Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You; help me, I trust You. Father, open my eyes so that I may see You clearly. Open my ears so that I may hear You soundly. Open my mind so that I may understand You more. Open my heart so that I may love You more. Open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly, In Jesus‘ name, Amen!
Today‘s reading: Acts 20:1-22:21
And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, Acts 20:22
If you‘re like me, the future is a scary place. I know I am going there, whether I like it or not, but I don‘t know what will happen to me there, and that can be a scary thing! Today is a difficult day for the Knochel family; this afternoon we lost a dearly loved member of our family, my husband‘s grandma. She was a beautiful woman who loved God dearly enough to spend her summers out west working as a missionary and living out of their RV. As a family in this moment, we don‘t know what the future will look like without her in it; it looks a little darker and sadder right now. However, while those of us here on earth will be crying tears of sorrow and loss, her family in heaven will be crying tears of joy. We can‘t be sad for her, she‘s not missing anything, she‘s gaining everything. So our tears are obviously not for her benefit. If they‘re not for her benefit, then for who‘s but our own? And isn‘t that nothing but selfishness? Yet, when someone dies how can we do anything but cry? How can we do anything but morn? How can we feel anything but sorrow? How can we see anything but our loss?
Her salvation is secure, so what does she have to be sad about? Nothing!
The other day I told you about finding solace in photography and looking closely at the things that God alone created, and that‘s what I‘ve spent the morning doing today. As the kids and I were getting ready this morning it was a dreary dark morning, the feeling of the day was simply depressing and it was permeating our moods as well. But shortly after I dropped my daughter off at her play date and my son off at school God made my plans take a sharp right turn. I had planned on spending the morning in prayer with friends at the school, but that wasn‘t God‘s plan for me in this day, He knew what was coming for our family. So He canceled Mom‘s in Prayer for the morning due to our leader‘s sickness, then He sent me in His direction with a phone call from a friend. In that brief call I shared with her my current struggle with a “glass-half-empty“ attitude that I‘ve picked up somewhere. And God used her to shake some sense into me (He uses her a lot for that, I‘m tellin ya, everybody needs a friend like Kelly in their life)! And then God used the Holy Spirit and Kelly both to give me my new plan for the day, go take pictures.
For the last year I‘ve been struggling with this idea that “nothing good is going to happen to me“ in a worldly sense. Sure, I totally get that everything works for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28), but I‘d lost the hope that… oh, I don‘t know, maybe God would cut us a break! It seems like all we ever do is struggle. Struggle to manage our time, our money, our kids, our house, our jobs, sigh… it‘s exhausting! And so I‘ve been praying that God would show me His goodness in the land of the living. That I would get to SEE those blessings He promises in Deuteronomy 28. My flocks (or finances) becoming abundant, my bread pan (food) overflowing, you know, those kinds of things. Please don‘t misunderstand me, spiritually I am so blessed it amazes me… but physically… well, maybe I‘m just spoiled and I‘m not seeing things the way I should, but I want more!
OK, just reading that sentence makes me cringe, total selfishness! But, it is the truth. Honestly, right now I feel like I‘ve just been so beaten down by the world that I don‘t feel like getting up to get beaten back down again. But then, God speaks, and you really can‘t argue with Him, try as you may! This morning during my quiet time with Him, while I was reading today‘s passages, He says to me “Times of refreshing will come.“
This winter I kept expecting the snow to just dump on us and bury us like it did last year and yet it never did. And then about three weeks ago when it really started looking like spring was really here to stay I began to adjust my thinking and realized that just because the snow buried us last year doesn‘t mean that it will this year… and maybe God gave us this winter to make up for last winter! I held on to that thought pattern for a few days while it was in the sixties. But then it got up into the seventies the very next week and little Mr. Bad Attitude on my shoulder started whispering in my ear, “If it‘s in the seventies in March, what‘s it going to be like in July? It could be like a thousand degrees!“ And I started accepting those thought patterns and spitting them back out as my own!!! Ugh! What was I thinking? I was failing to realize that maybe, since God gave us such a mild and wonderful winter, and an early spring, that perhaps maybe He would also choose to bless us with this very weather for all of the summer as well! Maybe. Who knows?
You see, my dread of the future “bad“ weather was stealing my enjoyment of the current beautiful weather. And that‘s exactly what my attitude has been doing for my life as well. I have been so caught up in worrying about the future and what it holds that I‘ve been missing the beauty of the moment that I‘m in right now. I‘ve missed so very much.
Do not be anxious for tomorrow and let tomorrow‘s worries steal today‘s joys!