Sunday, October 7, 2012

Changes - What Do We Do?

Although I really love Indian summers. I miss the gentle September breezes we normally get as summer turns into fall. A few days this week, instead of gentle breezes, we experienced some October wind. The sun may have been shining, but the air was chilly and the wind was strong. When I walked to my car it was raining pine needles. If they hit my face or head just right it kind of hurt. Pine needles covered my car. Broken branches and leaves blew across the streets. The wind seemed so strong for a while that I hoped none of the trees around my place would fall.

This morning was a different story. I went out for a walk, the air was crisp and cool. The wind had settled down a bit and the pine needles were staying attached the trees.
When the sun rose higher in the sky it even started feeling a bit warm. What a change from one day to the next…

Isn’t that how seasons are though?
Constant changes…even though every year we see the same cycle…each season is different.

Sometimes the changes are beautiful and mild.

 Even in life, changes can be mild going from season to season. Having kids, hair changes to gray, kids grow up and get married, the normal progression of life. It’s expected but it can leave us feeling bare just like a tree that just lost its leaves.

Then there are the changes that come from unexpected things. Like the October wind we experienced that left a mess behind on the sidewalks and streets. Or like storms that tear up the place and a person has to completely restore their life.

This picture is mild next to what some people experience after a big storm. Still, sometimes a continual persistent wind that rips the branches off one by one and causes the needles to fall continuously on a person can be just as damaging.

Causing a person to be frustrated, angry, bitter, disillusioned and struggle in their faith.
 
 This old tree being cut down piece by piece just reminded me of how it feels when the same old problem keeps coming up again and again. No matter what a person does it just keeps coming back again and again. It can be a health problem, relationships, jobs, finances…so many things that can tear at a person day by day leaving them in a place where they struggle to hope, struggle to keep the faith, or battle to hold on to joy. Weariness can set in causing a person to just want to give up.

We’ve been in a struggle for a long time. Whenever it seems we have the answer it turns out it’s not the one for us.

During the entire time, no matter what we’ve been through in the struggle, there has been something else we experienced. A bigger picture of the God we read about in the Bible and hear about from the pulpit. We’ve personally seen God work in ways that have amazed us.
I wish I could say when we get to those points of feeling like we are on an edge of a cliff I respond in a mature faith walking way, but I don’t. The reason, the cliff keeps getting higher and higher.

We don’t arrive at the same place every time the problem arises. No it gets tougher and tougher and we do hold onto what we’ve seen Him do before, but we stand and wonder what will He do now?
I walked down a road the other day that hasn’t been a part of my exercise routine for years. I remembered the trials my sister and I were going through during the times we walked that road. I remembered how God encouraged me with pennies. (And He still does) I remembered how I started being a little more vulnerable while writing my blogs.

God brought me through those trials. I’m at a different place now. Seems the same but it’s different because I’m different inside. My faith has grown and I have some wisdom and understanding that I didn’t have before when I walked this road.
God knows what I need and He’s the provider. He has always been there.

I thought we had the answer to the problem yesterday and was pretty excited, but discovered we don’t have that answer. So, it’s really disappointing.
Now what? There’s not another solution in sight at the moment. I hate waiting. So I’m probably learning patience. I like to know what’s going on, something to work toward. I don’t have that right now.

I didn’t want to write my stories or blog because I was in a bad mood and I thought what should I do this for anyway?
Then I got a phone call inviting me to a conference to be a part of ministering to hurting women and they said I could bring my books for the ladies.

Okay…so I’ll stop pouting and keep writing my stories.
But I didn’t want to write my blog. I tried but…stopped a few times. Who wants to constantly write and show the whole world things that are personal to them?

Then I read a story in my daughter’s devotions. (Aren’t they supposed to be for a child?) About a guy named Naaman and he was an important guy. He had leprosy and his servant girl let him know about Elisha who could heal him. Naaman gets permission from the king to go and see Elisha. Elisha doesn’t even come outside to talk to him but sends a messenger who tells Naaman to go dip in the Jordan seven times and he would be healed.
Well, the Jordan River was beneath a man of his stature, after all he had beautiful rivers back home. He also was insulted Elisha didn’t come out and meet him. So he didn’t do it.

The servant girl said some things that made sense to him and he went back to the Jordan and dipped in the pool seven times and was healed.
Sometimes, we have to get to the place we want to be, following instructions we don’t understand or want to do.

My daughter went to the acupuncturist for her back. (He does not use needles on little kids) She refused to do one of the therapies because she is afraid of it. Sometimes we have to do things that scare us or even hurt a bit to get better.
She did it. And we were all proud of her. She isn’t healed but it helped a bit and in time will hopefully take care of the problem. She has to follow instructions she didn’t understand or want to do.

That’s when I knew I needed to sit down and write my blog post. Because, I’ve heard that my struggles and how God has answered them have encouraged others in their struggles. And I hope with all my heart that whoever reads this will be able to believe more and more in the God of the Bible. To be able to believe in who He really is not who we think He is. And that yes, He is here in our struggles, in our joys, and He is not just something, but someone who has a plan and interacts with His children in a personnel way.
No matter how many times you face the same battle. He is the same God who is there to face it with you. Things in life can wear us down, but He can lift us up.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 New International Version (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

 The story about Naaman and Elisha can be found in the Old Testament, 2 Kings, Chapter 5.

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