Saturday, April 27, 2013

Worth it

The teenager who battles depression and pushes everyone away and needs someone to love her.
The young man who is homeless, orphaned, and needs a place to stay.
The elderly woman whose life is coming to a close and needs to share.
The committed Christian mother whose family is wayward, sick, and broken.
The drug addict who never recovered from a trip 30 years ago.

I know these people.  I have been placed in each of their lives at one point or another, and I have done my best.  I have prayed for them and fasted for them.  I have listened to them, cooked for them, shared God's love with them to the fullest extent that I could.  But in the end I feel like I failed all of them.  The teenager is still depressed, the young man is still a mess, the elderly woman died without me making it to her bedside before her passing, the mother's family is still wayward and sick, the drug addict is still wandering aimlessly.  And when that happens over and over and over again, it becomes difficult to still believe.
I remember a time when I believed - really expected - that God changed lives.  I remember praying that a person would be healed, being fully convinced that it would happen.  It is still relatively easy for me to believe that God would physically heal a person's body.  When it comes to a person's life, though, "realism" reaches out to suck me in.

"Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.  Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, 'Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.'  And instantly the woman was made well."  Mt 9:20-22

These people need someone to believe that Jesus can heal them, that they can be better, that it is worth it to fight for them, that there is something that can be done for their situations.  I know I certainly need people to believe this about me!  Because I am the woman in Mt 9:20-22 who needs to be healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment.  My hardening heart that wants to protect itself, that wants to turn in upon its own well-being - this needs to be healed.  My self-centered faithlessness truly worthy of being cast aside - this needs to be healed.  And over and over and over again, Jesus heals me.  Over and over again Jesus believes in me, fights for me, sends me relief, holds my hand, gives enough grace to make it, draws me to himself, smiles upon me with radiant beams of love that tells me that to him I am worth it. 

And so I have to keep fighting for these people and the countless others like them, loving them, praying for them, giving them what God has given me to give, trusting the rest to him, because whether or not "it is worth it," they are worth it.  And I really, really want them to know that.

And so are you.  I hope you know, whoever you are, that you are worth fighting for, that the cross says that plainly.


Saturday, March 16, 2013


One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked the earth's highways, grieving,
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
"Lift your empty hands to me!"

So I held my hands toward Heaven,
And he filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my mind stupid and dull,
That God could not pour His riches
Into hands already full.

- Treasures by Martha Snell Nicholson

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Grandmother Says...
Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; "Which are you?"

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. "What's the point,grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?"