Sunday, January 31, 2016

Crossing Cultures

Crossing cultures has been forefront in my mind recently. A friend I met through the Velvet Ashes community started a blog this month to encourage Christians to cross cultures with their hospitality. She asked if she could interview me about my family's experiences over the past 4 ½ years of relating with Chinese Muslims in central western China. These are the two parts of the interview: Showing Hospitality to Chinese Muslims and Receiving Hospitality from Chinese Muslims.

This week I also started reading Charly's favorite recent book, Why Jesus Crossed the Road by Bruce Main. I'm only about halfway through, but would already call it one of my favorites as well. Very challenging!

This passage from the book especially struck me:

“Jesus crossed borders and challenged barriers. I can think of no better example than his encounter with the Samaritan woman in John's Gospel. In this one encounter Jesus crossed at least three roads that were considered taboo for an orthodox Jewish holy man. But part of Jesus' mission was to challenge social barriers that created hatred and mistrust among people.

Now (Jesus) had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) (John 4:4-9)

Samaritans were a mixed race, the result of generations of mixed marriages. In a culture that equated purity of race with a form of godliness, it is no wonder that the religious leadership in the Jewish community was intent on keeping those groups separate.

When the woman asked Jesus, “How can you ask me for a drink?” it was the perfect segue for Jesus to talk about living water. Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water” (4:15).

The unnamed woman was able to abandon her skepticism (4:11-12) and experience inclusion through Jesus' dismantling of ethnic, religious, and gender barriers. She desired the promise that Jesus offered.

I especially like the ending of this story. Other Samaritans in the village came to believe in God “because of the word of the woman who testified” (4:39). “The one whom they had marginalized was now the one through whom they believe.” In addition, the Samaritans pressed Jesus “to stay with them” (4:40). Jesus, a Jewish traveler crossing through Samaria to Galilee, ended up in the welcoming arms of antagonists. Skepticism had given way to Christian hospitality, on behalf of the Samaritans, in the deepest sense. Jesus ended up staying a few days. He accepted their offer, “and because of his words many more became believers” (4:41).

Bruce Main concludes this section by saying, “I am glad Jesus lived with his feet on the ground and allowed his feet to take him places where others would not go.”

This passage in John 4 has become even more significant to me since I realized that it took place on the plot of land that Jacob had given to Joseph. A precious piece of the Promised Land that generations of Israelites longed for. Home. And Jesus chose to reveal Himself here as the long-awaited-for Messiah. To first reveal His true identity, to an outcast of a woman. A foreigner. An enemy. 

And through this marginalized woman's encounter with Living Water, the people of her village eagerly extended hospitality to Jesus, and came to know Him personally. Jesus crossed cultures. And broke down barriers. So that God's blessing could extend to all nations. His promise through Abraham.

Bruce Main writes about hearing this Prayer of Confession at Magnolia Presbyterian Church:

Loving God, we admit to attitudes that exclude rather than embrace. We prefer to associate with others who think and act as we do. We turn away from those who are different from us. We identify some as enemies to be avoided or even destroyed. Forgive us, God, for seeking to limit your family. Awaken us to the limits of our understanding and the narrowness of our dealings; show us the better ways you intend and make us bold to respond, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.”

He goes on to say, “Prayers of confession do not lead to change. They are simply words that make us feel good because it is 'Christian' to make those kind of statements and think those thoughts. Only when we venture out of our sacred cocoons and build relationships of difference will our prayers of confession come to life.”

What roads have you or can you cross to extend God's blessing?

(Linking up with Velvet Ashes this week on the theme of "Metaphor.")

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Longing for Home

God brought a trusting man named Abram from Ur to a place He would call the Promised Land.

He said, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

Abram asked God how he could know that he would gain possession of it, so God cut a covenant with him and said, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:13-16)

God revealed to Abraham that His plan for his descendants would include suffering in a land not their own. They would be mistreated strangers who would not take possession of the Promised Land right away. But the fulfillment would come. And Abraham believed that God would do what He promised.

After Abraham showed the Lord that he would hold nothing back from Him, not even Isaac, the promised son God had blessed him with after many long years of waiting, God declared, “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:17-18)

God's promise to Abraham included blessing all the nations through his offspring.

