Saturday, February 23, 2013

How Do You Know?

Robert Frost wrote of two roads diverging in a yellow wood. His famous poem “The Road Not Taken” speaks to choices we all face.

Jesus addressed the same issue, telling of a broad way and a narrow way. The narrow road leads to life, He said, “and only a few find it.”

How do we know? How do we choose?

It would be so much easier if there were no choice, if life just stretched out before me and I didn’t have to consider which path to follow.

Every day I’m faced with choices, and often I can’t see far enough ahead to tell if I’m making the right decision.

But what I do know is that God is faithful. He tells me that I can ask for wisdom and He will give it.
James 1:5

He tells me that if I trust Him, He will show me which path to take. Proverbs 3:6

I guess it boils down to just that: trust. Do I really trust Him to give me the right answer? And do I trust Him enough to know that He does give me the right answer—even when things don’t work out the way I thought they would?

My faithful God sees much farther down the road than I ever will. But better still, He’s on that road with me.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding.” 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do You See What I Saw?

Look closely at this photograph. Exactly in the center, just to the right of the tree.

See it?

I’m not a smiley-face kind of person, but this one caught me by surprise one snowy morning last week. In the middle of my work on a novel set in 1860 Kansas Territory, I looked out the window and there it was.

Of course it was much bigger in real life and easier to spot. Without even thinking about it I smiled back, as if I’d received a personal message from the One who scattered snow on the earth 150 years ago as well as today.

Sometimes all it takes is a fun little hello from God. I’m as blessed by His tender kindness as much as I am his Red Sea-variety miracles.

I need them both.

Do you see Him in your surroundings, too? Take a moment. Stop and look. He might have a surprise waiting for you.

He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
                                                              —Psalm 147:16 (NIV)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Can God's ultrasight see you?

My expectant daughter-in-law, Kelli, asked me to go with her to her ultrasound appointment this week. The baby is Kelli’s first and will make an appearance in July. Grandchild number four!

I knew what to expect. Ultrasound scoped out my daughter, now all grown up, so it wasn’t a complete surprise.

Until I saw inside the womb through the wonders of technology.
Until I saw the profile of baby Hadley’s smooth brow and perky little nose.
Until I saw her wiggle and kick and raise her arm over her head.
Was she praising her Creator?

I managed to keep the Grandma tears in check.

Until the technician turned up the sound for the heartbeat line rippling across the monitor.

“O my God,” my own heart beat out. (Can that not be a prayer?)

“O my God and Creator, worthy to be praised and glorified, Maker of heaven and earth and everything seen and unseen. Who can do what You do?”

The Psalmist said,
“The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You have formed my inward parts;
You have covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made …
My frame was not hidden from You …
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me,
when as yet there were none of them.”
(Psalm 139:12-16 NKJV).

If God can observe us and form us and care for us in our mother’s womb, is there any place on this earth or any situation in our lives where He cannot see us? Will He stop caring for us? Will He abandon us?

“Can a woman forget her nursing child …
Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you”
(Isaiah 49:15 NKJV).

No, never.
I’m so glad.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Do You Have Joy in Winter?

This morning I heard new songs at the Riverwalk. Not the stalwart red-winged blackbird that faithfully sings through the winter, but a new lilting refrain, fresh and clear.

The river sang a different tune as well, popping and creaking at its ice-rimmed edges.

In chorus, they sounded jubilant.

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth,” the psalmist wrote.

He continues: “Let the field be joyful and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord, for He is coming” (Psalm 96:1, 12-13 NKJV).

Even in winter’s frigid grasp, creation sings the Lord’s praises. There is a lesson for me here. In tight frozen places or from yet unfruitful, dormant endeavors, I can praise Him. By simply acknowledging His faithfulness, I loosen the ice and stretch my limbs and find again that His joy is my strength.

May you find the same during these crispy winter days.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
                                            –Nehemiah 8:10