Wednesday, October 26, 2011
You see I am not an undergrad or graduate, I am not married, nor do I have children, I am not in a successful job or have a job for that matter, I love teaching but also love small groups, I want to be a mom someday but wonder will it ever happen? These are just a few of the frustrations bottled up inside.Jeremiah 29:11 often comes to mind right now "For I know the plans I have for you,declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
I hope to go back to Laos someday but the future is always uncertain. Someone yesterday said to me "What if you are not suppose to go back but stay here?" I have thought about it but I also believe God wouldn't give me such a strong desire if he didn't have a purpose for it. After some prayer and reading in the word. I realized I am not ready to give up that dream. I need that hope no matter how unrealistic it may seem and He has given it to me for a reason right now. Even if it is false hope it is a process of letting go and I am not ready to let go yet. In a world where I feel friends come and go and so does the closeness between them I need something concrete. While I realize she maybe right just because I don't return doesn't mean I cannot have a heart for the people there or the world. Paul longed to return to Jerusalem, eventually our heavenly father allowed him, but it was the shortest of his journeys and only after 11 years. We must do things in God's timing and not our own.
I find it difficult not to talk about Laos and I have become the person I never wanted to be(the one who compares Laos to everything, even holding my tongue sometimes but realizing it often too late) but yet I realize it is all a part of the process. God created the puzzle, not me, my job is to follow his instructions so that I can help fit the pieces together not try and complete the puzzle but trust his ways no matter my understanding level for in the end it is all about him and his glory not me.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I love the story of Naomi and Felix and example of how God works in all different kinds of ways. Here is the link for the whole story-http://www.dailyreader.net/content/read/Chronicles-of-Avonlea/7967 all 6 pages but for those of you who don't like to read here is the best part!But oh I highly advise you to read all 6 pages to fully understand the pain, light and healing found in this story!
Naomi sat up and dragged at his arm.
"Can you help me? Can you help me?" she gasped imploringly. "Oh, I thought you'd never come! I was skeered I'd die before you got here--die and go to hell. I didn't know before today that I was dying. None of those cowards would tell me. Can you help me?"
"If I cannot, God can," said Mr. Leonard gently. He felt himself very helpless and inefficient before this awful terror and frenzy. He had seen sad death-beds--troubled death-beds-- ay, and despairing death-beds, but never anything like this. "God!" Naomi's voice shrilled terribly as she uttered the name. "I can't go to God for help. Oh, I'm skeered of hell, but I'm skeereder still of God. I'd rather go to hell a thousand times over than face God after the life I've lived. I tell you, I'm sorry for living wicked--I was always sorry for it all the time. There ain't never been a moment I wasn't sorry, though nobody would believe it. I was driven on by fiends of hell. Oh, you don't understand--you CAN'T understand--but I was always sorry!"
"If you repent, that is all that is necessary. God will forgive you if you ask Him."
"No, He can't! Sins like mine can't be forgiven. He can't--and He won't."
"He can and He will. He is a God of love, Naomi."
"No," said Naomi with stubborn conviction. "He isn't a God of love at all. That's why I'm skeered of him. No, no. He's a God of wrath and justice and punishment. Love! There ain't no such thing as love! I've never found it on earth, and I don't believe it's to be found in God."
"Naomi, God loves us like a father."
"Like MY father?" Naomi's shrill laughter, pealing through the still room, was hideous to hear.
The old minister shuddered.
"No--no! As a kind, tender, all-wise father, Naomi--as you would have loved your little child if it had lived."
Naomi cowered and moaned.
"Oh, I wish I could believe THAT. I wouldn't be frightened if I could believe that. MAKE me believe it. Surely you can make me believe that there's love and forgiveness in God if you believe it yourself."
"Jesus Christ forgave and loved the Magdalen, Naomi."
"Jesus Christ? Oh, I ain't afraid of HIM. Yes, HE could understand and forgive. He was half human. I tell you, it's God I'm skeered of."
"They are one and the same," said Mr. Leonard helplessly. He knew he could not make Naomi realize it. This anguished death- bed was no place for a theological exposition on the mysteries of the Trinity.
"Christ died for you, Naomi. He bore your sins in His own body on the cross."
"We bear our own sins," said Naomi fiercely. "I've borne mine all my life--and I'll bear them for all eternity. I can't believe anything else. I CAN'T believe God can forgive me. I've ruined people body and soul--I've broken hearts and poisoned homes--I'm worse than a murderess. No--no--no, there's no hope for me." Her voice rose again into that shrill, intolerable shriek. "I've got to go to hell. It ain't so much the fire I'm skeered of as the outer darkness. I've always been so skeered of darkness--it's so full of awful things and thoughts. Oh, there ain't nobody to help me! Man ain't no good and I'm too skeered of God."
She wrung her hands. Mr. Leonard walked up and down the room in the keenest anguish of spirit he had ever known. What could he do? What could he say? There was healing and peace in his religion for this woman as for all others, but he could express it in no language which this tortured soul could understand. He looked at her writhing face; he looked at the idiot girl chuckling to herself at the foot of the bed; he looked through the open door to the remote, starlit night--and a horrible sense of utter helplessness overcame him. He could do nothing--nothing! In all his life he had never known such bitterness of soul as the realization brought home to him.
"What is the good of you if you can't help me?" moaned the dying woman. "Pray--pray--pray!" she shrilled suddenly.
Mr. Leonard dropped on his knees by the bed. He did not know what to say. No prayer that he had ever prayed was of use here. The old, beautiful formulas, which had soothed and helped the passing of many a soul, were naught save idle, empty words to Naomi Clark. In his anguish of mind Stephen Leonard gasped out the briefest and sincerest prayer his lips had ever uttered.