When Sarah died, Abraham went to the Hittites. “I am an alien and a stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site so I can bury my dead.” (Genesis 23:4)

This purchased cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (Hebron) would become the burial site for Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob (Genesis 49:31, 50:13). A resting place for the patriarchs and their wives who believed that this Promised Land would one day become the home of their people. A people God intended to bless in order for all the nations on earth to be blessed.

Abraham's servant found a wife for Isaac in Haran: Rebekah who was willing to leave her home and travel to the Land of Promise. Her father and brother blessed her saying, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” (Genesis 24:60)

And while Rebekah struggled with barrenness as her mother-in-law Sarah had before her, she did eventually give birth to twin boys. Isaac spoke God's promise to Jacob before he traveled to Haran both to escape from Esau and to find a wife: “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham.” (Genesis 28:3-4)

Then God Himself promised to bring Jacob back to the Promised Land. “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)

Jacob's 11th son Joseph, who through God's sovereign plan went ahead of his family to Egypt and saved them from the devastating 7 year famine, secured a sheltered place for them in the land of Goshen. God assured Jacob in his old age as he traveled to Egypt with his 66 family members, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you and I will surely bring you back again.” (Genesis 46:3-4)

In Goshen, the Israelites remained separated from the Egyptians and their numbers increased greatly.
When Joseph was 110, he told his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear a oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” (Genesis 50:24-25)

Did the generations after Joseph and his brothers continue to believe that they would one day return? After they were made slaves and mistreated by a Pharaoh who feared that they were becoming too powerful. Did they hold on to hope that one day God would deliver them and allow them to return to the Promised Land?

Even if it appeared that way, God had not forgotten them. He was faithful to rescue them from their misery, according to his prophecy to Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years.

At that time, God spoke to the fearful man he had chosen named Moses: “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittities, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.'” (Exodus 3:16-17)

God's mighty hand brought them out of Egypt and “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath.” (Exodus 13:19)

Because of the Israelites' disbelief that God could conquer the Canaanites in the Promised Land, they had to wander in the desert for forty years. After Moses' death, Joshua led the next generation into the land, where they conquered and divided. “And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver (Genesis 33:19) from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendents.” (Joshua 24:32)


By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God...They admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16) 

Longing for home.
Strangers, aliens, foreigners, refugees.

Linking up with Velvet Ashes this week on the theme of "Home."
(Great posts there--I'd encourage you to check them out)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Live Our Truth

Joseph grew up sheltered, valued, and favored by his father Jacob. But his life forever changed when his brothers decided they had had enough of his superiority. They stripped him of his coveted coat and threw him into an empty pit. They contemplated ending his life right then and there, but decided instead to sell him to some traveling merchants. He then became a slave in the far away land of Egypt, and because of living a life of integrity was thrown into prison. And forgotten there.

Or so it seemed.

“When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the ice bergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.” (Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace)

“When we decide to own our stories and live our truth, we bring our light to the darkness.” (Brene Brown, Rising Strong)

I wonder what those 13 years in the middle of Joseph's story were like. And I wonder when and how he came to “own his story.”

I love this song and scene "You Know Better Than I" in the movie Joseph King of Dreams:

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness.” (Genesis 39:20-21)

I wonder what Joseph must have felt when he had risen to a place of power, after interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, and his brothers arrived on the scene desperate for food.

What was the testing of his brothers all about anyway? Requiring that one of the brothers remain in Egypt until they returned with their youngest brother? Returning their silver payment in their sacks of grain? And when they returned with Benjamin, planting his silver cup in Benjamin's sack?

I've read some different interpretations, but it's not clear to me if Joseph had forgiven them beforehand or if this “testing” was part of his forgiving process. Was the purpose to help bring his brothers to a place of regret and repentance?

After Joseph broke down and revealed his identity, he embraced and reassured his brothers, who were overcome with fear.

Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you...God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:5,7-8)

Joseph had eyes to see the Grace of God in his brothers' betrayal, in his years of slavery and imprisonment, in his experiences that could easily be described as acts of injustice. Joseph chose to see God's gracious hand of Sovereignty instead of growing bitter with resentment. He experienced and then extended forgiveness, to those who knew they didn't deserve it.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

"Hurt people hurt. Forgiven people learn to forgive people. (This quote is from Steve Saint in an inspiring, beautiful story of forgiveness) "60 Years Later with Steve Saint:"

“There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt, are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they're inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they're choosing to live disappointed.” (Brene Brown, Rising Strong)

What do I do with my hurt, pain, and disappointment?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In the Land of Football

Last summer we moved to Colorado. To Denver Broncos land. My husband is a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan though, and has always cheered for whoever is playing against the Broncos. Probably everyone else in this state was thrilled by the outcome of the Broncos' comeback and victory over the Steelers yesterday, but Charly was greatly disappointed (and David too).

Last summer, a few weeks after we moved here, Jordan and I took David and Daniel to the park to play frisbee. A little league football team was practicing in the adjacent field and many parents were milling around. I could feel a buzz of excitement in the air as the coach handed out the playbooks.

In the midst of our frisbee throwing, the frisbee unfortunately ended up on top of the baseball dug out. It was starting to get dark. We tried various unsuccessful methods to get the frisbee down. As a boy passed by us on his skateboard, he asked us what we were doing with such a big pole. I told him about the frisbee up there.

Then an idea came to me. That boy could be our solution. He was just the right size. “Do you think you could help us?” “Sure,” he responded and hopped off his skateboard.

Jordan and I each took a leg and hoisted him up to the top of the dug out. He climbed onto the roof, walked out to get the frisbee and tossed it down to us. A true hero.

Just then his Dad walked up, with the treasured playbook in hand. “What are you doing up there?” He did not sound happy.

Oops. I wanted to let this Dad know what a helpful son he had raised. “I asked him to help us get our frisbee down.” This bit of news did not change the Dad's demeanor at all. “How are you going to get down from there?” he challenged his son.

I hadn't thought about that part.

Fortunately the Dad was a tall and muscular guy. “Maybe you could help him down?” I suggested. The chance of injury would be greatly reduced with his Dad supporting him than with Jordan and me. His Dad reluctantly stepped up to the plate and got his son down.

Thanks so much! You all have a great evening!” I tried to be cheery, but my voice was drowned out by his Dad's. “Did you get your helmet?” “You mean my football helmet?” the boy asked. And I knew without a doubt that this boy was not nearly as into football as his Dad was.

We're living in the land of football. And it's pretty serious. People yell at the TV (I have witnessed this first hand) and get upset with the players. There is an incredible amount of pressure on the quarterback. If he's having an off day, the criticism he receives is huge. He carries the whole team's loss on his weary shoulders. I know for sure I would never want to be in that role. 

I think the worst feeling as a quarterback must be to get sacked. To be holding the ball, desperately scanning the field to see who's open, and to get hit from out of nowhere and taken to the ground. Ouch. Those guys have to be physically tough, mentally sharp, and emotionally strong to get back up and keep going.

I've been reading Brene Brown's Rising Strong, and I love her insights about rising again after falling. “The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.”

Her research on vulnerability and daring gave birth to three truths for her:
  1. I want to be in the arena.
  2. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.
  3. A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor.

    Here is a great talk she gave on "Why Your Critics Aren't the Ones that Count." 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

When a Scene is Missing

There's nothing like missing an important scene from a movie. During Christmas vacation, one of our big group activities was to see the new Star Wars movie at the theater. We knew that it would be too intense for Daniel, and my Mom and I weren't really into seeing Star Wars anyway, so the three of us, along with my niece Anna, opted for the lighter film “The Good Dinosaur.”

At some point in the movie I dozed off. When I came to, I realized that the Good Dinosaur's father had died. How did that happen? I didn't want to whisper during the show, so I waited until after the movie was over to learn about the details I had missed. It turned out that my Mom and Anna had fallen asleep during the same scene! And Daniel didn't remember what happened. So we still don't know.

