Sudden

Life can change so suddenly. You go to bed one night and all is well with the world. By that same time the following day, everything has changed.

I’ve just found myself thinking about that lately. We don’t know what a day will hold. A friend of mine lost her job without warning this week. I watch the news in the morning, and by the evening things have happened in the world that nobody even had on their radar earlier in the day. I passed an auto accident on the way home from work on Friday and thought to myself that those people had no idea that was going to happen that afternoon. They just left their homes in the morning thinking it would be a “normal” day, and now their world is quite literally, shattered.

Things happen. Life changes in a moment. A phone call, a knock at the door, a news alert, squealing car brakes.

Can we ever really be ready?

Actually, I think in a way, we can be. Whether my life is mundane or chaotic or spinning so fast I don’t know which way is up, nothing will happen to me that hasn’t passed through my Father’s hands first. When the “sudden terror” comes, my first thought needs to be about God, not about me.

Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 7:25-26

The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; He will not be afraid. Psalm 112:7-8

God seems to spend a lot of time letting us know that we really have nothing to fear as long as our confidence is in Him. I need to fill my mind with His promises now, on the blue-sky and sunshine days, so when the sudden storms come (which, of course, they will), I’m not hopeless or angry or dazed or lost.

The Lord knows what today will hold for me. He knows what it will hold for you. And knowing that means the “sudden” is nothing to fear.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1

Waiting

Lessons learned in the waiting … at Walgreens.

My annoying summer cold turned into something antibiotic-worthy last week, which landed me at Walgreens (a pharmacy chain in the US for those readers from elsewhere) to pick up a prescription. The nice pharmacy lady asked if I’d be waiting for it or coming back later. “I’ll wait”, I said. I was already miserable. Why prolong it?

A short while later I was home, praying that the pills would work miracles and I’d be able to breathe again without coughing up a lung. And that’s when I noticed the bag the medicine came in. Stamped across the top of it was one word.

“WAITING”.

Seems that if the pharmacy folks know you’re standing there instead of going back home, they might just count out your pills a little more quickly.

And I found myself looking at that bag and smiling, thinking how great it would be if our prayers could be dropped off at the customer service window in heaven, and as long as we said we were “waiting”, they’d be answered more quickly.

But of course, that’s not the way God works. He doesn’t need to us to tell Him how to prioritize answers. He doesn’t need us to remind Him that we’re waiting. He already knows.

And He knows that the waiting has a purpose in His plan. He doesn’t slip our requests to the bottom of the pile, or close up the store at 9:00pm. He doesn’t answer someone else’s prayers first because mine aren’t important enough.

It’s still OK if my requests have the word “WAITING” stamped on them. I think it’s Biblical to tell God we’re waiting. David did it all the time in the Psalms. We just need to remind ourselves that we’re not just waiting – we’re waiting on God. And He’ll answer in His perfect time.

And who knows? Maybe He’ll slip a little extra blessing into the bag as a reward.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Psalm 37:7

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

Busy

Life gets busy sometimes.

The more I thought about the word “busy”, the more intrigued I became with its actual definition. So I looked it up. “Not at leisure, otherwise engaged, full of or characterized by activity, attentively engaged in work or a pastime”.

Otherwise engaged. So true.

For me, it’s been a month since my vacation ended, the students we’ve been preparing for at school are coming back this week in full force, we’ve had transitions at work with interviews for new employees, I had a pretty hideous leak under my kitchen sink, a speaking engagement and now I’ve got some kind of summer cold. Otherwise engaged in a whole bunch of things.

And sometimes too busy to stop and think about trying to see God in all of it.

I came across this short little poem the other day. Short enough that maybe I should memorize it to remind myself to slow down. To not hurry through the “busy-ness”.

I will not hurry through this day!
Lord, I will listen by the way,
To humming bees and singing birds,
To speaking trees and friendly words:
And for the moments in between
See glimpses of Thy great Unseen.

I will not hurry through this day;
I will take time to think and pray;
I will look up into the sky,
Where fleecy clouds and swallows fly;
And somewhere in the day, maybe
I will catch whispers, Lord, from Thee!

Ralph Spaulding Cushman

I want to see God today, in whatever He places in my path, in the midst of commute, or work, or conversations. I want to remember to just slow down and sense His presence.

I will not hurry through this day!

Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:20 (NLT)

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. Kings 19:11-12

Awesome

I have a thing for sunsets.

Sometimes you’d think I’d never seen one before. I almost drove off the highway last night trying to watch the most amazing one unfold out in the sky to the west. South Florida is flat. Very flat. But the great thing about that is being able to see from horizon to horizon, especially at sunset. And the sunset last evening took my breath away.

Exceptionally bright rays of gold and pink were exploding out from behind a huge dark thunderhead cloud, while on the complete other side of the horizon to the east, towers of puffy white clouds over the ocean had picked up on the colors in the west, reflecting them back. And there I was in the middle, trying to stay on the road while watching the sky fight back against the coming darkness of night.

Amazing. And all I could think about were the words to the hymn “How Great Thou Art”.

“O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.”

Maybe I need to be awed more often.

Not just by sunsets and sunrises that leave me speechless, but by seeing God in every aspect of my days and my life. I should be in awesome wonder that God wakes me up each morning for another day of walking with Him. I should be in awesome wonder that He knows me, loves me, speaks to me.

And maybe He gives us amazing sunsets and sunrises and thunderstorms and starry nights to remind us of that. They are only amazing because an awesome God made them that way.

I’m grateful for that sunset last night. Grateful for a moment of worship right there in my car, grateful for reminders that my God is awesome and amazing and loves to give me unexpected glimpses of His glory.

“Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”

The Mighty One, God the LORD, has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down. Psalm 50:1

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. Psalm 145:5-6

You alone are the LORD;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You. Nehemiah 9:6