May 24, 2013

Oh How He Loves Us So

When things go horribly wrong we raise a fist to God and ask why.  We insist on having answers to the unfairness and cutting through of all we expect and demand in this life.  Why so? 

When all is well - when the children are giggling, the sun is shinning on the glimmering grass,  our money pouch covers the mortgage, 2 cars, and vacations, and love is being made instead of quarrels being had, we revel in our reality that all is as it should be.  Why so?


We live in a fallen world and will live in it until we are birthed into eternal life, or until the Lord returns.  Why do we expect heaven on earth now?  Why do we expect this side of the gates made of pearl to be like His side?  Why do we think that the blessings of God are ordinary, everyday normal? And why do we demand an explanation when our expectations aren't met?

We are outraged by perceived injustice, yet underwhelmed by the "everyday" miracles of life.


Are we spoiled brats, so lavished upon that we don't even recognize the glory in it all?  We've grown to expect the glory as normal.  Anything less is shocking, demeaning to our standing, undeserved.  If all of these good gifts are run-of-the-mill normal, what is ecstasy?  If we are not stunned by the beauty and goodness of God, then what do we find stunning?  If everything beautiful is demanded and everything ugly is undeserved, what is gift?

"The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Maybe we are the silly people.

This sick by sin world is where we live.  We cannot expect to walk through mire and come out bleached white and untouched.  Dingy, dirty, darkness, will touch our lives.  We live among it.  Our choosing the slick words of Satan in that garden of harmony caused all this mess. But God chose us, even though we didn't choose him. Therefore, graciousness each day so gifted by God, is not normal or deserved.  It is ecstatic, brilliant, elaborate love given as we work to fulfill the meaning of it all.  What is the meaning?  God  planned that our lives should bring glory to him, and that we would be immersed in this world to inject his light.  We are here for him and no other reason.  It's not about us.  We need to stop and realize that dark and depraved is normal in this world, but that God has shed his grace on us, and we should be  awe struck humbled by it - So awe struck humbled that we spend our lives in his presence, glowing from his grace, and reflecting his light.

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
 ~Edith Wharton



If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up.
~ Jean Asper McIntosh

Let's do the same; let's look for sun spilling onto the floor, babies holding fingers tight,  freckles around smiles, and unexpected notes in the mail. Let's see the hands that wipe the tears, and pray by the bedside, and help us carry our loads.  Let's anticipate the bird's song after the rain, and the rainbow when the sun comes out, and golden grass that shines, and all of the other blessings that shed light in this dark and normal world.

Let's praise God when our plans and expectations lie in ruins, because his are better than ours.

Let's love God because he's ever present even when we fail to show up.

 Let's be overwhelmed with the fact that ordinary is not ordinary at all. 

Why the pain of evil, sickness, tragedy and injustice?  We live in a fallen world created long ago by man's desire to be and have something other than God's best for him.  We all inherited that.  Why everything else? Why so much good?  Why so much blessing in the middle of burden? Because we are loved by Holy God himself, the God who even finds a miraculous way to use the ugly blackness for our good so that our suffering isn't for naught.  Oh how he loves you and me.


This is a revised and updated version of a post I published two years ago.  When my great city was hit by a massive tornado on May 20th, I wanted to write, and tell people how to seek God in all of this, but it really didn't feel appropriate. Living here in Oklahoma, I read the words of advice I saw everywhere on the Internet, and they didn't seem to begin to touch the magnitude of what was actually happening on the street. The more I tried to write, the more I found I couldn't come up with anything adequate either. There is nothing I can say that will make this easier because this tragedy requires the whisper of the Holy Spirit directly to your heart.  As I grappled with what to write, I was reminded of this post I had previously written.  It's the best I can do right now.  I do know this - God is good.  Seek relationship with him through Jesus because it is absolutely the only way you will fully grasp what it means to know peace in the midst of a storm.  Continue to pray for the victims, the workers, and the volunteers as this is just the beginning of a very long road.  They will need prayers for months to come.

I'm still not back to blogging full-time.  The Lord has me doing some inner work right now that requires I take time away from many of my usual activities, but in time I will be back to a regular schedule.  He's assured me of that.

Grace and peace to you, my friends . . .

20 comments:

  1. Amen to this....oh how He loves us!

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  2. Hi Stephani - I am thinking of you all in Oklahoma and pray the Lord brings healing to hearts and restoration to devastated communities. Your words here are perfect - and I am hopeful of my own return to Blogland as I have been hit by storms in my own life that has kept me away. But, oh - for the good words shared here to lift and encourage the weary . . .
    Joy to you!
    Kathy

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    1. Kathryn, It's so good to see your face in my comment box! Thank you for the prayers for Oklahoma and your kind words! God is good!

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  3. This post greatly touched my heart... Beautifully written and wise.

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  4. I can't even begin to tell you how much this post touched my heart, my soul deeply! My family was hit by a tornado in the form of illness...my son was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and it hit suddenly and hard and as a mother it's been the hardest thing to see and witness, as he could not even hold a cup - he is 15. But we are getting a handle on it now with many drugs and he has been back to school for about 3 or 4 weeks after missing 4 1/2 weeks. I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit had a hand in me seeing this tonight, because it's really late and I'm not normally surfing blogs this late....and I probably would have missed it. Thank you for sharing this again, so beautifully written! xo

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    1. Kim, I can see the ache of your heart here, and so glad the Holy Spirit led you here and that you listened! I'm sorry for pain and the tornado of this illness. I will pray for your sweet son and that you will be able to see God's grace in the midst of all of it!

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  5. reminds me of Job, my very favorite story in the bible. i love your pictures and your words and the person that created them :)

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    1. Thanks Vicki! Yes, we can learn so much from Job, can't we? He really, really, loved the Lord and honored him through all of his trials! Love you too girl!

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  6. Love your photos and the words you've shared. I feel the need to rest here and really take in what you've written. So powerful! Blessings to you. Beth

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    1. Oh Beth, I hope you can rest here! That's what I hope for with this blog - a place to rest!

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  7. This post is perfect. I'm glad you reposted it so that I could see it at this time. Visiting from next to you at Barbie's. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth! So glad to meet you in this space!

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  8. This is beautiful, the words and photos. There is so much that speaks to my heart hear. Thank you for reposting!

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    1. Thanks for your faithfulness Barbie - to me, your readers, and most of all - the Lord!

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  9. Excellent post! You said so eloquently what has been on my heart. In my head, I'd say "We weren't promised easy" over and over. And thank you for the reminder to stop in my every day and recognize the blessings before me.

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  10. Finding blessings in the ordinary has become a habit of mine. I missed so much before! Your post reminds me of Psalm 34: 5 "They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed." It is like that cat that found the ray of sunlight. I want to be like that...seeking the Lord and radiating His presence. Blessings to you as the Lord works within. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your words, your heart and your photography. Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart Linking with you at Barbie's

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  11. This was the perfect post for the times we face! I look forward to the time you are back often but, in the meantime, breathe deep and let the breath of the Father fill you up.
    ~Adrienne~

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  12. His praise shall continually be in our mouths...no matter what! There is so much power in our praises! Thank you for this wonderful post.

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  13. to read words of hope in the midst of trouble from a tornado, is our God shining through and in you. may you all be helped and held up with the promise of his faithfulness. the quotes were all so interesting and the perspective that the good we experience is nothing but the grace of God in this fallen world is a dose of reality. reminds me of what Dave Ramsey's greeting is when someone asks how he is, "Better than I deserve!"
    he is close to the broken hearted so expect to hear his heart beat, up close and personal. :)

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