Today, as I was reading about Jacob's hasty departure from Haran, his father-in-law chasing him down, his wrestling with the Angel of God, and then his dreaded meeting with Esau, I thought about an important scene that's missing from the Bible.

What happened in Esau's life during those years that Jacob was building his family and greatly increasing his flocks? A pretty incredible transformation must have taken place, because the meeting of the two brothers is one of my favorite scenes in the Bible. But in God's sovereignty, this "missing scene" of Esau's life was not recorded. So Esau is at the top of my list of people I'd like to see in heaven as I want to know his story...

When we last saw Esau he had arrived on the scene moments too late. His younger brother, full of deceit and following a plan designed by their mother, had tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing that should have gone to Esau. And he pitifully begged of his father, “Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?” (Genesis 27:36) Then we saw the darkness develop in Esau's heart as he plotted to kill Jacob as soon as their father died (v. 41). Jacob caught word from their mother though and fled to her brother Laban's home in Haran, to wait until Esau's fury had subsided, and followed his father's advice to choose a wife from Laban's daughters (he ended up with two of them).

Fast forward to Jacob's return home 20 years later: he was clearly terrified of meeting his brother again, for he was convinced that his brother must still want to kill him. So he sent messengers on ahead to prepare the way.

“When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, 'We went to your brother Esau and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.'” (32:6)

Jacob must have truly been shaking in his boots!

“In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, 'If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may still escape.'” (v.7-8)

He then prayed to God for His protection and sent a sizable gift of animals on ahead to his brother, hoping to pacify him.

That night an Angel of God appeared in his camp, and after an exhausting struggle with him, Jacob declared, “I saw God face to face and yet my life was spared.” (v.30)

The next morning he set out to meet his brother and bowed to the ground seven times as he approached.

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

Jacob had to insist that Esau keep all the gifts that Jacob wanted to give him, saying that “to see your face is like seeing the face of God.” (33:10)

And that's a perfect picture to me of forgiveness. Of extending grace. Of unexpected blessing. To see the face of God (that Jacob had just seen the night before when he wrestled with an angel) in the face of his very own brother. The brother that he thought was surely coming out with 400 men to finally get his revenge. Instead, Esau reflected God to his deceiving younger brother. And radiated with peace and contentment, because something big had changed in his heart. The hardness had broken. He had experienced Grace.

And though we don't know the details of how God transformed a big, hairy, hard-hearted man like Esau, we know He did. Because we saw the beautiful later scene of his story called Forgiveness.

Friday, January 15, 2016

When the Door Won't Open

Yesterday morning I was feeling a little nervous about driving David to school for his first basketball practice. The two mile drive turned out to be pretty uneventful however. It was when we got there that I had problems. I couldn't open the door to let David out.

Frustration was rising with every unresponsive button that I pushed on the dashboard and door handle.

This shouldn't be that hard to do.
What is going on?!?

Throughout all of my frantic button pushing, David remained calm. He quietly pointed out to me from the back seat that the sun roof had opened.

Well, maybe the only way he can get out of the van is through the roof...

Before resorting to that method (which might have produced injury), I decided to pull out of the kid-drop-off lane and into the school parking lot to regroup.

When I pulled into a parking space, put the van in Park, and pushed buttons again, the door opened. Just like that.

Ohhh...The van needs to be in Park to open the doors. That makes sense.

Deep breath. 

Be still. (Put it in Park.) And know that I am God.

When I'm in a frazzle and still in “Drive,” I am not thinking clearly. All I want is what I want. Right. Now.

How often I have had the demanding attitude of Rachel, when in her frustration over her barrenness (and her sister's fruitfulness) she yelled at Jacob, “Give me children or I'll die!” (Genesis 30:1)

And then, like her, when she finally held her beloved son in her arms—birthed from her very own body and not her servant's—she named him “May the Lord add to me another son.” (30:24) NotMay the Lord be praised” or “Blessed be the giver of all good things.” Her all-consuming child-bearing competition with her sister Leah had become the focus of her life. Beat my sister. Have more sons. Give me more, God. And I don't want to wait either.

