Why?

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." ~Romans 1:16

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

thank You for the beauty of that night

The room was dark, except for the light of a lamp on the end table next to me, and the Christmas tree by the piano.  It was very late, or rather, early, close to 4am.  The three of us were snuggled on the couch, talking and laughing, but making sure to do it quietly, as the rest of the house was asleep.  Two other sleepy girls were on the couch next to us, out like lights after a long night.

In the hours prior, we had whispered stories and shared our hearts.  We all had so much to tell, so much to share.  And in that room that night there was a trust, a safety, a refuge, a beauty that was so powerful and real that none of us ever wanted it to end.  Old friendships were deepened, new ones were formed, and a deep, earnest hope for the future was born.  And what the three of us had together, right in that moment, we imagined we would have for years and years to come.

But that wasn't what the Lord had in store.

The year we brought in together turned out to be very different than we hoped.  It was long, and hard.  All three of us faced challenges and heartache like we had never known before.  And not one of us expected any of it to happen.  In fact, if we had known that night what we would walk through together and separately in the months ahead, I don't know what we would have done.

And now, one year later, each of us are bringing in the new year at different homes with different people.  But even though we won't be together, we've all expressed the same thing to each other as this day approached - We are thankful for the beauty.  We are so grateful we had that night together.  We are different people because of it.  We are marked by the beauty it held.  We carry it with us every day.  And while we wish it could have lasted forever and we're very sad it had to go away, we will never forget it.


So thank You, Father.  Thank You for the beauty of that night.  We will never forget.


 
 

Friday, December 6, 2013

unfair

Have you ever been wronged?  Have you ever had something done to you that you didn’t deserve?  What did it feel like?  Did it hurt?  What was it that made it hurt?  Was it just the offense in and of itself?

Or was it because the way they treated you was unfair?  Did the unfairness, the knowing you didn’t deserve this, heighten the hurt and deepen the pain?

And how did you react?  Were you angry?  Did you lash out?  Did you say things you regret?  Did you live in a place of self-pity for a while? 

Or did you respond in kindness?  Did you choose to love them even when you’d been hurt?  Did you choose to forgive them even though they didn’t deserve it?

It’s hard to do, isn’t it?  To give love and forgiveness when everything inside you is broken, screaming you shouldn’t have to do this?  It doesn’t seem right.  It doesn’t seem fair.  Indeed, it is unfair.

On the other hand, have you ever wronged someone else? Have you ever done something to someone that they didn’t deserve?  What did it feel like?  Did it hurt you, too?  What was it that made it hurt? Was it just the remorse you felt about the offense in and of itself?  

Or was it because they forgave you that made it hard to deal with?  Did the unfairness, the knowing you didn’t deserve this, heighten the remorse and deepen the regret?

And how did you react?  Were you sad?  Did you run away?  Did you feel awkward and unworthy?  Did you dwell in a place of shame for a while?

Or did you respond in thankfulness?  Did you choose to accept their love even when you felt like a destroyer?  Did you choose to accept their forgiveness even though you didn’t deserve it?

It’s hard to do, isn’t it?  To accept love and forgiveness when everything inside you is broken, screaming you couldn’t possibly accept this?  It doesn’t seem right.  It doesn’t seem fair.  Indeed, it is unfair.

Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It’s hard to give and hard to accept.  Why?  Because a lot of the time, we give the love that is easy to give and accept the love we think we deserve.  I mean, let’s be honest – How often do we love when we’re scared, weary, or have been hurt?  And how often do we accept it when we’re scared, weary, or feel unworthy?

But the thing about forgiveness is, no matter whether we’re on the giving or receiving end of it, it is a choice.  We have to CHOOSE to love recklessly and forgive without conditions.  We have to CHOOSE to accept love fearlessly and accept forgiveness without protestations.  Even though we know it’s unfair.

And WOW is that hard to do.  Like, really hard.

But the good news is, we don’t have to do it by ourselves.  We have the ultimate example of this in Christ:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”   Romans 5:1-11