Saturday, February 20, 2010

Put Your Sword Away!

Life is full of surprising joys and unexpected disapointments. It is in those disappointments and painful moments that our faith and trust in God are tested. My greatest disappointment was the loss of my firstborn son. Everything I had planned and prepared for was gone when I had a stillborn delivery at 20 weeks. The rubbing of my tummy, the painting of the nursery, the baby clothes I had collected and the expectation of being called "mommy" by my son, were now daggers to my soul.

When I left the hospital that July of 2000, I felt like an glass vase that had been dropped on a concrete floor. I was broken and shattered. Can I be honest and say that my flesh cried out, "Why God?! Why?" Yet, I knew in my spirit that He was my only hope and verbally spoke to myself out loud, "Who else can I turn to?" The Lord healed my wounded heart, restored my questioning faith and gently reminded me that He was crying with me. I chose not to lash out at God despite the most gut wrenching disappointment of my life.

I was reminded of my experience when I was pondering Peter's response when Jesus was arrested by Judas and the religious leaders. Jesus was not only Peter's Messiah, the Son of God who performed mighty miracles (including allowing Peter to walk on water), but He was probably his best friend. Even though God was bringing an eternal redemption to Jews and Gentiles alike, Peter thought that Jesus would bring an earthly revolution that would restore Israel's kingdom from the Roman empire.

In John 18:9-11(NIV) we see Peter's reaction, "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear...Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" Jesus had even warned Peter a few hours before to "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 NKJV) Peter chose to sleep rather than to pray. So, when the disappointment came, Peter's use of his sword was a result of a fleshly reaction instead of a faith-filled response.

What disappointment are you facing today? Are you reacting or responding? Have you been sleeping or praying? Acting in your natural logic or carnal ways will always lead to a spiritual whooping by the enemy. So, if you have been striking your sword at the circumstance (or a person), I remind you as Jesus reminded me when my flesh wanted to lash out, "I trust you enough to trust me in this circumstance." So, put away your sword and trust Him and His will.

Remember, just like with Jesus. It may look like Friday, but Sunday's coming! God's plans always have an eternal purpose beyond our earthly expectations.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Celebrate Love

Valentine's Day is coming up this week and to be honest, I haven't stopped long enough to think of what I'm going to get my honey. It's not one of those HUGE holidays for us but we do like to celebrate it. We've been married for 13 years and were together for two years prior to that so this will be our 16th Valentine's Day together!

I'm reminded of one particular year (early in our marriage) when I thought my hubby forgot as I didn't receive anything at work all day. I even spoke to him on the phone once or twice and didn't hear a "Happy Valentine's Day" from him either. So, what can I say. I pouted when he picked me up from work. In my mind I was thinking, "He didn't even get me a card!" Of course he noticed my delightful attitude and simply said, "The day's not over yet." Well, we got home and to my surprise there sitting on our dining room table was a smorgasborg of Valetine gifts. He had given me the BIGGEST Valentine's card I think I've ever seen along with a bouquet of flowers, chocolates and a little bear!

So, you can probably guess how I felt. Yep, I was shrinking in yards by the second (and I'm not very tall!). I cried. I apologized. I smiled. My heart went from disapointment to delight in seconds. I wonder, have you ever been disappointed on a Valentine's Day? This truth is sure to bring you delight. Romans 5:5 (NLT) says,

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Whether we have a significant other or not, or receive a bouquet of flowers or not, we are all blessed to share God's love with the people in our lives that we love and love us. So instead of focusing on what we DON'T have, let us focus on what we DO have. Whether it is something extravagant or something simple, CELEBRATE LOVE! We have much be thankful for.