Earlier, she asked her sister for some of her son's mandrakes, in the hopes of getting pregnant through a superstitious practice. (30:14)

And when Jacob said it was time to move on from Laban's land, Rachel stole some of her father's household gods to take with them on their journey. It couldn't hurt, right? (31:34)

Rachel's ever-longing heart was searching for whatever luck she could find. Because in her eyes, whoever ended with the most sons would win. And find happiness.

My struggle with the van door yesterday and reading about Rachel's struggle with discontentment and entitlement has challenged me to look at my own heart.

What is my attitude toward the One True God? Do I find Him to be worthy of all my praise, no matter how He answers my prayers? Or do I go looking elsewhere when He lets me down?

Do I push buttons in rising frustration toward God when the door won't open, or do I put it in Park and inquire of Him with a quieted spirit and ears to hear His answer, whatever that might be?

Rachel's mother-in-law Rebekah also struggled with infertility. But Isaac prayed for her and when the babies jostled within her, she inquired of the Lord, “Why is this happening to me?” (Genesis 25:22-23) As I've been reading through the Bible this year, it's the first time I've noticed someone coming to God with a question like that. How significant.

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

And I would add the opposite to be true as well: “In stubbornness and restlessness is your imprisonment, in frustration and discontentment you will only find defeat.”

When the door won't open” is an invitation.

Which path will I choose?

Rest or restlessness.

Trust or frustration.

Salvation or imprisonment.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

When It Isn't OK

That is NOT okay!” I took a deep gulp and turned my head in the direction of the angry female voice, a few feet away from where I stood at the Starbucks counter. Embarrassment flushed my skin a deep red, and I began to form an apology for my unintended rudeness: Directly asking the woman behind the counter for a refill of hot water, instead of returning to the end of the line...

When to my great relief, I realized that the frustrated woman was not scolding me, but her active little daughter for running back and forth in a crowded area with many hot drink holders.


But in addition to causing me to question what I know about American Starbucks etiquette, this encounter also made me wonder, How many times have I wanted to voice my opinion in a similar way?

That is NOT okay!

I don't like the way this situation is turning out, God.

Can you write a different ending to this story please?

My sister gave us The Early Reader's Bible for Christmas, and Daniel picked out the story of Job for me to read to him a few days ago. I interjected some questions into the story as we went along to see if he was following and understanding. We were reviewing what the first man came to tell Job, and Daniel quickly repeated the “Job! Job!” intro of his message. “Bad people took away some of your animals,” I filled in for him. “Then what did the second man say?” I asked Daniel. “Job! Job!” Daniel exclaimed with feeling. Then he added his own compassion for poor Job: “You okay?

What if the man had been compassionate and asked Daniel's question to Job before pouring more bad news on top of the first? Can you handle this Job? Are you ready for more bad news?

And what if Job had answered, “No, this is NOT okay!”

The second man came to tell him:

Some of your other animals were killed. And your helpers were killed too.”

Then another man ran up to Job. “Your children were all killed,” he said.

Job was so sad.

God gave me all these things,” Job said. “Then God took them from me. But they belonged to God.”

Then Job became sick.

Satan was doing all this to hurt Job.

He wanted Job to turn away from God.

But Job would not turn away from God. He said “I will love God at all times.”

I want to be like Job, don't you? When life completely falls apart and nothing at all makes sense, to cling to God like never before. To trust that all that I have and all that I am belongs to God, and He knows what He's doing.

In Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb writes. “We dream lower dreams and think there are none higher. We dream of good marriages, talented kids, enough health and money to enjoy life, rewarding work, and an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

All good things. Of course we want them. But we think they're the best things...

The greatest blessing is no longer the blessing of a good life. It never was. It is now the blessing of an encounter with God. It always has been...

But we don't view things that way. So God goes to work to help us see more clearly. One way He works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn't make it better. We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we're aware we want Him to do.

In fact, what He's doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we can feel our strongest passions.

It's there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life...

The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It's an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, an encounter with Himself.”
So when our lives are emptied, with broken pieces of dreams and nothing feels okay anymore, we are left with God Himself. Which turns out to be so much greater than our dreams, if we choose to see it that way. It takes the shattering our lower dreams to discover the best that God wants to give us.

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)


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