I don’t work there anymore

vacant

Long ago and far away I worked in a really crazy office. The two women who ran the department were nuts -and I say that in the nicest possible way. They actually threw books at each other. Since my desk was between theirs I learned to duck when “Olga” began her wind-up.  She had a good arm but her pitches were often low. Olga qualified as a United Nations translator, but when people she didn’t like required her services, she suddenly developed a thick accent and twenty word English vocabulary. She would hand me the phone and I got to pass the messages on. Yet Olga had power. She had been there forever, knew the dirt on everyone and wasn’t afraid to drag it up. She even made the company president cower.

“Lulu” was Olga’s assistant. She had the worst bouts of PMS I have ever witnessed. Most of the time she was sweet as the dickens because she was trying to get me on her side, but on those days she would barrel into the office like a category three, tossing books and papers in the air, crying and ranting about how she couldn’t possibly deal with the demands put on her, then storm out, leaving me to re-organize the disaster before Olga saw it.

I was their office clerk. This was one of my first jobs, and I needed it. I didn’t want to be a complainer. I wanted a good recommendation when I moved on –hopefully sooner rather than later. Finally someone who worked upstairs walked in during a screaming match between my two supervisors, felt compassion for me, and arranged for me to be “loaned” to another office.

Shortly after I moved to another department, Olga showed up in front of my desk, dropped a pile of work on it,  glowered at me and said in her usual abrupt manner, “You do this today,” then stomped out.

What can I say? Olga scared me. I still wasn’t clear on who I worked for, so I stayed late to do it on top of my other work -with tears in my eyes.

The next day my new boss said, “Don’t listen to her. You have been officially transferred. She is not your boss –in fact, you no longer have clearance to do that work. You are not qualified to listen to her. You don’t work there anymore -and I will deal with Olga myself.” She grabbed the pile of work and took it out of the room. That was the last I saw of it.

Often when I am stressed and over-tired, I forget that I have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Sometimes I forget that I don’t need to listen to the old boss.  I don’t need to do their work for them by being negative or critical. In fact the Bible says I am not qualified to listen to that old voice.

I thought of Olga and Lulu today when I read this passage.

“I, I am he who comforts you;
who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass,
 and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
and you fear continually all the day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
when he sets himself to destroy?
And where is the wrath of the oppressor?

He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
    he shall not die and go down to the pit,
    neither shall his bread be lacking. (Isaiah 51:12-14)

I needed the Lord to remind me today that when the voices of doom and gloom and dismal forebodings plunk their pile of time-sucking requirements in front of me, that I don’t have to listen to them. In fact, God says, “Who are you that you are afraid? You’re not qualified to be afraid.”

I am not qualified to listen to those voices. I don’t work there anymore.

I have a new boss, and He is good.

Nothing is impossible for You

For the past two weeks my four-year old granddaughter has asked for the same song, “Strings” by Misty Edwards to be played over and over again. Today as I took all three little ones to a friend’s so I could rush to the hospital after learning her daddy’s condition had deteriorated, I asked if she wanted to hear “Strings”. I thought it might calm my soul as well.

She said, “No. Play the next song.”

It was, “I believe that you’re my healer.”

“That’s the one!” she said.

I didn’t tell her what was happening with Daddy, but she sang so sweetly and innocently and confidently in the back seat:
Nothing is impossible for you
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for you...

Daddy was so unstable this morning they didn’t dare move him across the hallway into the O.R., but rather did further surgery on him in the ICU.

He lives.

We cling to hope.

Love is Louder

Fearless
Fearless

When they received bad news from the fertility specialist my son-in-law (I’ll call John, as in John the Beloved) said to his young wife, “You know, the bigger the problem the bigger the miracle God can perform -and you know He can’t resist a good miracle.” They now have three beautiful little miracles to love and cherish.

This week we petition the Lord for another miracle -that these precious children would be raised by their healthy daddy.

When we arrived for our granddaughter’s fourth birthday he was already feeling very sick with what he thought was the flu and a pulled hamstring. Twenty four hours later surgeons were desperately trying to remove “brown gunk” from necrotizing fasciitis -flesh eating disease. They left an open incision from his knee to his waist and he has been on life support since Sunday morning after his blood pressure crashed.

But the most amazing things have happened as we trust God moment by moment.

When he heard the news shortly before the main morning service started, John’s pastor walked away from the pulpit of a large church to be at the side of his friend and a family in need. He has stayed with him in ICU, with several of John’s friends all night, every night since. The waiting room is filled with friends and people walk the halls nearly twenty-four hours a day praying for our beloved John. When the doctor’s reports grew more pessimistic they prayed harder.

Requests for prayer went out over social media and we are hearing from literally thousands of people around the world that their church, or home group, or school, or personal network is praying for this young family. We have never felt so loved.

God is doing something highly unusual here. As people come to pray they are themselves being touched by the love of God, repenting (choosing to change their thinking) and encountering a love and peace that does not make sense under the circumstance. People are being healed of deep wounds. Relationships are being restored, and more and more people are following the story on the media.

I’m mostly at home caring for the children with their other grandmother, while our daughter is at the hospital 20 hours a day. I went with her one night and was totally surprised by the atmosphere of peace in John’s room and the shouts of joy in the hall as the team prayed for the numbers on his monitors to change -and they did.

On Monday our little two-year old grandson was chattering to his distracted mommy who came home long enough to cuddle them herself, before returning to the hospital. Suddenly he changed the subject and said, “We don’t have to be afraid because Jesus is with us. Jesus is with us. Mommy, we don’t have to be afraid because Jesus is with us.”

Today she and I took the children for a walk, to take a breather. I had my camera with me (It’s a habit.) The little guy ran ahead and squatted down to trace “alphabets” that someone had written on the pavement. When I got closer I could see that it said “BE FEARLESS.”

The words on the other end of the bridge said, “LOVE IS LOUDER.”

I have no idea who wrote those words, but they felt like a gift from God.

The reports up until today have been quite negative. But God…

The love of God shining through people we have never met, through friends, through family who have travelled to be with John even though he is unconscious, have shouted down those dismal reports. Today we see improvement. Today the doctor said he was dying, but now he will live.

There is something more going on here than our limited human vision can see. John is a man who is willing to lay down his life for the Jesus he loves –and the people God loves. The love surrounding him is palpable. Some people are seeing angels in the room  as they pray for him. He is the kind of man whose whole life is a message about God’s love and goodness. I know that if the Lord asked him to give his life to save the church, he would do it.

God is up to something. When his Holy Spirit surrounds his church His holiness reveals weaknesses where we have relied on the flesh and where it has become corrupt. He shows us how parts of the body of Christ have been without blood supply or functioning in the way God intended and other parts are not communicating with each other. Impurities that have failed to be removed by non-discerning “kidneys” can all be healed in the light of Jesus’ relentless love. He tells us we are in a war for unity and purity and love in the body of Christ and we have not been taking this fight nearly seriously enough. It takes a willingness to turn, to change, to seek the Lord. Without serious day and night prayer the church in this part of the world will succumb to hidden decay. We need God’s light and his love that shines and burns like a laser.

Love is louder!

Love is Louder
Love is Louder

“John” is very much loved by many, many people. If you would like to pray with us for him we are asking right now for his blood pressure to rise on it’s own so he can get off the medications that restrict circulation to his feet, for restoration and preservation of his toes, for an increased platelet count, for his kidneys to start to function and for rapid healing of a massive open wound.

But more than that we want to give thanks to a God who is good, who tells us in writing on the sidewalk that we don’t have to be afraid and who tells us that love is louder than fear.