Certainty in the everyday moments of the journey

Do you ever wish that you could have certainty?

Pretty easy question, isn’t it?  Of course, we wish that we could be more certain of this life and where our next steps will take us.  There are so many variables, though.  There are so many things that could change in an instant, so how could we ever be sure of anything?  The apostle Paul and Luke have some special words for us…

“I became a minister (to Christ’s body, the church) according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.”  Colossians 1:25-26, ESV

“It seemed good to me…to write an orderly account for you…that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”  Luke 1:3-4, paraphrased ESV

As I think about all of the times in my life when I have begged God to tell me why things are happening the way that they are or what the future will hold, I now imagine a certain scene…

A father and daughter are walking walking down a trail to a surprise destination.  The little girl asks, “Where are we going, Daddy?” and he replies with patience, “You’ll see when we get there.  I promise you though, you are going to love it…”  They continue walking, but the little girl is so excited, anxious, and even a little nervous.  After all, she’s starting to imagine what the surprise is.  What if it doesn’t meet her expectations?  Her doubts could even lead her to questioning her dad and whether or not he has the best in store for her.  But then again, what if the surprise is even better than she could even imagine?  Trying her best to figure it out, she continues daydreaming of what it could be, not even paying attention to the scenery around her.  She’s even so busy questioning that she neglects the precious moments that she has right then and there, walking hand-in-hand with her daddy…

There are many details of our lives that we do not know; however, there is one thing of which we can be certain:  God and His goodness.  He has given us His Word to teach us His truths.  He even shows His indescribable love and mercy for His children through sending His son to die on the cross for our sins.   What greater act must we see to be able to put our full trust in God?

Today as you go through this day, pray that God would secure you in the certainty of His promises, in the certainty of His Word.  No, we may not know the exact details and destination of our journey, but God does.  If we’re walking hand-in-hand with Him, what do we have to be anxious about?  After all, maybe it’s not  just about “getting there.”  Maybe it’s all about living closely in His presence, even here and now in the everyday moments of the journey…

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Lesson from an Old Barn

Growing up in Tennessee, I’ve been spoiled rotten by being surrounded by barns.  I absolutely love them.  The more run down that they are…the better!

One day, I finally asked myself why I like run down barns so much.  I wondered whether it was because run-down barns were filled with potential to be made better, but that wasn’t it.  Next I thought that I liked them because were probably filled with critters.  That definitely wasn’t it (unless filled with horses, cats, and dogs, of course.)

But none of those reasons were why I love broken barns.  I still love them today for one reason: they have a story.

I love to look at these barns and imagine who built them.  Who was the proud owner that filled each stall with hay?  What happened to make this barn become deserted?  These are also questions that I ask myself while driving past them.  There’s a longing I feel when I see them–a wishing that I could understand and know its story–but the wheels on my car just keep rolling with the rhythm of the road, and the barn is soon out of my sight.

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“For the Lord sees not as man sees:

man looks on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

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Our Heavenly Father does not cherish us because we look as pristine all the time as a brand new barn that is never used.  After all, what would that barn’s purpose be if it did not house horses and other animals?  How would that barn ever become truly special to its owner if he never touched it?

We were created to live a full life.  That includes all the experiences that we love in addition to those that we dread.  God still loves us, and He created us to live a life touched by Him daily: washing away all our dirt when we ask for forgiveness, rebuilding our hearts as one that replaces boards on a barn.

In this day, see that God looks at your heart and not on your outward appearance.  See that God’s love lays in His involvement in your life and your involvement in the lives of others.

Beautifully Broken

Let me tell you a story of a girl.  For now, we’ll call her Sissy, and her story goes something like this…

Born and raised in a nice family with a nice house in a nice neighborhood, Sissy lived in outward perfection.  But there was something different about Sissy.  She could feel it.  She looked up to her brother, wished she was funny and thin like he was.  She loved her mother, a stay-at-home mom for many years of her life.  Her lifeline, that’s what her mom was until the day she began to work.  Her father, even now as she looks back on her life, she wishes she knew him better.

But life happened.  Her nice family, her nice house, and not even her nice things could prevent her from the falling of the world.  Satan spoke lies to her, lies of her inconvenience, of being unworthy, and of being alone.  The working world had robbed her of her mother and father.  After all, money, she learned, didn’t grow on trees.  It was just an unfortunate coincidence, maybe, that she didn’t have many friends at school and the friendship with her brother that she so desired.  The glass casing around her heart–a covering like that over a brand new toy–the devil crushed it with his lies.  Trying to gain what was forever lost, Sissy clutched the shards of broken glass until the pain she felt and the tears she shed justified the torment required by the lies she accepted as truth.

This is who Sissy was: a broken girl in a broken world that, to the world, denied she was broken.  Perfection was the veneer she wore and the burden she carried.

Never did she realize that her burden had already been carried, taking the form of a cross on a despised man’s back.  Her law and justification through torment, little did she know that these also were paid in full as the same despised man was nailed to the cross he had carried.  And though He–the very Son of God–died on that cross of the world, He defeated death, and He defeated Satan, Sissy still carried her own.  With His outpouring of faith, hope, and love, Jesus Christ even defeated every lie of Satan; however, Sissy didn’t know this either, at least not yet.

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That is the beginning of my story, but it is certainly not the end.  Had God–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–had each of these not intervened in my life, only God knows where I’d be today.

But God came to me, and He poured words of Truth into the depths of my soul.  “There’s a crack in everything,” He said, “that’s how the Light gets in.”  He even taught me the truth of a verse that I had often heard yet simply skipped over.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.

Therefore, I will boast of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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I live a story much different than that from my beginning.  And though I often trace the scars in my hands and even seek for the shards that left them, I stop and close my eyes.  I feel my heart beating and know that I love because He first loved me (1 John 4:10).  I remember that I am broken, yet I am beautifully broken for through this brokenness, the power of Christ rests upon me.