In the Day of Trouble

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In his shelter in the day of trouble,

That’s where you’ll find me,

For he hides me there in his holiness.

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He has smuggled me into his secret place

Where I’m kept safe and secure–

Out of reach from all my enemies.

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Triumphant now I’ll bring him my offerings of praise,

Singing and shouting with ecstatic joy!

(Psalm 27: 5,6  The Passion Translation)

Sometimes we can see the answers to our prayers in the secret place with God before we see the answers show up in the place where everyone else can see them. Faith means having the freedom to praise God for evidence conceived in hope but not yet birthed.

It’s Time

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The older I get the faster it seems the seasons change. Perhaps this is what is meant by acceleration. Time doesn’t slow down as you age. It speeds up.

Didn’t I just put those Christmas decorations in storage?
What do you mean the stove is ten years old? That’s our new stove.
My baby granddaughter has a learner’s driving license? How did that happen?

So many hours have slipped by in the dailiness of life. For years on end tedious routines filled in the moments that gave us freedom to make changes. I thought I would never finish school and be out on my own.

Then I was responsible for paying my own bills and making my own decisions.

I thought the diaper-changing, toddler-chasing years were my whole world.

And then they weren’t.

I thought I would never see the end of practically living in the car, driving the kids to school and games and music lessons and church functions.

And then they got in their own cars and drove away.

I thought I would never hear the end of students singing scales as they stood beside my piano.

Now my studio piano is silent as my computer keyboard clacks away.

I thought our parents would always be around to talk to, even if they needed more help.

Now there is only one left and communication is difficult.

It’s snowing today, and even though it feels as though it has arrived too soon it is late November. It’s time for the valley to turn white. The season changes once again. At a time of life when one expects to feel more settled changes seem to happen more rapidly than ever. It’s strange, this sense of time thing.

While it seems the only consistent thing in life is change, yet I am more aware that the most consistent thing in life is the love of God, which never changes.

The words of a song came to mind this morning.

In every season, in every change
You are near
In every sorrow,
You are my strength
You are near

A peace in the storm
Your voice I will follow
In weakness I rise
Remembering You hold my world

I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go
I’m surrendered to Your ways
The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change
I love You, I love You

(From Anchor by Kari Jobe, Brian Johnson and Cody Carnes)

Anyway, the snow reminds me that it’s time to quit procrastinating. It’s a new season. I have a new assignment. I mourn the loss of colour and the ease of walking in the forest, but winter is a time when writers and artists are less distracted and can get down to work.

It’s time.

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Look

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But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.

For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love.

(Psalm 5:11,12 NLT)

When I looked out my window I saw a dull gloomy day. Landscape photographers are dependent on the weather. Fog and rain can make interesting lighting conditions but in the autumn when the trees are in colour I wanted bright light. I didn’t feel like it, I decided to go anyway. Once I was on the road I saw a small patch of blue in the sky to the north.

I simply followed the light and  came to the end of the road at a small lake at the foot of a mountain. I parked and waited, enjoying God’s presence and soaked in the warm breeze and the song of the birds.

Then the sun broke through.

Sometimes it takes some effort to follow the light and look for the positive and beautiful around us. I’m not ignoring alarming stories of fear and evil. I care very much. But when I stay in the gloom too long my eyes become dim. I stop looking to the horizon for hope and begin to add my own sad you-think-that’s-bad stories.

It’s not so much a matter of avoiding negativity as actively pursuing the positive – things for which we are thankful.

John, who recorded his experiences in the book of Revelation, began by saying he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day when he looked. And then he looked, and then he looked some more. Seeing things from God’s perspective requires active participation on our part.

For me on that day, hope started by getting out of the driveway, looking to the sky, and heading toward the light.

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The Deep and Secret Things

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“If when I am able to discover something which has baffled others, I forget Him who revealeth the deep and secret things, and knoweth what is in the darkness and showeth it to us; if I forget that it was He who granted that ray of light to His most unworthy servant, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

– Amy Carmichael

I once had a dream in which I saw how the selfish actions of one group of people loosed nasty consequences on other people like a multi-car pile-up. With a little research I found out the facts were in the public record, but most people were not aware of the evil that had been kept out of the light for years. I was shocked and upset by the dream and told a friend experienced in dream interpretation.

“The dream is not difficult to interpret,” she said. “The question is, why is God choosing to show it to you, and why now.” She smiled a knowing smile. “Ask Him.”

He was showing me the roots of a problem and giving me compassion for those whose actions I had trouble understanding. But what could I possibly do about it? As we chatted, the Lord and me, I realized it is not my responsibility to change people and situations. It is his, but he wants us to partner with him.

So often I feel like the child with a little lunch that Jesus used to feed thousands. My efforts are tiny in the face of an impossible task. All I can do is pray.

You know, sometimes, when we feel powerless, we say, “Well, all we can do is pray,” and sigh heavily as if it probably won’t do much good. But God is showing me prayer is not meant to be a last ditch effort. Prayer is a first response effort. Prayer is a means of coming into alignment with what God is doing.

When I asked him how to pray about a current situation where he is beginning to shine his light on hidden evil I heard, “Give me a powerful yes.

My yes is powerful? How does that work?

Like a lunch of buns and fish.

I don’t know if we will ever know in this lifetime how often the darkness has been overcome by simple folk giving God their powerful yes in prayer, but I think we will be surprised.

Jesus takes what we offer and then multiplies. Our powerful little yes becomes his immeasurably mighty yes. He brings light to the deep and secret things and his purpose is to save, heal and release the captives.

Yes, Lord. Yes!

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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