Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Dear Father, Cec and his family know that You are in control. Yet it is normal to doubt and have questions in a time of grief. Let Your comfort envelope them as a warm, soft blanket. You know the whys. Help them to trust You with those. You hold the plan for their lives in Your hands. Enable them to leave those plans with You for safekeeping. Surround their hearts with Your peace and lovingkindness as they deal with the loss of this son-in-law, this husband of their daughter, who died in the fire that destroyed Cec and Shirley's home.

Lord, we take comfort that they know You and we know You, so the source of all comfort and peace is available to us 24/7. You are up all night, when we can't sleep. You are there in the morning, when we wake to fresh grief that our sleep hid from our consciousness.

Provide for the needs of the family moment by moment. Be a salve to the wounds of their hearts. Show those of us who are nearby or have the means how to help. Teach all of us how to pray for the Murpheys' specific needs. Get them through this, Lord, as only You can. You, Who came in human form and understand our frailties from both the human and the Divine viewpoint, know what thoughts and needs exist in these circumstances. Bring them to the point where they can once again wake up to a new day with true joy and not feel overwhelming loss, pain, and grief. Give all around them the patience and understanding it will take to allow the family to heal.

We thank You that You see, You know, and You love us in the midst of our lives, and that You live to rescue us.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Isaiah 43:1b-3a, NIV

Saturday, February 24, 2007


I have my professor friend Terri to thank for inspiring me to write poems summarizing the Scriptures I read. A new professor friend, Gail the Poetic Professor, shared with our writing group about turning the sermons she heard into poetry. I've always enjoyed journaling Scripture and prayers, and writing poetry came naturally to me, but I never before thought of combining the two.

For instance, in September when I read First Corinthians 8:1b-3, I jotted this:

Knowledge puffs.
Love builds.
If a man thinks he knows things,
he doesn't--not as he should.
God knows the man who loves Him.

We don't have to pray or study the Word exactly like everyone else or with the same approach day after day. God tells us the Holy Spirit will teach us. All that's required is a heart and mind open to His teaching and willing to forsake wrong thoughts and habits for right ones.

Ask God to refresh your time and your relationship with Him, starting today. Be prepared, because He'll do it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

God May Not Say Why

Worship went on this morning at the Lady Lake Church of God. Though tornadoes leveled much of the building in Florida early Friday morning, Pastor Larry Lynn stood atop the rubble and led his congregation. He invoked them to praise God in the midst of their loss.

When I ponder a scene like this, I react simultaneously with opposing thoughts and emotions. The painful loss associated with a disaster evokes empathy, anger, and tears. The triumph shown by this pastor and his flock lifts my spirits and my faith. The question becomes, when I am the victim, how do I transition from the sad or angry sufferer? How do I become the faithful believer that I long to be, living above my destructive circumstances?

Jesus proclaimed Himself as the Truth, and the Bible proclaims itself as well as Jesus to be the Word of God. We should begin looking for answers in the Book and the Man, because human common sense can’t satisfy our minds.

On the same day, Job lost his livestock, his servants, and his sons and daughters. God then allowed Satan to afflict Job with boils. This man, bereaved and physically marred, received condemnation from his friends. He dared to question why and to curse the day he was born. His wife encouraged him to curse God and accept His punishment. Job silenced her, saying, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10b, NIV)

Sometimes I read this passage, and I want to shout at Job, “Why should we accept trouble? Sure, we learn and grow from it; but isn’t there an easier way? Something less painful?” If I took this passage out of context with the rest of Job’s story, I would think he took it all too meekly. However, after his three friends sat mourning with him for seven days and nights, Job said this:
“Why did I not perish at birth?...For now I would be lying down in peace…" (Job 3:11&13) He shows himself genuinely human after all. This kind of struggle I can relate to--the tension between faith and disbelief; being honest with God, yet trusting Him.

While I’m writing this, the Super Bowl is playing out behind me on TV. A moment of silence remembered the tornado victims. Somewhere in the Lady Lake area a surviving spouse is asking, “Why me, God? Why did I live?” The white-haired man interviewed this morning on CNN could not keep the quaver from his voice when he said, “Lucky? God blessed us, is another way of putting it. Our hearts go out to the ones who didn’t make it.” He didn’t have answers, but he did know God had protected him and his wife.

I’m raising more questions than answers here; but that’s okay. God can handle our questions. He can take it. His grace can overcome and forgive our doubt. His love can soothe our anger and fear. If we truly seek answers to the timeless why’s, He may not tell us the specifics. He may instead give us what we need to cope. Peace. Words of life and love to calm our troubled hearts. - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News