“We are meant to live in joy. This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
I’ve often found myself often looking for a change in life especially during long stretches of difficult and or uncertain times. Is it perhaps my difficulty in seeing the change is because I’ve not fully accepted the reality of the situation? I so desperately want the situation to be different. The reality is that it’s not happening. If a situation can be remedied, there is no need to be unhappy about its current state. It will change. If the situation can not be fixed or changed, why worry about it? It is what it is! If a situation can’t be fixed or changed we owe it to ourselves to create a new situation. It’s far easier to step into the moment of today, when we are not fixated on what has or has not happened, or what we cannot change.
The Will of God… Helen read the words again. She knew they were true. But still, fear lapped at her heart, threatening to engulf it. Have you ever felt like that, struggling to trust God’s goodness in the face of a possible loss – the loss of something or someone you treasure? Have you ever wondered if God’s will might somehow take you where no one has gone before – to a place where God’s grace cannot keep you? If so you are not alone. Loss and fear of loss can plant the seeds of doubt in the most faithful of hearts. Perhaps you are experiencing that right now, even as you read this. If so, remember; facts and feelings are not the same thing. No matter what happens – no matter what! – God’s promises are true. God’s sustaining grace is real.
Jane L. Fryar
I wasn’t sure I was going to render a thought today. I’ve learned not to sweat the times when I don’t expound on something. As I was preparing for the the next day I picked a small 33 day devotional that had this passage which spoke so clearly to my heart. I knew I needed to share. I hope it encourages someone else as well.
Derived from the Latin word humus, meaning earth or soil, humility is that unspoken quality within an individual that is experienced by others. We say of such an individual, “That person is so down to earth.” It is from the earth that growth takes place. So to be down to earth means that we are always growing. Growth involves taking in various nutrients that life has to offer. Therefore, humility is a necessity of living. It doesn’t mean that we neglect to use our own gifts. On the contrary our gifts have purpose. It’s what we bring to the table. Humility is what allows us to be fed and experience the gifts of others when we sit down to eat.
Changing emotions can be quite hard. Changing perspective is much easier. If we change the way we see the world, and the meaning we give to what we see and experience, we can then, change the way we feel. Increased perspective, humility, humor and acceptance – all qualities of the mind, can make greater room for the pillars of the heart; forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity.
The word of the day is compassion. I’m remembering the scripture of a woman who approached Jesus and asked for healing for her daughter. Actually she was looking for a cure. Jesus response about not serving dogs still throws me off. Her come back however was a good; challenge to his humanity. Even dogs; she says, eat the crumbs from the table. Mark one for the dogs! Having had a dog I know this to be true. Clearly the people of Israel weren’t the only ones struggling and in need of salvation. This was a turning point for the young minister. Our journey will have many of these encounters, where our eyes are reopened. Our compassion for the other in this life must always be greater than our fullest understanding of what it is that we believe ourselves call to do.
Curing involves the resolution of the illness but is not always possible. Healing is coming to wholeness and could happen whether or not the illness is curable. Focus on the healing and transformation is inevitable.
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain* in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the guiltless. Matthew 12:6-7
Far too often we make assumptions that later are proven wrong. We don’t take the time to see beyond the grandiose images and exaggerated stories that people tell. We must always look deeper. We can not know the untold story without first asking, nor the burdens of century old “walls” in desperate need of maintenance, both longing for love and not judgment. Martin Luther King Jr. understood both the compassion that was necessary for human dignity and the lasting damage of promises made by false gods. His message would not be deterred nor his dream broken. In the midst of a new day we too must labor on.
“Wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Matt. 11) Wouldn’t it be nice if we just woke up all knowing, totally clued in to the world and all its ways? However, sometimes all knowing doesn’t keep us from doing the wrong thing. It’s kind of like understanding that fire is hot because of our learning, but we don’t really know that it’s hot until we try to touch it. We can’t really know something until we’ve experienced it for ourselves. If we allow Wisdom to have its way, out of those experiences, comes opportunity for growth.