Saturday, July 21, 2007
Much to do about stuff
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
The other day I opened my computer as usual only to discover that everything was gone. What a shock! All programs, emails, documents, pictures and files were missing. It was as if somehow during the night the hard drive had been wiped clean. My initial reaction was one of panic. I began to think of all the important data that I had not backed up which now was forever lost. The more I meditated on it, the worse I felt.
At that moment I recognized the familiar feeling of loss for something that could not be changed nor restored. In that instant I realized that I had allowed "stuff" (namely my computer) to hold an important spot in my heart. I had a choice to make. Would I allow myself to be controlled and even devastated by this turn of events, or would I put the loss in it's proper perspective? Things can be replaced. My relationship with God, with my husband, with my children--these are the important things of life. With a contrite heart I turned to the Lord and confessed I had made much to do about stuff.
You know what? None of my circumstances had changed, but the meditation of my heart had turned to thankfulness for the blessings I have and for a loving God who used "stuff" to reboot my attitude.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The Reality of Answered Prayer
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
I have a framed version of this scripture verse sitting on my piano in Taiwan. I found myself often puzzling over the words wondering how in the world God could give me a future and a hope when it seemed all I had was disaster. The perspective in the valley is so limited. Trusting God's heart, for me. was what I clung to during that time. And now, the reality of answered prayer with a wider view from the mountaintop allows me to see both what God was working out in the past as well as gaining a glimpse of that "future and a hope"!
Last week on July 9, 2007, Jerry Burton and I were married in Frisco, Colorado. Neither one of us would have chosen the life-changing events of the last few years, but now seeing God's hand in our lives all we can do is lift our voices in praise to the Lord who all along was working out His plan.
Monday, July 09, 2007
A Surprise Answer to a Secret Prayer
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6There are a great number of Christians who pray for things but never have a clear sense that God heard and answered. What a sad commentary on a life that should be abundant and filled with excitement over the power of prayer and faith in a God who not only hears but answers. One reason for uncertainty is the lack of specific prayer and the habit we have of seeking help from human sources rather than meeting with our Heavenly Father in secret. Years ago at the starting line of my missionary career I was challenged to meet with God in the secret place and petition Him for things that only He could do, then while telling no other person watch God work. Oh how He showed Himself real to me in those days and in the years to follow! It was an exciting lesson learned. The neat thing is that now, 26 years later, God is still in the business of meeting me in secret and rewarding me openly.
Such has been the case in recent months. There are some yearnings of the heart that can only be voiced to God alone, things much too personal to trust to another human. I have come to recognize God as my source of strength, my hiding place, and my great provider. Knowing God in such an intimate way gave me the courage to pray a secret prayer from the heart. I asked God to either make me content to serve Him alone, or bring someone into my life who had a passion for God with whom I could serve. I got real specific and made a long list of character traits and attributes that I would want in a future mate. Honestly, I didn’t think there was a man alive who fit my criteria.
Imagine my surprise when God proved me wrong and answered my secret prayer by bringing Jerry Burton into my life. Jerry, a pastor in Ohio, was widowed 2 years ago. He was Malcom’s friend who was a source of strength and encouragement during his year battle with cancer. He became my friend during that time as well and was one of my encouragers through this past year. When I had at last submitted to God’s perfect way, it was as if God said, “Now…here is the answer to your prayer.” Soon I will be Mrs. Jerry Burton and I am excited to embark on this new phase of life, serving a wonderful God who answers prayers!