Saturday, August 26, 2006

The First Note

The concert master has already entered. The oboe has given the tuning note. The conductor has been honored. The audience has quieted.

Watch the orchestra.

In the last moment before the first note sounds, instruments are poised and ready. The brass comes to attention. The reeds are dampened. The violins find their first string. All that remains is a signal from the conductor, and the whole room will burst forth in music.

The sun has already risen. The birds have chirped their repetitive sequences. The battle between the snooze button and my alarm's tone has carried on as long as I dare. Already, people are coming and going about their day. As I rise, I have the opportunity to stop and to prepare, to search out the Scriptures, to linger in prayer, to line up my heart's response to His leading. I want to be ready. I want to find that first string so that all that remains is to wait for the signal from God.

And the transformation occurs from a day as it might have been into the orchestrated beauty of His direction.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Black Miracles

When we think of God's hand moving in a miraculous way, we think of the beauty, the earth taking shape at his command. We think of the majesty, mountains and valleys carved out by rushing waters. We think of the sufficiency, a multitude satisfied by one boy's lunch. We think of the joy, a cherished loved one restored to life, a dreaded disease or impairment gone.

But what about the other miracles, black miracles if you will, the miracles that we didn't choose, the miracles that make us question and doubt. Miracles like Joseph being sold into slavery. Like David watching his infant son slip into eternity. Like Paul with a thorn that wouldn't go away.

Sometimes God moves in a miraculous way to do exactly what we didn't want. A lack of finances keeps that dream from becoming a reality. The boyfriend or fiancé that seemed to be God's will calls it off. The friend that was such a spiritual encouragement moves away. The job that was everything thing you ever wanted is no longer yours. The doctor's diagnosis drastically alters your future, crushing hopes and dreams.

None of these events would have taken place without a supernatural intervention form God. Can they be any less miracles? They are the miracles that move beyond our comprehension into the mind of God. And His thoughts are not out thoughts.

But, if we truly believe that all things work together for good, can we be any less thankful for the black miracles?

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Goals

Call them New Year resolutions if you will. I personally don't make New Year resolutions because they've always been a joke with me. I find the guilt trip on every 31st of December inhumane, and making a practice of setting myself up for failure every year seems needless.

I do however believe in setting goals, of making a plan, of evaluating my life in light of areas to change. Maybe that's the same thing as what a New Year resolution is supposed to do, but for me, doing it on a day other than the transition between December and January somehow makes it seem a little less doomed.

Another difference--I'm not looking at the year as a whole. These are my goals for today. Tomorrow, they will be my goals for tomorrow, and as God enables me day by day, I pray they become a habit that will last through the year and then another and another. For now, today will suffice.

  • To depend daily on God, to seek Him as my only sustenance from moment to moment, to never stop needing Him (Psalm 63).
  • To daily meet with God, to be in his Word that I might know Him, that I might obey Him, that I might grow to be more like Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • To make Him my delight (Psalm 37:4).
  • To be obedient in prayer, to learn how to pray according to His will, and to make prayer a discipline in my life (Philippians 4:6).
  • To choose daily to be thankful, knowing that when I cease to honor Him and cease to be thankful, it is the turning point away from Him (Romans 1). For me, it's making a literal list of thankfulness and keeping myself accountable in it.
  • To submit to the divine authority of those who hold me accountable, to approach accountability with honesty and without preconceived prejudice (Romans 13:1-2; 1 Peter 5:5).
  • To honestly ask God to search my heart and point out areas of idolatry and unconfessed sin (Psalm 139:23-24).
  • To be sincere in my motives (Colossians 3:23).
  • To rest within God's sovereignty (Matthew 11:28-30).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Making Changes

I begin by saying "God is good." That has become the phrase with which I've prefaced nearly everything I've said of late. And it's true. It's so true.

This summer for me has been a time of serious searching and a time of difficult decisions. God has been working in my life, bringing to my attention a lot of things that I needed to see and a lot of things that I really don't want to see, but important nevertheless.

I'm not coming back to Maranatha as a dorm sup this fall. To be honest, this came as a very difficult change for me. I loved dorm suping. I loved Gould. I still love every one of my girls. But God has been redirecting, and I need to respond with obedience. He has very clearly closed one door and seems to be clearly opening another.

As I look at the coming fall, I still plan to live in Watertown. I will be working. And I plan to use this time to pursue my masters. I know what God is doing and teaching me through this is good, and I trust Him, not only for the outcome, but the process as well. I have seen Him do some truly amazing things in the past few weeks. I've had to trust Him in ways I honestly didn't before. And I know that this God that I serve will continue. He will continue to provide as He has provided before. He will continue His work in my life. I have that promise from Scripture. He will meet each and every need of the Gould girls. Of course He will; He is the only one equipped to meet those needs. I can only fall short.

My God is enough. May He be praised.