Hurricane Softened Soil & Hearts
We Interrupt These Blog Posts to Bring You A Hurricane
As soon as I made my plans, Hurricane Irma came and wrecked them. Thanks, a lot.
I’d planned to finish my Enoch blog posts last week, but then we had to jump into Hurricane Irma Readiness mode. My blog instantly became low priority.
My heart breaks at the sight on the news of all those who lost so much in Irma — especially those who lost their lives. It’s devastating!
I’m grateful to report, though, that we weathered Irma well. We only lost our power for a few hours. Long enough to remind me how much I depend on it.
We almost lost a tree, too. After Irma, our Chinese Elm was leaning at about a 45º angle. This is good, though, because it had been growing at an 85º angle since the beginning. Thanks, Irma.
I kept meaning to straighten it out and stake it while it was small, but one thing led to another. By the time I got around to it, the tree was rooted into the hard clay soil and unwilling to budge an inch.
I thought about forcing it but was afraid of damaging the tree — maybe even breaking it. But now it’s just a mess. We’ve got to fix it. Its roots won’t survive being above-ground.
Fortunately, we can pull it up with ease because it’s now loose in the Irma-softened soil. We can give it a fresh start and new life.
Softened Soil & Hearts
Unless God softens the soil of our hearts, no outward pushing or pulling will move it without damaging it.
I’m probably guilty of hurting a few people with my well-meaning attempts to force their hearts to move in a direction I felt was best.
I’ve tried to help God rather than wait for Him to do the work only He can do.
Why do I keep forgetting I’m not God?
God’s Perfect Work
God’s work in our hearts is perfect. Only He knows best what we need.
Sometimes God sends a long, gentle rain to soften a heart.
He’ll speak to us through His Word or and open our eyes to a truth we’d missed or misunderstood. Painless.
Other times, He sends a rainstorm that breaks up the soil of our hearts in ways we wouldn’t have chosen.
Painful, but effective.
And then, when necessary, God sends an all-out hurricane to flood and blow against our hearts until they become putty in His hands.
PAINFUL, but perfect.
God’s Work in our hearts isn’t always fun. When it’s painful, let’s remember:
God never allows the storms to blow beyond what is absolutely necessary to cause our roots to grow deep into His marvelous love.
New Life — New Look
If my Chinese Elm continued to grow at an angle the roots couldn’t support, a strong enough storm would’ve eventually knocked it down to its doom.
With the soil now properly softened, we can give our tree new life that’s able to weather the storms to come.
We can give it a new look, too. A strong look, rather than looking like it’ll fall over if the wind sneezes.
I’m thankful for the storms God has sent or allowed into my heart. He’s used each one to mold me more into the likeness of Jesus.
And hopefully a new look — one that smiles more than it grumbles or grimaces.
My hope is when I’m old and gray (instead of just young and gray — or more accurately, middle-aged and gray) people will meet me and know what Jesus is really like.
At this point, I make Jesus look more like a Picasso painting. But He’s not done with me yet. More softening of my heart to come!
To those of you that I’ve hurt by my pushing and pulling, “Forgive me.” I hope you know it was only because I love you — or because I was temporarily an idiot.
And to those of you who’ve been hurt by other Christians who tried to force your heart to believe in Jesus or look like Jesus — on their behalf, I say, “I’m so sorry.”
And to those who are facing a Heart Hurricane, I say, “Embrace it.”
Hang on, but embrace it. Let God have His way with your heart. Let Him soften and move your heart to where it needs to be. If you don’t, one day a big storm is going to come and knock you flat. It may even break you.
An Encouraging Word From the Word
I now leave you with the incredible encouragement of Ephesians 3:16-20, one of my favorite passages in the Bible:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Time to go finish the last part of my Enoch Walked with God and Had a Methuselah Moment blog posts. And to pray for those who are still feeling Irma’s ire.
Jesus Keeps His Appointments on CBN.com
I admit that title may be a bit confusing.
It sounds like Jesus only keeps His appointments on CBN.com. And what kind of appointments does He have there anyway?
Let me clear this up. Jesus Keeps His Appointments is a devotion I wrote for CBN.com — and you.
Check it out. You may even relate to an experience I share, although I hope not my exact experience.
But surely I’m not the only person who’s envisioned authorities notifying the Department of Social Services about their parenting skills — or lack thereof.
