22 03 2017

There are some days when pieces of life seem egregiously out-of-tune with one another.

 Last night we received word that the daughter of dear friends had lost her extended battle with a particularly vicious disease. As I have sat in my home throughout this morning one of the pairs of cardinals that make their home in the trees along our property line has been vigorously, relentlessly singing. I thought to myself, they cannot know that today is not a day for song; their song does not fit with the anguish of the loss of a daughter, mother, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, aunt, and friend.  Today, they should be silent.

 As the morning has progressed, and the cardinals have continued to sing I began to wonder if perhaps their song is being sung across a wider expanse than our current, physical line of sight allows us to view. Perhaps there is, on this day, a hope that has been realized, a wholeness that has been reached, a peace that has been found, a life that has been finally and forever restored. Perhaps, in the unknown and indefinable space through which we move from this life into eternity the hand of Immanuel, God with us; our ever-present help in time of trouble reached out again, and was grasped with joy. Perhaps that is why the cardinals are singing today; perhaps they are in tune with an eternity that we cannot yet see.  Perhaps, on days like today, their song is the evidence of things not seen.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

AdventPhotos2016 – Hope

9 12 2016

My health issues have given me a challenging couple of days and as I was pulling out a particular medication this evening I said to myself, “Oh, I hope this helps.” While I am certainly thankful for the measure of relief afforded through medical science, I am so very glad that my hope is not limited to what can be held in a box or a bottle. In this Advent season, as I wait in the mystery of the already and the not yet, my ultimate, unwavering hope is not in something, but in some One. 

Hope is a powerful thing. It is what holds our spirit steady in the place of anticipation for what is yet to be. 

Hope is what looks into the future and sees an estranged relationship brought close again; poverty being met with provision; mourning journeying through to joy; oppression humbled by justice; brokenness made whole; sickness defeated in healing, and hatred vanquished by love.

Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.”


Reach – #LentPhotos (2016#2)

12 02 2016

This is my daughter Jaqulynn’s cat, Darla. She’s a bit of a diva. I’m visiting with Jaqulynn, Joel and my grandson Reese for a couple of weeks and part of that equation is an understanding that the queen size guest bed actually belongs to Darla and she permits me to utilize the bed for the length of my stay provided I don’t do anything crazy like roll over in bed at any point during the night once she has positioned herself for sleep. She is perhaps the world’s most fastidiously groomed cat. She spends the bulk of her life getting her fur to lay perfectly. She actually jumps into the bathtub to wash her feet following a trip to the litter pan. If Max (the younger cat in residence) fails to groom himself to her standards, she will wait for him to go to sleep, hold him down and do it for him. So, you can probably imagine how often she permits a one-year old baby to grab her with his sticky hands and plant a big, wet, cheerio-encrusted kiss onto her perfect self. It is not happening. But multiple times every day, Reese will see her sitting tantalizingly close, a grin will bloom as he toddles her direction, reaches out to grab a handful of fur, only to have her effortlessly move beyond his reach; again, and again, and again. And he’ll try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. He doesn’t get discouraged. It doesn’t even occur to him that it might be a wasted effort, that he should just give up. And, what we all know, except perhaps HRH Darla, is that one day his balance will be good enough, he will move just quick enough, and his reach will finally be long enough to catch her and give her that squishy hug and wet kiss.  

Paul wrote about our spiritual reach and his desire to keep improving, to keep growing in his letter to the Philippian church. He says, “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14). You know, if one of the guys that God chose to write the Bible is saying that he hasn’t reached the top of the mountain yet; that he has a deeper level of commitment, a higher level of maturity that he is reaching for then I should certainly never allow myself to stop reaching for all the grace, all the love, all the growth that God has promised to me. I’ll keep watching Reese reaching out to take hold of Darla, and be encouraged to keep reaching forward, to take hold of God’s promises in my life.