When I don’t understand…

(John 9:1-3, NLT)   As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

Too often, we want to blame sickness, trials, and hardships on sin.  We see these things as curses…as punishment for sin.  Maybe sometimes our hardships are the results of poor decisions.  We absolutely do bring about negative consequences in our lives because of sin, but we also need to learn to trust God in those times when we sincerely wonder why “bad” things happen to “good” people.

We’ve all wondered it.  We’ve all seen children suffering from different types of cancer.  Many of us have witnessed a loved one become stricken with dementia, and have had to watch the disease slowly dissipate that person whom we love so much.  It is hard to understand.  Yet I can’t help but go back to this account of Jesus and the blind man, because I think it perfectly explains why we sometimes have to endure things that seem unfair.  This man was born blind.  He hadn’t yet had the opportunity to make choices between right and wrong, so it wasn’t some sort of consequence.  He came into life stricken with disability, and I’m sure he often wondered why himself.  Yet in his wondering, God had a purpose that was mapped out from the very start.

You see, everything that happens to us has the possibility to become a victory in our lives and therefore an addition to the great testimony of God’s power and providence in all things.

And what happened to this man who had been without sight all of his life?

10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”

11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”  (John 9: 10-11, NLT)

Healing and miracles come with responsibility, because we then have to transfer that joy and victory to the rest of the world.  That’s the reason for great victories!  Sometimes we are afflicted because we are destined to share something miraculous with others…so that they will believe…so that God gets glorified not only with our words but with our lives!

So when you question “why” remember the blind man.  Remember that our pain has a purpose.  We may not know what it is right now, but we can trust that God is always working for the good of those who love and honor Him.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for every aspect of my life…both the good and the bad.  I love You, and I praise You in all circumstances.  When I don’t understand, I still choose to love and honor You.  I trust You.  Amen.

God’s Not a Chicken, Is He?

(Psalm 91:4) He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

My husband’s grandfather is in love with chickens.  He took up the hobby of raising them in his yard over the last decade or so, and became lovingly dubbed (by my son) “Papaw Chicken.”  Chickens have been such a big part of this man’s life that my then 3-year-old directly associated them with Grandpa Hank.  Thus, the nickname.  Over the course of our many visits to his home over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to watch, chase, pet, and feed hens, roosters, and baby chicks.  I have to say, I think I fell in love with these silly birds myself.  What truly won me over was watching the hens with their chicks.  A mother hen is faithful.  She shields her offspring from would-be predators with her feathers, and it’s truly an amazing and endearing sight to behold! Have you ever seen a hen sitting still on the ground only to get up to reveal a dozen little chicks sheltered under her feathers?  The first time I saw this I was truly surprised to see them all under there, so snug and hidden so well.  And as that mother hen begins to move around the chicken yard, the babies move with her, safely scooped back into the refuge of her feathers by her gentle yet firm wing when they straggle behind.

Sometimes we are the straggling chicks, aren’t we?  Because we are growing and maturing, there are times when we fall short and we have to be redirected, but our Father God is a faithful mother hen to us.  His wings are all-encompassing, and we are never left behind.  And His gentle hand draws us near to Him again. 

Growing up is not easy…

I can recall several instances in my life (in both childhood and my adult life) of being so fed up with making mistakes, learning from them, making more mistakes, and learning from those…just the endless pattern…it can be so frustrating!  As a child, on bad days, I remember getting as close as I possibly could to my mother…needing her shelter and comfort to see me through.  And as an adult, I’ve found that even though I still need my mother at times, on those rough days when I don’t have much faith in myself, I lean into Him, my heavenly Father, and I can’t seem to get quite close enough.  Why?  Because His faithfulness is my rampart, my shield, my defense.  When I’m not enough he sustains me.  When I’m weak, he strengthens me.  All I have to do is look back on my life and I see His hand in every blessing, in every trial, and in every victory.

(Lamentations 3:22-23) 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Just like those little chicks, shielded and safe from harm, we are held…

Prayer:  Father God, your love exceeds far beyond what I can comprehend, but I see the evidence of your faithfulness in my life.  Thank you for the shelter of your “mother hen” wings.  Amen.

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