Mag's Thoughts

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Lesson Learned in Darkness

There is a threefold lesson that I learned Easter of 2001 and the weeks following Easter into the hot days of summer. These lessons have come to mind these last few weeks of uncertainty. In Psalms 45:18, the psalmist says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” David praises his God for His greatness, His mercy, goodness, and in verse 18 David addresses the closeness of God, literally within us as we call on Him in complete trust and faithfulness. It was during those  days in 2001 that I truly understood this passage as I called and sometimes screamed to God for help and wisdom. I was taught my entire life the life-saving meaning of trusting in God. He literally knows every corner of our heart, and if we are honestly trusting Him, the significance in our lives is eternal.

Sarah, our oldest daughter, was hospitalized on Easter morning of 2001 with a devastating diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Our daughter died on August 1, 2001. It was a dark, life-changing and awful experience for me and my family. Although the loss is always there, scabbed over after time, I can attest to the work of my Lord and Savior though this journey. Right after Sarah’s death, our nation experienced 9/11. I saw our nation, those countless families grieving, confused, looking for the same answers my husband and I needed. We found our answers on our knees in the very first minutes after we learned of Sarah’s death. The grief we experienced tore at our faith, challenged our cognitive abilities, and went to war with our physical health; but through total dependence on our Lord and Savior, we found new strength in God, in His Word. God comforts, heals our pain, and offers ways to minister to others through it all. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit who guides us. Our Father in heaven brings light and clarity to the journey and is with us though all the valleys and straight to the mountain tops. Our part, being in a right relationship with our Lord and Savior before the valleys hit. God reveals what he does for us so clearly in these verses below, and that is the second part of the lesson we all must learn. He offers peace, comfort, discernment, direction, and a light to see past the tragedy.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, the comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

He will cover you with his pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and a buckler.
Psalm 91:4

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

In the days following Sarah’s death, we learned a great deal about servant-hood and humility through those who took care of our every need. Jesus taught us all much about humility and servant-hood in John 13, and that is the third part of the lesson.  As Jesus finished washing the disciples’ feet He said in verses 14-16, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater that the one who sent him.” The washing of one’s feet in ancient times was often done and offered by a hostess upon entering a home, yet having another wash one’s feet was done by slaves or showed a sign of humility and willingness to serve. Jesus knew his time was at hand and wanted his close friends to understand this life lesson before he returned to the Father. It is actually through our experiences that I discovered where God called me to work in His Kingdom. This was hard lesson learned in tragedy, but this  lesson brought light into our darkness, the light of the Lord.  


Five Loaves, Two Fishes, And A Porch Swing

Matthew 13-21 esv

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

One of my favorite Bible stories as a child is the story of Jesus feeding the five  thousand.  Always this has been a lesson to me about trust. My grandmother, a precious child of God, told me this story while sitting in  her porch swing eating  those yummy candy orange slices. She said all those people sat down and just trusted Jesus to provide for them. 

That story from my Grannie often comes to mind. How familiar those circumstances are  today.  We just must trust our loving Lord for our tomorrows. That childhood lesson
teaches me to  patiently wait for God working in my life.

 We, however, as followers must also reach out to those in need. My Grannie did not have much, but as a school cafeteria worker, she would pay for children's lunches if they did not have the money.  if God has provided for us, then we must in kind, provide what we can for others.

I learned much from my Grannie on that porch swing. She made the Bible come alive those evenings swinging on her porch. I learned that God has answers for us. We  must be quiet  and listen for God's answers.

Perfectly Guarded

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Waiting is knowing answers will come, but not knowing what the answers will reveal. A most difficult exercise for humans is turning the mind away from dwelling on possible outcomes. The peace God offers brings calm to the night. God knows the deepest parts of the human heart and offers respite and rest. Much of what Paul writes to the various churches is to encourage them. Just like the early church, we need that encouragement  in these days.

We face the reality of a pandemic in our world, and it is frightening on many levels. I know without reservation that God walks with us in the darkest hours and the deepest  valleys.  My Lord and Savior  offers strength, comfort, and peace to our hearts when His children need them the most.

Our prayer:
Most Holy Lord, you are our Creator who loves each of us and You hear our prayers. May we open our hearts to Your wisdom and trust that you walk with us in the valleys. Please guard our hearts Lord and comfort Your children.  Forgive us when we doubt Your power working in our lives.  Thank you for Your perfect love realized through Your Son who gave His life for our Salvation. Thank you Heavenly Father for the strength you give though Your Word and through prayer. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.

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