Often life is hard, but God is always good

Archive for October, 2014

Cynicism or trust?

Photo Credit: girl/afraid flickr.com

Photo Credit: girl/afraid flickr.com

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV

God is good. I could just stop typing after that statement. Or maybe I could put that statement in boldface type. Anyway, this is the reality that I am absorbing – God is good.

My new grand baby is smiling now, three months old and her eyes crinkle up with laughter and light.  She trusts me. She responds from the framework because nothing has hurt her… yet.  God, protect her from all harm.

But we adults have experienced bad stuff.

Life is complicated, confusing and hurtful. People mess up and hurt us. We make mistakes that impact others. Bad things happen to well-meaning people. All this pain is unavoidable – especially if we allow ourselves to love, but this messy reality never erases the truth that God… is… good. He is always good. What a difference it makes when we protectively cradle this truth in the core of our beings.

This is “back to basics” faith. Like the writer to the Hebrews reminds us we come to God believing that he is – that he exists. The next step of faith is that we believe that God rewards those who seek him. He “rewards” – he responds lovingly and directly for our benefit.

God is light; he is not darkness. He is loving, not hateful. He is a good parent, not an uncaring one. He is truthful, not a liar. He is steady, enduring, not capricious and changeable. He is always… there for us.

“This is the message that we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” I John 1: 5

“Which of you fathers, if your son ask for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13

Let’s we walk around hopeful – trusting that God knows, sees, understands, and has it under control – somehow.

I will allow cynicism, despair, fear…

to drop away.

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Am I Lovely? – Part 2

Photo Credit: Girish Suryawanshi

Photo Credit: Girish Suryawanshi

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles, and the wearing of gold jewelry, or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

I apologize profusely to my readers, but I am still wrestling with the concept of my own beauty even at my “over the hill” age. I am saddened and ashamed that I didn’t come to peace with it when I still had my raven black hair and smooth skin.

So today, I return to this timeless treasure from the Lord about what he values: not the hair, not the jewelry, and definitely not the clothes, though a careful reading of these verses indicate this is not a ban on those fun and creative ways to adorn ourselves.

God sees me and considers of greatest worth to be… my inner self.

Ah ha! So what is my inner self?  And is it beautiful?

I dug deeper and uncovered the nugget that “inner self” is not the equivalent of personality; so “gentle and quiet” are not synonyms for our common modern day words “follower”, “introverted” and “not talkative”. (I am none of these)

Instead, these lovely words mean a heart at rest.

Stasi Eldredge gives the most lyrical description of a woman with a restful heart in her book Captivating: “A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough. In fact, the only thing getting in the way of our being fully captivating, and enjoyed is our striving. “ (p. 134-135)

So, today, I have washed my hair, and put on a pretty scarf, and lotioned my face prior to applying make up, but I also have put my face up to be figuratively kissed by my Heavenly Father who told me this morning: “I love you just as you are – you don’t have to do a thing.”

“Beauty flows from a heart at rest.”

(Stasi Eldredge, Captivating)

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