his great delight.  I miss her interesting & thoughtful questions about the world and its nations.

I miss hearing her talking to friends on the phone, rising & falling between English & Spanish & French, looking at outfit after outfit for some event with the youth, needing money for the train, or better yet, a ride!  I miss watching her loyalty to her friends and her challenging balancing act between them and school work and dance.  Seeing her grow into independence, develop hard work ethics & perseverance as well as passion and beauty has been a great joy.

I miss preparing gourmet salads and "light proteins".  I miss having someone around who agrees that "presentation is everything".  Nowadays, the two guys at home aren't much into that!  They love our new Taco Tuesdays, are happy with fried eggs & toast and love to eat it in front of a fútbol game (ok, ok, I like that, too!)  I love my guys - but I miss her feminine companionship in lots of ways.  (And I make the guys eat gourmet salads sometimes!)

I dearly miss watching her dance and having been her main cheerleader & fan for all these years, to miss her performances as a mother is one of my biggest sacrifices in letting her go far away.  I get choked up if I close my eyes and watch the precious memories engraved in my heart of my dynamic, beautiful, strong & graceful girl.

She has faults, too; don't get me wrong!  I'm not trying to paint a perfect child.  But today I even miss our arguments and emotional discussions as we worked through difficult moments and topics and areas of weakness in both of us!

Today, on her day, I will miss seeing her friends gather around her in the happiness and intimacy of that community of girlfriends.  I will miss having my home filled with crazy chaos 'til the wee hours and the sleepy, satisfied faces & pajamas at breakfast.  (Ok, maybe I won't miss the lack of sleep!)

Today she has a chance to start new traditions.  Today she will mature a bit more.  Today new friends will love on her and surprise her - people I don't even know.  She is building new circles, wider ones - and it is right.

Old friends will also write or call - from literally around the world.  Her global life has given her that history and she works hard to maintain that sacred tie.  And of course,  her family - the foundational place where  her story began 19 years ago - will celebrate her from afar, with gifts sent from a distance and cyber hugs through skype.  It's amazing, but as I write this, I realize that somehow through all of this, we feel closer than ever...and that perhaps sharing in her journey is the most amazing birthday present of today.

May she be blessed and prospered in her growing new life as a student.  May her diligence be amply rewarded.  May she flourish in all kinds & levels of relationships.  May her financial needs be met in miraculous ways.  May doors be opened to her as a dancer that only You can open.  May You guard her from accident or injury and sickness. May she find peace as she grapples with cultures and belonging and identity issues of the heart.  And most of all, may she experience You deeply and be conspicuously spiritual in all she is and does.

Here's to your First Birthday (Away from Home)!

te quiero montones  :)



Photo of Daniela by Vanessa

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