Tag Archive: Providence

Answered Prayers

God, you astound me.  Why do you care?  I mean, I’m so small; I shouldn’t even be worth your time.  How can you even hear me when there’s so much other noise in the world?  Why would you even consider anything I ask you?  Why would you even want to listen?  But you do.  And you answer–the little things and the big ones!

You brought COTN into Haiti a bare two months after I asked you (I don’t want to question your methods, but I wouldn’t mind an explanation of that one someday).  Nin had cancer, but she seems fine now.  Through jobless times, you’ve provided for Bizzy and me financially–we’ve never even missed a payment on anything–and you’ve even allowed us to increase our giving!  You constantly protect us.  You replaced our Xbox for two dollars.  You gave me a dream job and let me help make others’ dreams come true.  You’re causing our company to grow when people are getting laid off everywhere.  You kept the power on last Monday night until the cornbread was finished baking.  You brought the power back Tuesday and kept it on.  When the water shut off Thursday morning, you provided wonderful friends to share Thanksgiving with, who brought us water in whatever containers they could find.  Then you brought the water back Friday morning.  And you worked out all the details so the Greens could sign their contract today.

You’re so awesome, and just saying that doesn’t come within a parsec of what I really mean (which is not even a shadow of what I should mean if I really understood what I was trying to say).

And I don’t deserve these blessings.  In fact, I deserve curses.  But you bless me anyway.  I don’t understand, and I know I don’t really ever seem grateful.  But I do notice.

As Bryan Duncan would say, “Thanks for letting me share… Amen.”


Pure Joy, Huh?

What a day.  What a frustrating day.  I suppose I should have expected it.  After all, it couldn’t possibly be an easy day after beginning it by starting the book of James.  Seriously, could you even imagine reading James 1:2 (“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”) and then not facing trials?

I’m failing God today, and that’s the most frustrating part.  As frustrating as the trials themselves are, they can’t compare to how frustrating it is to know how I ought to respond and then respond wrongly.  Even this blog post is a wrong response.  I’m full of anger, bitterness, worry, and trepidation, and I’ve got a little bit of depression to top it off.  Oh, and let’s not forget a liberal sprinkling of cynicism.

I suppose I’ve grown a little since I was twelve; back then, I’d have put my fist through a wall.  Come to think of it, I tried that in college, too–cinder block is a little tougher than Sheetrock.  “Some people gotta learn the hard way,” right?

I’m shamed to say that I’m frustrated with work; I love my job.  I mean, I get to help people make their dreams come true.  As Malcom Reynolds once said, “This job, I would do for free.”  (Actually…)  So I’m frustrated with work?  Isn’t everyone?  Doesn’t everyone at some point just get fed up and want to walk out?  Yeah, everyone does.  You know you get tired of it every now and then.  Especially when you have to do something that doesn’t relate one iota to the work you need to get done.

So why am I so special that I should never get frustrated?  I’m not.  And I know it.  That’s why I’m upset with myself: people have to deal with far worse every day, and they don’t complain about it a bit.  A coworker of mine has been assigned the same lousy task I have, and she hates it just as much.  But she’s working on it without complaint.   Yet here I am, screaming like I did in third grade: “It’s not fair!”  Maybe I haven’t grown.

Of course, there’s nothing so convicting as the Holy Spirit.  All kinds of verses have been popping into my head as I’ve been writing this, and they all focus on God turning our mourning into dancing.  And, while I’m still disappointed in myself, I know that (somehow) God still cares for me and wants to help me face these trials.

“And the Apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

“What a wretched man I am! Who will save me from this body of death? Praise be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

“Why are you downcast, O my soul, why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him–my Savior and my God.”

“I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.”

I failed in the trials today, but tomorrow is a clean slate.  Well, it looks like I’m out of chalk for now.

A Life of Praise

A grateful heart I give,

A thankful prayer I pray,

A wild dance I dance before You.

When I woke up this morning, I just had to praise and thank God.  Well, OK, not exactly when I woke up.  I haven’t yet cultivated enough discipline to be grateful for anything at 4:30 in the morning.

But as I drove to my 5 a.m. Bible study–it’s not that early; besides, it’s the only time that everyone can make it–as I drove, I couldn’t help but thank God for His provision and His providing a way for us to give more.  Now that I write it, that sounds like I’m boasting or trying to be really “spiritual” in a holier-than-thou kind of way.  I really don’t mean it that way.

It’s just that my wife and I have been personally affected by the needs of others lately.  We see the real financial need at our church and in so many families around us, and it’s been breaking our hearts that we can’t do anything more about those needs.

My wife and I each lost our jobs in our first year of marriage, and it was pretty rough.  But God provided; we never even missed a bill payment.  Of course we worried at times.  Sure, we doubted occasionally.  But I remember, in the midst of everything, with tears streaming down our faces, we still joyfully sang:

Thank You for the trials, for the fire, for the pain.

Thank You for the strength, knowing You have ordained

Every day.

How much more, then, should we praise Him when it appears He is going to shower us with blessings!

In the midst of our need, we knew that the church would be there for us.  We knew that so many families around us would be there to help.  We were confident that, no matter what happened, we would not lack a place to sleep or food to eat.  It is such a humbling feeling to think that we may soon be able to help others in the same way.

Well, looks like I’m out of chalk for now.