Click on this link to read the devotion and find out about my parenting skills and Jesus’ appointments:
And while you’re there, check out some of their other great devotions and articles.
May you discover the faithfulness of Christ today!
If you’d like to share it on Pinterest:
When God Isn’t Meeting Your Desperate Need
When I heard Bobby’s desperate scream from his room, fear shot through my heart. I couldn’t get to him fast enough.
My ten-year-old son had fallen on top of a folding chair which collapsed onto his right thumb and crushed it.
The pain paralyzed Bobby, making it impossible for him to lift himself off the chair. His thumb remained imprisoned in a vise grip.
I rushed to Bobby, snatched him up, and gasped.
What once was a thumb now appeared to be a spatula. A short, flat, bleeding spatula.
His thumbnail — now split down the middle — gushed blood. His flesh pushed through the crack in his nail.
Don’t faint, Jean. And certainly not onto Bobby.
I staggered to the phone and called my good friend and pediatrician Lynn.
She decoded my plea for help and said, “Jean, you need to calm down. And you need to squeeze his thumb to stop the bleeding.”
Squeeze Bobby’s crushed, bleeding, pain-inflicted thumb? Seriously?
I want a new friend and new pediatrician.
I took a deep breath and followed her orders. And I prayed a desperate prayer.
“Lord, do you see my son? He needs You. Now! Help him, please.”
The bleeding stopped. The pain didn’t. But eventually, Bobby’s thumb healed, and we moved on with our lives.
But that’s not always the case.
When Our Desperate Needs Won’t Go Away
My friend Callie texted me yesterday morning with a plea of desperation.
“Please pray for Elijah. He is in terrible pain this morning. Moaning and crying. Mommy’s heart is breaking.”
I cried for my dear friend and Elijah, her 10-year-old son.
Elijah has been experiencing debilitating pain. For the past 30 days. Thirty long, excruciating days. And the doctors don’t know why.
“Lord, do You see Callie’s son? Do you see Elijah?”
History and God’s Word proves God sees, and He cares.
Our present circumstances sometimes seem to challenge it, but the Truth remains.
Even if God doesn’t remove our desperate need the moment we pray, He sees and cares. He knows what He’s doing.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
Really? God delivers them from all their troubles? What about Elijah? He’s still in pain.
Our rescue doesn’t always come when and how we want. But it comes. God never fails.
As humans, we’re short-sighted. We can’t see the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). We can’t see all the moving — and non-moving — parts.
All we see is the small picture in front of us and what we’ve learned.
And what screams at us.
As Bobby screamed, I couldn’t see anything but his pain and my plea. I couldn’t see the Lord’s help.
I can’t see Elijah’s help with my physical eyes. But I can see it with my spiritual eyes. His help and his hope are in the Lord.
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.
Stand on God’s Character
When it seems God isn’t meeting your desperate needs, remember who He is.
Don’t lose sight of God or His unchanging character.
We’ll never understand all His ways or thoughts in this life. But we can always trust them (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Don’t walk away from God in your desperate need.
I know you’re hurt and angry. He knows it, too. He’s OK with raw emotion. Run to Him with it.
You can trust Him. You can trust His character.
This single unchanging truth has held me up when my circumstances threatened to crush me down. It will hold you, too. Don’t let go.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:18
Because we can trust God, we can say as Jesus did as He faced the cross:
Not my will but Yours be done.
~ Luke 22:42
Even if God doesn’t remove our circumstance in the fires of our pain and fear, we can trust in Him.
We can hold on. He will deliver us.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.
MercyMe’s Song of Hope “Even If”
In their song Even If, MercyMe shares a message of hope we all need to hear and remember.
Even if our we must wait on the Lord, we never wait in vain.
When our hope is in God, our help is on the way. It will be well with our soul. Amen.
For a list of the character traits of God, Click Here. I’ll continue to add more to the list, so check back often.
Don’t Stop. You’re Almost There!
My friend Traci Burns sent me her Mom’s Thought for the Week.
Now you have it, too. You’re welcome.
I needed to hear this today. Did you kamagra 100mg?
I’ll make you a deal. I won’t give up if you don’t.
Actually, I’m not giving up even if you do. But don’t you give up. You’re almost there!
Besides, we’d just have to start over if we quit. Let’s keep going instead.
But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
~ Habakkuk 2:3
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~ Isaiah 41:10