A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates." (Proverbs 31:30b-31, NASV)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Remembering Thanksgiving

When the weather turns cold outside, I admit that I can start to feel a little down. Cold weather means the holidays are around the corner, and then before you know it here we are at Thanksgiving, and my heart begins to freeze around the edges a little from longing for people from whom I stand on opposite shores across that wide expanse of an icy Lake called Hurts and Sorrows. Days like Thanksgiving and Christmas are "supposed" to be about getting together, "supposed" to be about creating new memories. But what happens when people can't get past the old memories? What happens when things become so cold that it burns and everything that once was, or maybe it never really was, but all of it either way goes up in smoke? It's so easy in moments like these to forget what we have to be thankful for. After all, this thing we call life can become awfully messy.


"Then King David said to the entire assembly, 'My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is still young and inexperienced and the work is great; for the temple is not for man, but for the Lord God. Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, onyx stones and inlaid stones, stones of antimony and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones and alabaster in abundance. Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple...'" (1 Chronicles 29:1-3 NASB).


And then I remember God. During these moments when I find myself sinking into the icy water, I remember the commitment I made to Him two years ago to put my faith in His son Jesus Christ, whose great love saves me. He pulls me out of the freezing water, no matter how deep in I may be - no matter how long I have been there or how numb I may feel. He saves me from me now and me later, from a me that deserves to drown. He has redeemed me from so many worldly mistakes, when I, too, was young and inexperienced. And still the work is great - still there are so many obstacles to work through, but the attempt, like the temple, is not for man, but for our Lord God. Two years ago I was drowning in my own sin, not realizing that I was homeless and dying, but since that day I have tried to build an inner house for my God - tried to learn how to give Him the soft things, the hard things, the warm things, the cold things, the precious things, the big and small things, and the treasured things; tried to learn how to cast iron for those things that must be forged with iron, how to cultivate gold for those things that must shine...and how to rejoice in Him so that I may have life in abundance. 


"So David blessed the Lord in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, 'Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name'" (1 Chronicles 29:10-13 NASB).


I don't know if I will ever be able to walk over the icy surface of the Lake of Hurts and Sorrows without falling completely in, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Jesus walked upon water and invited Peter to follow Him (Matthew 14); should He too tell me to "come" I pray that my faith will overcome my fear. God knows how the story ends. All I know right here right now is that there are things one cannot hold inside for too long without shattering from the inside out - it is better to give it to Him - to allow for His will to be done. All we can do is continue to build and continue to give and continue to praise His glorious name. And for the hope of Jesus, of having His hand to hold onto when I sink, I am so thankful.



"Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, 'It is a ghost!' And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.'

Peter said to Him, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' And He said, 'Come!' And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?' When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, 'You are certainly God’s Son!'" (Matthew 14:22-33 NASB).

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