Just one moment

It catches you off guard. You’re racing around, making yourself busy, checking things off the list, and all of the sudden it springs out of no where, like the first flower emerging from the snow.

Quiet.

Peace.

Nothing to do, no where to go, not a person around. These moments come few and far between these days for me, and I’m sure for you as well. And they most certainly catch me off guard. I’m so busy making myself busy that I don’t know how to shut off, close off for a moment and just rest. I hear God calling out to me to take refuge in Him, to rest and fill my cup, but busyness is so enticing. Being busy makes me feel like I’m “doing something” with my life. Think about it- when someone asks you what you have to do today, the majority of us feel better rattling off a list than we would if we said “Nothing. I have absolutely nothing to do today.” Busy sounds important, and that is so wrong.

How many times does the Bible tell us to rest with God? How many times do you hear God calling to His people to come to Him when they are burdened, to cast their cares and worries on Him. Over and over again God invites us to Him, and we respond with a simple “not yet- in a minute”.

I’m almost convinced God hates busy. Of course God loves work, He wouldn’t have created it for us if He hated it. He gave Adam and Eve jobs- so it’s not work that He hates. I think it’s the checklists, the things we add to our already ridiculous lives before completing the tasks we already have. He hates seeing “prayer and Bible time” at the end of the list, if it makes it on the list at all. Why? Well- how are you going to fuel your day if you eat late at night?

We’re looking into a brand new year, one with the chance to bring a vast array of things. Each time we start a new year, we mentally give ourselves a clean slate, a start over, if you will.  Take a moment to look over 2012. Enjoy the memories, feel the pain that was so real and present, praise God for a season that is different then any other in your life. Think about things you would have done differently, lessons you learned, perhaps the hard way. Take all of that and spring forward. Look at 2013 as new, fresh, wide open. God calls us to lay what hinders us at the cross and walk hand in hand with Him, and I think the last day of the year is as good as ever to start that. Challenge yourself to read His word more, to perhaps join a Bible study, a prayer group, go volunteer somewhere that you can share His love with others. And don’t underestimate yourself- all things are possible if you walk with Jesus through them, and He will see your desire to know Him more, and He will bless you for it.

Take just one moment- now or later tonight, and rest. Sit in silence before the God who created you, the God who knows the beginning and the end, who’s thoughts about you are too high to count, who sees each tear that falls from your eyes. Take a moment and feel the love He has for you, let it overwhelm you, and just enjoy the gifts He has for you.

Side note: I leave in 5 days. My heart is overwhelmed. I’m happy, sad, excited, scared, expectant, tired and no where near ready, but I’m going. My life is a bit of a mess right now, but I trust that Jesus can make something beautiful out of it. I deeply appreciate your prayers, especially for financial provision. I’m trying my best to keep my focus on God rather than my lack of finances, and also to remember the blessings He has already given to me. I’d like to wish you a very happy new beginning, and thank you for reading this year. I’m ready and excited to see what 2013 has in store.

final (2 of 1)

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Flurries and thankfulness

My mind and my heart are having a hard time connecting as I think about the next three weeks. Family Christmas events times two, weddings, packing, watching a sweet little boy, Visa’s, goodbyes and hello’s. It’s too much for my heart to handle, which is why I’m especially thankful in this season for my Father. In the past little while I haven’t written publicly, mainly because I’ve been processing inwardly through my prayers and my journal and I’ve found the process to be quite healing and revealing. This post may not flow well, transitions from one topic to the next may be quick and not so eloquent, but nonetheless, it’s all from the heart.

I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on the past year, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year. Even so, I’ve been incredibly blown away by how consistent God is, and how weak and short sighted I am. I started this year in the unknown, not knowing why I was still in Canada, what I’d be doing next, where I’d be a year from then- I didn’t know much. I knew I was loved, cared for, thought of constantly and pursued fervently by God, and on some days, that was my only saving grace. He brought me through a month of funerals and was my only solid rock, He gave me direction and multiple confirmations that YWAM Kona is a good next step. He guided me into a job transition and gave me a fresh perspective on an old environment. In His unpredictable yet perfect timing, He walked a man into my life who has taught me, challenged me, pursued me and given me so much joy- I’m watching a story unfold that deep down I didn’t think would ever happen. This year has been good. It’s been incredibly difficult and at times felt so long and painful, but true Joy, joy only given from my First Love -Jesus, has found its way inside this messy heart, and is a very welcome guest.

I was mildly tempted last week to write about the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut, but I decided against it. Not because I don’t care for those people, nor because it’s not important, but because I knew you’d all have your share of things to read regarding why it happened, what should be done now, rage from the public and the lack of answers from authorities. I did, though, spend some time thinking about suffering, because- shooting or not- we’ve all suffered. And this big looming question still hangs in the air like a thick cloud of smoke “Why does God allow suffering?” I know God did not ask that man to walk into that school and destroy parts of His perfect creation, and I know He could have stopped it, so why didn’t He? My answers aren’t perfect, they’re just what I’ve conjured up after my own times of suffering. When I get to the bottom of the pit, when I feel as if I’ve never even had a cup to overflow, I reach out. When I’m being wise, I reach out for God, for His Word, to people who will pray with and for me, to those who see my hurt and cry when I cry (1 Cor. 12:26). Does this make the pain go away? Does it bring back the people we lost, or put a patch on the parts of our lives that were torn apart? No- God doesn’t promise that. He promises to be with us (Josh.1:9). He promises to be our strength when we have none (Psalm 46:1). He promises that we will suffer and the world will hate us (John 15:18), and He promises that we are blessed when we suffer, for the Kingdom of Heaven is ours (Matt.5:10). When I hit my low this year, I was empty. The words “why” crossed my mind so many times, and one answer returned “I see each tear that falls Sam, I’ve counted them in my books. I didn’t promise a life without pain or suffering, but I promised to stand beside you in it all. Let me take your confusion and your pain and turn them into something beautiful. Let me handle this, because I alone am capable. Lean on me and you will never fall- maybe you’ll stumble here and there, but I am above and beyond all that you can see- let this comfort you.”

We’re living in the aftershock of terrible things, and right now we have a choice. Do we sit with the rest of the world and cry “Why?!” in anger and mistrust? I don’t think so. Sit with the world- yes. Meet others in their suffering, cry with them, comfort them as God comforts you- but be ready. The questions will come that only Jesus is the answer to, and you’ll have a perfect chance to share with them the hope that you have.

Phew- that was a ramble and a half. Sometimes words flow out of me like water and I guess this was one of those times. In the next 3 weeks I’ll be doing a lot of preparing, preparations to leave and preparations to arrive. I would so appreciate all of your prayers as I already know this is going to be one very difficult good-bye. But I am expectant of what is in store- very excited to meet nearly 30 students who will be asking tough questions, pursuing God with all they have, and challenging me to my core. I am more blessed than I will ever realize, and I need to remember that at all times. Prayer for courage, trust in God’s timing and a thankful heart would be so good right now. I’m thankful I can count on you for that 🙂

I hope you have time this Christmas, or more that you make time this Christmas, to just sit with Jesus. Sit with the One who was born to die for you. Sit and be honest with him, whether it’s about the pain inside of your heart, or a deep overwhelming sense of blessing. He sees your heart, He feels each heartbeat, so why not sit and be honest with yourself and Him about what’s rushing around in it? May you be blessed continuously as you pursue a Father who is so in love with you. Merry Christmas!!

2011

With Strength that is not my own, Sam