Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘Hebrews’

No burden of bitterness

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Photo Credit: Rhino Neal

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31 NIV

 I jumped back as if stung; the words on the page had leapt, too. Not mine, but my grandmother’s. Why had I opened her journal? Entering her bedroom was innocent enough – checking on whether she was ready to go to the church service. An open door and an empty room don’t excuse reading another’s personal diary! But, the damage was done. I had opened the worn leather cover and read the first page that opened to my touch.

What had I read? Her personal and anguished thoughts about moving away from her family and familiar Philadelphia environs. It must have been an old journal because my grandmother had lived for many years in the Chesapeake Bay area in this unique house by the water, designed by her husband to boat to and from. She had always seemed serene, busy, and connected to church and community in the Northern Neck of Virginia during these retirement years.

So what did it mean? It was another evidence of my grandmother’s faith and maturity – that she didn’t become bitter and isolated, even when her initial feelings about uprooting from Pennsylvania were so intensely painful.

I do not endorse or excuse my own actions to violate her privacy. I am ashamed that I never confessed to her what I had done, and now it is too late because she has gone to glory. This “story” came to mind recently because so often we don’t know what another person has had to overcome – so often the cheerful person we know has already moved far beyond hurt and pain, having won their personal battle with resentment.

I would like emulate my grandmother, carrying no burden of bitterness with me as I move forward in life. The Bible describes bitterness as something that can take root and grow– that, too, is something I pray to avoid.

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12: 15

Lord, please remove any small or large bitter roots in our hearts. May we follow Paul’s exhortation to “get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger”.  In its place, please grow kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Amen

 

 

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.

Is God Really Good?

Photo Credit: C. Hope Flinchbaugh

Photo Credit: C. Hope Flinchbaugh

“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. I grew up with surrounded by intelligent cynics.  Faith was for the weak-minded.  So it has been a battle for years to reform my mental pathways to make a smooth and lasting environment for this truth – one that will remain in the center of my mind and heart. This is “back to basics” faith.  Like the writer to the Hebrews, he who comes to God must believe that he is – that he exists. Beyond that, the next step of faith is that we believe that he rewards those who seek him.  He “rewards” means 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

Life is complicated.  People mess up and hurt others. Bad things happen to well-meaning people. Pain is inevitable – especially if you allow yourself to love others, 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.  We walk around hopeful – trusting that God has our backs.

Cynicism, despair, fear…

drop away.

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