"O, God, our Father! Help this woman. Speak to her in a tongue which she can understand."
A beautiful, white face appeared for a moment in the light that streamed out of the doorway into the darkness of the night. No one noticed it, and it quickly drew back into the shadow. Suddenly, Naomi fell back on her pillow, her lips blue, her face horribly pinched, her eyes rolled up in her head. Maggie started up, pushed Mr. Leonard aside, and proceeded to administer some remedy with surprising skill and deftness. Mr. Leonard, believing Naomi to be dying, went to the door, feeling sick and bruised in soul.
Presently a figure stole out into the light.
"Felix, is that you?" said Mr. Leonard in a startled tone.
"Yes, sir." Felix came up to the stone step. "Janet got frightened what you might fall on that rough road after dark, so she made me come after you with a lantern. I've been waiting behind the point, but at last I thought I'd better come and see if you would be staying much longer. If you will be, I'll go back to Janet and leave the lantern here with you." "Yes, that will be the best thing to do. I may not be ready to go home for some time yet," said Mr. Leonard, thinking that the death-bed of sin behind him was no sight for Felix's young eyes.
"Is that your grandson you're talking to?" Naomi spoke clearly and strongly. The spasm had passed. "If it is, bring him in. I want to see him."
Reluctantly, Mr. Leonard signed Felix to enter. The boy stood by Naomi's bed and looked down at her with sympathetic eyes. But at first she did not look at him--she looked past him at the minister.
"I might have died in that spell," she said, with sullen reproach in her voice, "and if I had, I'd been in hell now. You can't help me--I'm done with you. There ain't any hope for me, and I know it now."
She turned to Felix.
"Take down that fiddle on the wall and play something for me," she said imperiously. "I'm dying--and I'm going to hell--and I don't want to think of it. Play me something to take my thoughts off it--I don't care what you play. I was always fond of music--there was always something in it for me I never found anywhere else."
Felix looked at his grandfather. The old man nodded, he felt too ashamed to speak; he sat with his fine silver head in his hands, while Felix took down and tuned the old violin, on which so many godless lilts had been played in many a wild revel. Mr. Leonard felt that he had failed his religion. He could not give Naomi the help that was in it for her.
Felix drew the bow softly, perplexedly over the strings. He had no idea what he should play. Then his eyes were caught and held by Naomi's burning, mesmeric, blue gaze as she lay on her crumpled pillow. A strange, inspired look came over the boy's face. He began to play as if it were not he who played, but some mightier power, of which he was but the passive instrument.
Sweet and soft and wonderful was the music that stole through the room. Mr. Leonard forgot his heartbreak and listened to it in puzzled amazement. He had never heard anything like it before. How could the child play like that? He looked at Naomi and marvelled at the change in her face. The fear and frenzy were going out of it; she listened breathlessly, never taking her eyes from Felix. At the foot of the bed the idiot girl sat with tears on her cheeks.
In that strange music was the joy of the innocent, mirthful childhood, blent with the laughter of waves and the call of glad winds. Then it held the wild, wayward dreams of youth, sweet and pure in all their wildness and waywardness. They were followed by a rapture of young love--all-surrendering, all-sacrificing love. The music changed. It held the torture of unshed tears, the anguish of a heart deceived and desolate. Mr. Leonard almost put his hands over his ears to shut out its intolerable poignancy. But on the dying woman's face was only a strange relief, as if some dumb, long-hidden pain had at last won to the healing of utterance.
The sullen indifference of despair came next, the bitterness of smouldering revolt and misery, the reckless casting away of all good. There was something indescribably evil in the music now--so evil that Mr. Leonard's white soul shuddered away in loathing, and Maggie cowered and whined like a frightened animal.
Again the music changed. And in it now there was agony and fear--and repentance and a cry for pardon. To Mr. Leonard there was something strangely familiar in it. He struggled to recall where he had heard it before; then he suddenly knew--he had heard it before Felix came in Naomi's terrible words! He looked at his grandson with something like awe. Here was a power of which he knew nothing--a strange and dreadful power. Was it of God? Or of Satan?
For the last time the music changed. And now it was not music at all--it was a great, infinite forgiveness, an all- comprehending love. It was healing for a sick soul; it was light and hope and peace. A Bible text, seemingly incongruous, came into Mr. Leonard's mind--"This is the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."
Felix lowered the violin and dropped wearily on a chair by the bed. The inspired light faded from his face; once more he was only a tired boy. But Stephen Leonard was on his knees, sobbing like a child; and Naomi Clark was lying still, with her hands clasped over her breast.
"I understand now," she said very softly. "I couldn't see it before--and now it's so plain. I just FEEL it. God IS a God of love. He can forgive anybody--even me--even me. He knows all about it. I ain't skeered any more. He just loves me and forgives me as I'd have loved and forgiven my baby if she'd lived, no matter how bad she was, or what she did. The minister told me that but I couldn't believe it. I KNOW it now. And He sent you here to-night, boy, to tell it to me in a way that I could feel it."
Naomi Clark died just as the dawn came up over the sea. Mr. Leonard rose from his watch at her bedside and went to the door. Before him spread the harbour, gray and austere in the faint light, but afar out the sun was rending asunder the milk-white mists in which the sea was scarfed, and under it was a virgin glow of sparkling water.
The fir trees on the point moved softly and whispered together. The whole world sang of spring and resurrection and life; and behind him Naomi Clark's dead face took on the peace that passes understanding.