Finding Hope in Knowing God Wastes Nothing

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I wish you could experience the richness, perfection of timing and incredible way in which the Lord pours out His love very personally to each of us. If you aren’t experiencing this in your life, please… get to know Him, as He desires to know you and walk with you in this way.

This past week marked the start of a “new” study for me. It’s a new study with a group of 23 women, but I did this study over a decade ago, shortly after I entered into a personal walk with Christ. I don’t remember much from it, except that it left me with a few incredible impressions about how God’s Word was completely woven together, and that His love and His message to us is poured out very intentionally in Scripture.

This morning, as I was working on Day 3 of the study, this sentence was on the page about Saul (who was later known as Paul):  “NOTHING in Saul’s life would be a waste unless he refused to let God use it.” …and, yes, that word is in all caps in the workbook.

Those in my closest circles have heard me say, “God wastes nothing.” They’ve also heard me say something along the lines of “…anything He allows, He intends to use for our good and for His glory, IF we will only let Him.”

I SAY this a lot, but I needed to HEAR it this morning.

Once again, the Lord showed up to give me a loving encouragement. He did it by using Beth Moore’s words on a page, right after I read Paul’s words from His Word in Galatians.

What she said in this sentence… this concept… these words… somehow, has infiltrated my life (maybe it started when I did this study years ago…I don’t know…), and it is now a part of who I am. But it doesn’t stop there… Because of His amazing presence in my life, I’ve incorporated those words and woven them into His words and His promises for all of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

The Lord truly does waste nothing. Every single thing we experience in life is something He has the capability to use for our good and for His glory, if we will only submit to Him and allow Him to do so.

There’s an action step here. I see it. Do you?

 


Monday’s Musings — Snowfencing & Life’s Filter

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The snow fencing is up! I say that with great enthusiasm…because it is finished!

The task is a family affair each November. It’s an activity that all of us dread doing, even though it only takes a few hours of our time.

We watch the weather forecast and try to pick the ideal time to put it up AFTER the leaves are off the trees and have been blown across the yard by the pre-winter storms but BEFORE the ground freezes solidly. If we don’t take both of these factors into consideration, then we will have a few issues present themselves.

My role in this task has changed over the years. These days, it is my responsibility to mark where the rows of fencing will be placed and to drop the posts on the grass. I used to have to share in the responsibility of pounding the oh-so-many stakes into the ground, but having two strong, teenage boys, my husband can now turn to them when his shoulders need a rest.

The fence makes a difference. It’s a filter for the wildly blowing snow and regular white-out conditions that happen around here. Without it, the winter squalls would put our snow blower to even more use just to get anyone into or out of our driveway.

As I watched my husband and boys put up three long rows of the fencing last week (after doing my part with the posts), I got to thinking about how it works. You see, each year is another opportunity to experiment with the placement of the rows and the distance between them to maximize the amount of snow that is stopped short of the driveway. I’m convinced I still haven’t found the perfect formula, so — much to my husband’s chagrin — I adjust the placement a tad each year.

The slats in the fence works as a filter to stop the blowing snow. The slats slow it down so the snow will drop after going through them. Having three, set-apart rows stops most of it before it makes its way to the driveway, but it doesn’t capture the snow that falls…only the snow that blows. It works very well in reducing the amount of snow we need to blow or plow from the driveway, but the effects are usually gone by the end of January when the fencing is, typically, almost covered by the snow it has been stopping for two months.

How about my life’s filter?

Does it work well?

Do I periodically need to re-adjust the filter to maximize the amount of “stuff” that gets through?

My filter is my faith and my daily walk with the Lord.

Many years ago, my Sunday filter looked a little different from my Monday-through-Saturday filter. My church clothes, my church attitude and my Sunday morning routine stopped some of life’s challenges from getting through, but it didn’t stop enough. Too much was able to get through for six-and-a-half days a week, and the Sunday morning filter was pretty porous.

There came a time when my Sunday morning filter also became a Sunday afternoon filter and even a Monday filter. Those two full days became the days I looked forward to the most. I don’t think I quite realized why at the time, but, looking back, I can see why now.

The number of filtered days continued to grow, and within those days, there were certain times of the day in which I found myself CHOOSING to see life through yet another new kind of filter. I wanted more of it. I wanted more of life to look that way…the way it did when it passed through the new filter.

Life is not perfect, nor will it ever be. The Filter I use today is able to “stop and drop” many of the challenges which come into my days, but not all of them. That filter is my faith and my daily walk with the Lord. It is here I find His Truths and His hope for my life.

