Sunday, July 21, 2013

Glimpses of glory

I know it's been a really long time since I've updated you all on the happenings of this crazy adventure. It's not necessarily that there hasn't been anything going on, it's just that I've been so crazy busy that I haven't had time to write about it. Today, I however do have some time, so I'd like to share something that I've been observing lately.

 I have to be totally honest and say that last week sucked! Sincerely, it was an incredibly difficult week!! I had a sinus infection, it was in the 90's with 700% humidity, and I had to move out of my house into a camper. (the last one is a totally different story that perhaps one day I'll share) I found out on Wednesday that  a dear friend of mine in South Africa passed away after a 2 month battle with what was thought to be liver cancer. So basically I was being attacked on all sides.

I know that from an outsiders perspective, this all looks rather dismal, and that I have every right to be upset, but God has shown me something completely different. Within all of the chaos, God showed up and showed off! He provided financially for my visit to the clinic (because being uninsured means having to pay out of pocket for any sort of medical attention), He provided physically by blessing a friend of mine with a camper that she and her husband have so graciously allowed me to stay in until I can find a more permanent place. He's also been healing my body (sinus infections are awful, and they're even worse when it's 90+ degrees out).

In all of this, it's been the way God has provided spiritually for me that has blown me away the most. I've become kind of worn out with all that is going on, and it's in the times I'm beginning feel myself wear thin that I find myself wondering if I'm doing what I'm supposed to. If living my life completely devoted to following Jesus is even going to make the slightest difference.

 Let's be honest for a minute, it can be really easy to give a worldly answer when a problem comes up. It's harder to trust in God's promises when life throws us a curve ball to the face.

Over the last couple of days, I've seen small glimpses of the fruits of my labor in other people's lives. I've seen how lives are being transformed in even the smallest ways. Lives of people that I've been praying for, interceding for, and loving on for a long time. People that, at times, it seemed would never change. I get to see two of my youth group kids (well one is technically an adult) get baptized next week, and the anticipation of it brings tears of joy to my eyes. I hear the relief and confidence in my sisters voice when she tells me that God is providing, and will continue to provide for her family. These moments, give me hope. They reassure me that by simply living out the life I've been called to will make a difference.

So in the midst of the hardship, God shows up and shows off. He will always give us small glimpses of His glory to keep us going when it feels like giving up would be the easiest option. He will also show us that when we stay the course, there will be fruit! Even though we don't always get to see it come to completion, the small glimpses of transformation in others' lives makes it worth continuing on!

So, no matter what you're facing today, remember that how we live out the lives we've been called to can impact another's view on Christ. Pray for opportunities to love on someone and show them Christ in the process. And stay the course! There is a great reward at the end, and maybe you'll get to see small glimpses of God's glory along the way!

John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Big and the Small

            I think life is back to a normal pace now. Which quite honestly, I'm so grateful for! Christmas was great, the Lord showed me over and over again how much He has blessed me with great friends and family. But it was busy... I was constantly on the go, and it definitely had an effect on me. On New Years day, I started getting sick, only to be left over the last almost two and a half weeks fighting a nasty cold. Of course, I have a hard time slowing down, and just taking time to rest, and this has only prolonged my sickness.

          Among the many things I've had going on, we started up with youth group again last weekend. I knew I would have to prepare a lesson, so I literally opened my Bible and started flipping the pages.That's when I came across Exodus, and figured "why not". It was in this moment, I came across  this scripture...

' The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed'. - Exodus 16:17-18

     There it is, the Isrealites were in the desert and they were griping because there wasn't any food. So, God promises to send Quail in the evening and Manna in the morning. I thought "perfect, we'll talk about God's perfect provision for every little and big thing in our lives". And that's exactly what we talked about. How God provides just what we need, when we need it, and that sometimes, we tend to fall into the trap of greed and complain because we don't think we have enough.

     Well, by Tuesday, I was still really sick, and on top of a nasty cold, my ears were plugged and sore. So, I decided it might be time to break down and go see a doctor. This always poses a problem for me, because I don't have insurance right now, and I just simply hate going to the doctor. But knowing that I wasn't getting better, I decided to listen to wisdom and go. Sure enough, I had an ear infection, which has required an antibiotic, and a steroid. But the thing that was getting to me, was the fact that I was going to have an extra bill to pay this month. I kept reminding myself that God will provide, and one way or another He was going to take care of me.

    As I was waiting in line at the pharmacy, I got a text message from a friend saying that they were going to help me cover the cost of the visit.... Wow, I was, and still am floored! God came through, and even sooner than I had thought. I was reminded, that just two days earlier, I had shared with the youth group about how God always provides perfectly. There is always just enough of what I need, exactly when I need it. If you read all of Exodus chapter 16, you'll see that God did provide for the Isrealites, even though they complained against Him, and didn't fully trust Him, He still provided everyday.

     It's the same with us. I know there are days when I complain that I don't have what I think I need, or I just don't have enough of something, but God is so patient and loving with me, and still gives me exactly what I need, when I need it. In the gospels, Jesus talks about this in several different ways. I love how the author of Luke puts it.

' Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.' - Luke 12:6-7

     This isn't the typical "don't worry God provides" passage, but the words of Jesus are so true. We are worth more than anything else on this earth to God. And He knows our every need.( Let me clarify, I'm not talking about the things we think we need, but our actual needs.) God in all His goodness, provides for us every day the things we need, and He provides for us when we have unforeseen things come into our lives, and He provides when He calls us into something that seems impossible.

   That's how important we are to Him, and that's just how much He loves us! So whatever you have right now that seems way too big, or maybe you're scared that your need will go unmet, give it to God. He knows exactly what and how much you need, and when we listen to Him and seek His wisdom, He always comes through!