Saturday, April 7, 2012

heaping on the blessings

I've been dwelling the past few days (after my stint in the complaint department), but it's not what you think. I have been dwelling on my blessings. I'm going through Lord, Change My Attitude in my Wednesday morning Bible study. The first two weeks were about replacing a complaining attitude with a thankful attitude. Which has been my exact week, this week.

We have friends going through some tough times: some financial, some marital (one set of friends for one of their parents and one set of friends for themselves), and one tough time that is a blessing (a newborn baby - which is both a tough time- although they haven't said this is a tough time for them, I'm just assuming because newborns are a lot of work and just an adjustment- and a blessing). These tough times make me think back to our own tough times: numerous job losses, postpartum blues, moving so frequently, financial woes, lonesomeness, anger, envy/malcontent, autism diagnosis. I don't dwell on the misfortune because I think that each had a purpose to draw us closer to the Lord. A former foster son of ours (from one of our many movings and jobs) was having a really hard time a few months back, and I shared this wisdom (wisdom not of my own accord, mind you, because I don't find myself wise): sometimes the Lord allows bad or hard things in our lives in order for us to have nowhere to turn but to Him. There is nothing the Lord wants more than for us to turn to Him for comfort, for love, to worship. He made us for Himself. He made us to love Him.

Now, I haven't been perfect nor am I getting anywhere close to perfection now, but overall I believe that our struggles have drawn us, both Big A and myself, closer to the Lord. Not every time, nor in every moment. I've had some dark moments in my heart where I was...not really angry at God but disappointed that He hadn't made my life all sunshine and roses. Which is silly because nowhere (NOWHERE) in the Bible does it say that once you're a Christian, your life will be happy. In fact, the Bible promises us hardships, persecutions. James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (New King James, emphasis my own). WHEN you fall into various trials, not IF. Being a Christian, following the teachings of Jesus Christ and God are in strict contrast with the world.

But I want you, if you are struggling or know someone that is struggling or having a hard time in any way, to take heart! I, the imperfect, sinful child of God that I am, have been taken care of by the Lord. Not once have my children gone hungry in our times of financial struggle. Not once has my husband been left jobless without any way to provide for his family (although he hasn't always had a job, there have always been odd jobs that have provided for our family). Not once have we not had a home to sleep in. Now, I'm not saying that the day won't come when my family will be hungry or homeless and jobless. It could happen. But the biggest thing that God has provided for me and mine is Himself. He has never left us. He is not a man-made God who sits and does nothing. He is my rock, my salvation, my comforter, mine.

And He can be yours too. He can be your God, as He is mine. This weekend, Easter weekend, Passover weekend, is about remembrance. The Jews are remembering Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The Christians are remembering our Savior (the Savior of all...not just those who grew up in certain WASP households, mind you, but the Lord of all - Jews and Gentiles - everyone non-Jewish) who died on the cross for our sins. Not just to pay for our sins but to redeem us with His shed blood. In His defeat against death (remember, He is risen! The tomb is empty!), He reconciled we who serve Him, who believe in Him and live for Him, with His Father, God. No longer is our sin keeping us from the Lord but the blood paved the road home.

It doesn't take a fancy Easter service or some miraculous sign to become a follower of Christ. Remember your hard times and, if you know God, remember how He was there. If you don't know God, look at my own track record and how He has provided for me. If He would provide for me, the least of people, why wouldn't He provide for you? Why wouldn't He love you, just as He loves me? That's right! He does love you! He loves YOU. So tell Him that you want to love Him; that you want to serve Him; that you want to be with Him. And then follow through. Give up your sinful ways - yes, you'll stumble and fall but that's what His grace is, to forgive you over and over...but keep fighting to follow Him.

Happy Easter!

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