We've essentially had no internet the past week ~ unless I've gotten up at 3 in the morning to download emails. It has been very frustrating, especially for those who have work or school classes that depend on a decent internet connection... and best we can figure is that an undersea cable was damaged... and 5 W. African countries are with limited internet access as a result...
In fact, I'm hoping I can finish up this post, before the cyberwaves tie up until tomorrow morning sometime... and let me apologize in advance for the lack of photos. Those definitely take too long to upload at present ~
A few months ago, a "cyber-friend" - who I have had the pleasure of meeting once in real life! - sent me the devotional Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, and I've been greatly appreciating the challenges and reminders within - like this one:
"Come to me for all that you need. Come into My Presence with thanksgiving, for thankfulness opens the door to My treasures. When you are thankful, you affirm the central truth that I am Good."
...and then my thoughts trailed along to this passage:
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
Reading... rereading... I finally noticed the footnotes: Meribah means quarreling, and Massah means testing. I'm really no different than those Israelites who tried, tested and ultimately angered the Lord... and He says He remained angry for 40 years. I certainly don't want that!
Why is it that I can see what He has done... and am literally bubbling over with thankfulness, gratitude and praise when they are things for which it is easy and natural to give thanks, but not trust Him when His ways are not my ways... when I, from my limited and admittedly selfish point of view, would have chosen differently - both my circumstances and consequences. And then I quarrel with my Maker, in my heart; I test Him with my complaining...
I pray for gentleness and when the Lord begins to sow seeds and then cultivate that gentleness, I start kicking and screaming. It may all be on the inside, but is still my undeniable manifiestation of a heart refusing to receive with thankfulness all the Lord bestows, chooses to withhold or decides to remove... I don't want to say with Job, "Blessed be the name of the Lord," and in fact, can hardly even hum that song these days... but then there are those moments when I can agree with those words, I can sing them while agreeing in my heart, and I know that it is only because of the work He has done and continues to do as He works this often stony ground of me.
I just had one other thought cross my mind ~
Mary's response to an incomprehensible and difficult circumstance - finding out that she was to be the mother of Jesus, she'd suffer not only the reproach of men and a pierced heart as His mama - and what does she say?
"Behold the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."
If Mary lived this response as a young girl/woman, I believe it was her response to most difficult circumstances - she accepted the lordship of God and expected Him to do as He did because He knew best, He knew all - and she was willing to place her trust in Him, confident in His goodness. Perhaps that is why God entrusted His own precious child to this humble, gentle and godly woman. Perhaps it was the memory of seeing this example in His mother's life that encouraged Him to say one lonely night in the garden:
"Father, if You are willling, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."
this week's gratitude list
(#'s 1116 - 1135)
strong reminders from God's Word
challenging situations that force me to remember Who He is... and on Whom I am completely dependent
wondering... even as I feel like I'm wandering, floundering...
praying about treasures I knew He would be removing, but right now that tearing away seems too soon and I'm feeling a too raw
finishing up medications
90' cool nights
feeling lonely and knowing that Jesus felt that, too
"turtling" to meet with the Lord
good timing that can really only be "God-timing"
unexpected gifts from unexpected places... as we've lost 4 of our supporting churches in recent months
realizing once again how totally dependent we are upon Him... even sometimes for our daily bread
for the first time ever being forced to live dependent in a way that is worse than uncomfortable, where on some days I literally, with relief, thank God for daily bread...
and recognizing that while uncomfortable, the above it isn't bad... not even for our kids
skillet grilled french bread smothered in butter, cinnamon and sugar for breakfast - delivered to me by my sweet girl
kids enjoying a barn dance
sisters, such silliness...
sermons on friendship
prayers of our African church and their delight at seeing our little one back at the service yesterday
watching her walk along, holding hands with her friends