I learned a new word today. Well, new to me. It’s probably been around for a long time. Montivagant. It means “wandering over mountains and hills.”
I’ve often spent seasons of my life as a montivagant seeker –sometimes up and sometimes down.
This life is full of mountains and valleys. Followers of Jesus Christ know he often leads us through unexpected downs on the way to brilliant ups. The beauty of this journey is not just the prize at the end. It’s realizing Who walks with us.
God is good, all the time, no matter what.
Hard times may well be the plight of the righteous— they may often seem overwhelmed— but the Eternal rescues the righteous from what oppresses them.
“And you, because of my blood covenant with you, I’ll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells. Come home, hope-filled prisoners! This very day I’m declaring a double bonus— everything you lost returned twice-over!”
If I let them my anxious thoughts will spin out of control so fast they become a blur like a ride at the West Edmonton Mall. So many conflicting what-ifs cry out for attention it’s like standing at that point of ultimate cacophony where the music of multiple amusements collide -and then a roller coaster thunders overhead. Some people enjoy that kind of atmosphere. I guess I’ve become a country girl.
I need to remind myself, when anxious thoughts begin to multiply, that I can stop and choose to think differently.
I tell myself, “Self? Self! Don’t be hard-hearted, remember and give thanks for all the grace that has brought us safe this far.”
And there has been so much grace! That’s why I chose Charis as a pen name. It is Greek for grace.
The great thing about impossible situations is that we know that we have no way to wriggle out of the problem ourselves, so when the Lord answers with power and provision and peace beyond anything we could muster, we cannot take credit. To God alone be glory.
God is creative and not reactive and none of the things that grab us and try to shake the peace out of us cause him the least concern. He IS peace. And he promises his peace to those who will take refuge in him.
And since that peace comes in the middle of crazy circumstances and not necessarily in relief from them, we may even learn to enjoy the ride.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Southern Alberta is under water! 100 000 Calgarians displaced, High River is completely evacuated, and Canmore is being washed off the mountain! At work we are participating in a one year program with Alberta Health Services called In Roads which looks at addiction. This week we looked at resiliency which seems timely as Alberta has become, as in all disasters, a case study of this. The way people pull together is amazing and fascinating to watch. Two people who can’t stand each other now stand side by side to protect and save others. In this dark and broken world there are glimpses of light.
In times like this people tend to post prayers for the disaster to stop or that prayer is a useless waste of time. Prayer is more than a petition for what we want, and it is more than something meaningless. Yes, we must pray for…
In the dream I was walking through a parting of the earth like the parting of the sea. It looked like the Hollywood telling of the story of the crossing of the sea, with Charlton Heston presenting a younger and more confident Moses than the hesitant, speech-impaired fellow the Bible describes. In my dream the walls on either side of the path were not made of water but of flying rocks and dirt blown about by some amazing force.
I heard, “Don’t look around. Keep you eyes on the path. Keep going.”
“What’s happening?” I asked.
I heard, “I’m moving heaven and earth for you.”
These past few months have felt like we are walking a narrow path with crises flinging boulders and sandstorms all around our heads. It’s so easy to be distracted by circumstances that could make us panic. I have found that God usually does not answer “why” -especially as that question often comes with a whine that demands He explain Himself. He does answer “what” though, as in “What do you want me to see? What are you trying to show me about Yourself that I haven’t known before?”
He is showing me levels of love and faithfulness deeper than I had imagined.
So today as we walk through another crisis in our family and see aerial photos of our son and daughter-in-love and grandchildrens’ home and workplace and school and entire community under water, and we are cut off from each other because of broken infrastructure in this part of the world, we praise the God who is faithful, who walks through every trial with us, the loving Father who is moving heaven and earth to get His church to the place where he wants us to be. We are learning to trust Him no matter what, to walk by faith and not by sight, and to rest in his love whether waiting for waters to go down or shovelling mud –because he is still good.
This song by Jenn Johnson has meant so much to me lately. It reminds me not to look to the left or to the right, but to keep my eyes and ears focused on my Saviour, my good Shepherd who says, “This is the way.”
Keep your eyes on the path. This is going to be good.
The waters have risen, O Eternal One; the sound of pounding waves is deafening. The waters have roared with power. More powerful than the thunder of mighty rivers, more powerful than the mighty waves in the ocean is the Eternal on high!
Your teachings are true; Your decrees sure. Sacredness adorns Your house, O Eternal One, forevermore.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
The day started yesterday with a call for help from a friend with a flooded basement. It ended with a call from my son who let me know he and his family had escaped from High River, Alberta, which is now under water, and finally making contact with my brother who is trapped in his home near the edge of the raging Cougar Creek in Canmore, Alberta. His wife and our elderly father are on the other side of the washed out TransCanada Highway.
Our daughter also called. She and her family are caught on the other side of washed-out roads and are not sure how to get home.
I am in Alberta visiting another son and family, watching news reports of submerged towns and washed-out highways, and realizing my husband is on the other side of the Continental divide -and a lot of missing asphalt. I have no idea how or when I can get home.
We live in a land-locked place at high elevation, one of the least-likely places in the world to flood, or so you would think.
But the rains came down.
We are thankful that so far we know of no loss of life, although one person is missing from my son’s neighbourhood and we pray for her. The loss of property and damage is tremendous though. Some of that property, like the property in Canmore, was very expensive. My brother was musing about a property’s value if that property has been mostly swept away, as some of the lots on his street have been.
Can we ever really say we own anything?
That’s the thought I am left with this morning. How much of our time and energy and focus is spent on things which can be swept away?
Sometimes I think that God, in His mercy, shakes us up so we will not settle on foundations that can be swept away. In the light of eternity how trivial wood and plaster and paint on a patch of grass seem.
The message I hear in my heart today is: Don’t settle. There is a much firmer foundation available to you.
So as the children’s song says,”So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ and the blessings will come down.”
So stand strong for our freedom! The Anointed One freed us so we wouldn’t spend one more day under the yoke of slavery, trapped under the law…
We, on the other hand, continue to live through the Spirit’s power and wait confidently in the hope that things will be put right through faith. Here’s the thing: in Jesus the Anointed whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference. What makes a difference is faith energized by love. (Galatians 5: 1, 5,6 The Voice)