John 16:33 tells me there will be times of trouble, but it also tells me that in Him, I can find peace. I need to trust in this.

Although there is a futuristic aspect to Psalm 46, I can and do draw strength from it…especially verse 1, where I am told He is an ever-present help:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I need to trust in this.

Then, there is the verse that has become a foundational source of my hope. It is a promise from the Lord which speaks the loudest to me in my daily walk. I’ve learned to rely on Him and apply it so I can live in such a way where it’s okay for me to surrender my hopes to Him, because I can and do trust He is working ALL of my circumstances for my good and for His glory:

Romans 8:28:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

There are some challenges which make their way through my Filter and need a little more focus to lessen their potential damage. And, yes, there are some happenings that are pretty tough for me to deal with. One filter won’t stop some of these; but the second and third filters in place can help to lessen the impact. I’m thankful for the people, the worship, the truths, the mentors and the reminders which act as filters in my life.

Remember that falling snow? The fence only stops what is blowing, not what is falling. There are still times in which we’ll need to clear away the snow. There are still times in which we’ll need to deal with the challenges directly.

What is YOUR filter? What is your snow fence?

If you aren’t sure, or if it seems fairly porous and allows too many challenges through, or if you really don’t have one, I’d gently encourage you to take some quiet time to think about it. Life on this planet will never be perfect for any of us. Never. Struggles are guaranteed…even struggles in which we did not bring upon ourselves, but ones which still impact us because they impact loved ones.

When we have a filter in place — and it is reliable and less permeable — then we can always have hope.

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Finding Hope in What is Promised

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“Within every crisis, there is a blessing.”

It’s a phrase I’ve been repeating to myself for more than 30 years. Anyone who knows me well has heard me say it. It’s how I’ve approached life since I was a teenager.

About 12 years ago or so, my young daughter handed me a new take on my old mantra. At that point, I had been a Believer for many years, but I was still in the very early stages of entering into a relationship with the Lord. She was challenged with something she was experiencing in her competitive athletics and was airing her frustrations in the car on the way home from practice one night. Trying to help, I used my mantra with her. It wasn’t the first time, but it was a time I will not forget.

I was looking at her in the rearview mirror sitting in the back seat. She looked at me through that mirror, and she said to me, “Mom, you know that’s kind-of in the Bible, don’t you?”

I had never considered my mantra biblical, but it was a part of my mostly-secular viewpoint that all things happen for a reason. Faith in being able to find a blessing was my perspective, but faith in the Lord through this phrase was not really a prominent part of my perspective at this point.

Intrigued by what my child was about to tell me, I said, “Really?”

She said, “Yes. You should read the book of Romans. That thing you always say is almost like Romans 8:28.” She proceeded to tell me that it said God will work everything for good for those who love Him.

My little girl was the reason we changed churches — she had so many questions that I couldn’t answer and our old church didn’t seem interested in helping to answer them. She was the reason I started to volunteer in the nursery during the youth ministry night at the new church. She was the reason I started attending the adult education class during the second service on Sunday mornings — so she could attend both church and Sunday school. She was the one who would excitedly share deep thoughts with me about what she was learning at this new church we were attending. Here was my little girl telling me that my mantra was in the Bible.

When we got home that night, the first thing I did after getting her some food, a shower and off to bed, was to go to my Bible. I really didn’t know where Romans was located within its pages, but thank goodness for a Table of Contents. I found Romans 8:28, and I read the words from my King James Version — a Bible which had been presented to me as a child from a Sunday School class, but which was hardly ever used:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The language was there. She was right. My mantra was actually in the Bible!

Wow! My mind started racing! A few months earlier, I had already decided to enter into this relationship which was different from anything I’d ever known before. I was excited about the teachings and messages I was hearing and learning at this new church. That night, though, was the moment I discovered that before MY mantra was MY mantra, it was His Word, and so many pieces of my life began to make sense to me.

He captured a piece of my heart as a little girl, and He never ever let go of me. Throughout the challenges of my childhood, the difficulties as a teen, the tumultuous college years, and the ups and downs of married life, He was always there. It was He who planted my mantra in me, and it was He who used my little girl to reveal Himself to me through His words that I’d been living by for so many years without even realizing that before they were my words, they were His.

Romans 8:28 has become my life-verse. The heart of this website has been built upon hopes surrendered to the Lord because of the deep promise that is found within this verse.

“The Message” version of Romans 8:28 states, “That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Every detail. That’s such a promise. That promise can change hearts, change lives, change hopes, and change thoughts. Believe in it. Trust in the Lord.