that girl

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Have you ever asked someone a question and

the answer bore no resemblance to the inquiry?

This was my experience this morning.

While cleaning my bookcases this week, I discovered

a daily Bible from years ago.

The pages felt smooth and unaltered except for occasionally

there were underlines and notes.

This particular Bible poses two questions based on each reading.

I opened its pages and read.

I  decided to bypass words written some 8 years ago.

I wrote my answer in my journal then I put both the past

and the present side by side for examination.

There are no “right” answers to the first posed question only

different perspectives.

Based on verses encouraging

believers to grow up,

the first question asked what if God said to you,

“But there’s so much more.
Let’s get on with it!

what would you say?

This was my answer in 2006:

I need to remember that the wilderness is not all there is.
God is so much more.

It pains me and makes me weep when I type that answer.

Not because it is wrong and didn’t fully answer the question

based on the context but because that girl was hurting.

I remember that girl.

I love that girl.

She was a girl whose answer was informed by what her eyes

saw all around her.

She saw misery and desert and she knew there was more.

That girl’s faith was shaken because her formula had

been found lacking.

A plus B didn’t add up to C.

God coupled with being good had not led to a pain-free life.

At that point, she didn’t know that she could change her

line of vision, adjust her focus.

She didn’t know it was possible to see Jesus in the

wastelands right beside her.

She forgot that Jesus had endured the wilderness stripped

of resources but God and His Word.

It took her awhile to not be so myopic.

Day by day she learned to lengthen her vision

by applying her eyes,mind and heart to His word.

How appropriate that today I literally wear progressive lenses,

helping me see close-up and faraway.

A constant reminder I see only in part but

God sees in totality.

We know only a portion of the truth,
and what we say about God is always incomplete.
But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast,
I gurgled and cooed like any infant.
When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don’t yet see things clearly.
We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.
But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!
We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us,
knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness,
we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God,
hope unswervingly,
love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love.

I Corinthians 13: 9-13 (MSG)

Had it not been for the wilderness, I wonder

if that girl would have sought to find the Savior so

intently and desperately in the word.

That girl helped this girl to begin to visualize God from

a different vantage point.

She laid the ground work in learning how to

“get on with it” and grow up in God.

I am grateful for her and although my vision and perspective

is still often faulty, I am so blessed God never abandoned me.

He always remained.

He gently brushed my tear lined cheeks and

whispered,

“There’s so much more, child.

There’s so much more.”

God,

help me to remember,

when my capacity to believe is limited by

what I see and I deem it less than,

that you are with me always.

Even the wilderness place becomes

greater than I first knew because

you inhabit it.

Thank you for loving that girl

and this girl just the same.

Amen.

kept by walking

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I blame the gravitational pull of my mattress.

I was determined to keep my walking date with myself on Saturday.

I slept later than I wanted perhaps not longer than I needed.

As I pulled on my shoes, I noticed a few dots of water scattered

upon finger smudged panes.

Dismissing my thoughts of “it’s going to pour” or “gosh, it’s colder outside than I realized”,

I instructed my feet to step away from the house.

We have the pleasure of living two short blocks away from a city park complete with a

sunken rose garden.

I decided to circle the park a few times.

As you probably surmised, the heavens opened with applause at my

triumphant bed defeat with pelting rain.

As I neared the rose garden, the covering of trees spreads out and

I felt every raindrop multiply and the wind force pushing me back to

my starting point.

Only 5 minutes had passed.

I hadn’t worked up a sweat.

It was too cold actually.

I should go home and choose another day, my mind encouraged.

I kept placing heel in front of toe.

Once I reached the far side of the park and would soon re-enter the

intense weather chamber, I noticed the expanse of fir trees.

I looked down at the paved portion of my path and realized the cement was dry.

Not one droplet of rain had been allowed to penetrate the earth below.

I tilted my head back and gazed at branches imitating a cathedral

of hands interlocked in prayer.

This was a place of protection.

A sanctuary of peace from the storm.

Maybe I should walk back and forth along this untouched road.

I’d be warm and dry and less tossed about by mighty gusts.

My feet kept walking.

Often we feel unprepared and an ill-equipped match for the prevailing winds.

My park circles reminded me of the inevitability and strength of storms.

Storms wrestle us from our slumber and announce their presence.

We must keep walking.

Each step leads closer to the prized destination.

We may question our resolve to keep moving

until

the height,

the length,

the width

and

the breadth

of God’s arms

encloses us,

shelters us,

protects us,

speaks peace over us,

comforts us,

and simply is present with us.

He reaches into the waters which threaten

to drown and

clasps His spirit with ours and

gives us strength to keep in step with Him.

He is the most welcome respite in

times of persistent onslaught.

We will get wet.

We will be chafed by the wind.

We may feel we are circling a path in a cold

wilderness but we are not left alone.

We must keep walking.

It’s the only way to get home.