Light In The Darkest Hours

imageThe other morning I got up early to go with a friend to the hospital. She was nervous. That’s normal.

On the way to the hospital, we prayed that everything would go well. We prayed for peace and and for wisdom for the staff that would be involoved with the surgery. For trust in a God who is faithful and true.

Shortly after we prayed, we passed a rose garden that I frequent when I go out to take pictures. It was still dark outside but as we passed by, something caught my eye. Little white balls seemed to be floating amongst the roses.  I looked more intently, only to realize that what I was seeing was the pure white roses illuminating the dark.

I smiled.

Even in our darkest hours, God shines light for our path. It may come through words of a faithful friend. It may come through seeing a rainbow and being reminded that we can trust what God says. It can come when we read His word and take to heart what He’s written for us there. Or, it  may come when we are driving to a hospital, repeating to ourselves the what-ifs of something going wrong as we pass a garden in the dark.

The ‘normal’ person may not realize what those round, glowing white ‘lights’ are as they pass by, but I knew exactly what they were because I’ve spent so much time there. I can tell you where the pink roses are, the Sterling Silvers, my favorites and the Killdeer nests I have found  when visiting with my grandkids. The more time spent there, the more familiar it becomes. The more familiar it becomes, the more intimately I get to know it.

I thought about how my relationship with my heavenly Father is like that garden. He draws me in on some pretty dark days to show me the Light has overcome the darkness. The more time I spend with Him, the more I want to be with Him. With each encounter, the familiarity brings a deeper intimacy. Even in the darkest hours. I just need to keep following the Light.

Enthusiasm… Get Yourself Some

imageFinn is my youngest grandson. Finn is nine months – okay, almost ten months old. Finn is a very happy baby.

In fact, my “Little Monkey” is happy (no exaggeration) 95% of the time. The only time I have seen him unhappy is when he’s been teething or has tummy problems and even then you can get him to smile – at the least.

The other day I was thinking about Finn and his vivacious attitude toward life. We are all different. Some of us are naturally skeptical toward life. Some are cautious. Some are fearful. Some have abundant joy and overflow with happiness. Are we born like that – skeptical, cautious, full of fear, joyful or otherwise – or do we learn it according to our life experiences? Maybe a little of both?

Jesus said, “Unless you become like a child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” If I take that to mean that I must have unwavering trust, then I believe that a child is born into this world free of worry, fearless, trusting. They have the ability to smile because they trust someone greater, though they may not understand it.  It is the circumstances and experiences of life that changes us.

When I was thinking about what a happy baby Finn is, it made me wonder why it is so difficult for so many of us to have that same kind of joy. That same happiness.

It’s funny how often you hear “What are you so happy about?” when you’re smiling or laughing or acting silly. Finn smiles. Finn laughs and giggles. Finn acts silly. Finn doesn’t have a care in the world. Because Finn, without knowing it, trusts. But no one asks him, “What are you so happy about?” because you would most likely expect a baby to be naturally happy.

We know the benefit of trust and still we choose to fear, to be skeptical, to worry. Wouldn’t it be great if we learned to trust like Finn, even while knowing there is always going to be something vying for our joy and seeking to bring us down, someone wanting us to take a nap? Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to being little and trusting “like a child”, having an enthusiasm for life?

Enthusiasm comes from the Latin word, enthusiasmus, which comes from the Greek word enthusiasmos, which comes from the word entheos. In Greek, the word theos means “God“. To make a long lecture short, the word enthusiasm generates from the word entheos.

If, then, theos means “God” and en, the first part of the word enthusiasm, means in or within, then like doing math, God plus en equals God in us, God within us – God with us. Sound familiar?

God with us. In Matthew 1:23, we are told that the Christ-child that Mary carries shall be called “Immanuel“, meaning God with us.

God with us brings us hope. Peace. Comfort. Healing. But it takes trust – faith as a little child – to believe it. If you have that faith, then enthusiasm for life – no matter what the circumstances – is yours for the taking.

Want some?

All You Need

 

 Oh soul,
why do you weep?
why do you want,
when everything you need is right here?
right here in front of you – 
always has been,
always will be.
Oh soul,
why do you despair?
why do you fret 
when everything that can calm you is right here?
right here before you – 
always has been,
always will be.
Oh soul,
why do you fear?
why do you anxiously await what may never be,
when peace awaits you – 
right here,
right now.
I, 
the Lord your God –  
I am all you need.
And I am here, 
before you –
now.

Leaving Your Nets Behind

“Come, follow me,” Jesus says, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 

At once Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew leave their nets and follow Him. (Mark 1:17).

At once

They don’t even think about whether it is the right thing to do. They know. His presence demands obedience. Respect. A want and a need to follow.

At once

They don’t hesitate but immediately give each other a quick glance as if to say, “You in?” and seeing the answer on one anothers face, throw down their nets and join Him.

Jesus goes a little farther down the lake. He sees James and his brother John and immediately calls them and they leave their father and his hired men in the boat where they are and follow Jesus.

At once

Without taking their father. Leaving the family business. They, just like Peter and Andrew , throw down their past and follow their future.

They take nothing with them. They never stop to ask questions like, “What will we eat?”, or “What will we wear?”, or “Where will we sleep?”

They just obey. Without reservation and full of trust. Because they just know.

*** 

They didn’t need evidence. 

They didn’t need signs and wonders. 

They just knew.

Are we so bold? So trusting? Are we willing to say “Yes, Lord” when we look up into a starry sky or hear the cry of a newborn baby or smell the fragrance of a rose or hold new life in our hands? Are we quick to say yes to Truth even though we may not fully understand it or know where it’s taking us?

That’s what Jesus asks of us. He’s not asking us to leave our brains at the door. That’s not trust.

Trust is what He’s asking of us. Faith. To trust and just believe what He says – that He is the way, that He is the truth, and that He is the life. Or more personally speaking,

He is our way

He is our truth

and

He is our life.

Just like the disciples, we, too, have a choice we must make… 

Will we lay down our past and trust Him for our future?