WEATHERING THE STORMS OF LIFE

All eyes are riveted on images of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation as news feed comes in this morning. It will take weeks and months to realize the full scope of this super-storm and its impact on the East coast and our nation. There will be many stories of amazing survival, heroic rescues, as well as tragic loss of life and property. As a nation, we have been caught up in a political storm that has raged for months. With the presidential election just days away, that storm was reaching its full fury when Sandy blew into town.  As epic disasters do, it will remind us for a little while that no matter what our political bent, we are all Americans first. I believe we will rise to the occasion, put our differences aside, and do what we can to help those in need. The National Guard is on the scene. The Coast Guard pulled off a daring rescue at sea. Convoys of ambulances arrived from other states. In days ahead, volunteer teams will join the efforts of organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Samaritan’s Purse to lend a helping hand. Many will step up to the plate with financial donations and prayers to back up the boots on the ground. Our efforts will communicate to traumatized people, “You are not alone. We’ve got your back. Everything will be all right.” We may not all go through a monster storm like Hurricane Sandy, but we will all face the storms of life, sooner or later. When that happens, friends, family, and sometimes, even strangers, will come along side us, and with their words and other expressions of compassion, assure us, “We’re in this with you. Everything will be all right.” I desperately needed that assurance in 1991, when my husband, Jon was hospitalized with a second round of acute lymphocytic leukemia. When I called our pastor, Steve, with the news, he said, “We’re going to stand with you through this.” I heard, “It’s going to be all right.” Jon died four months later. I was left to single-parent our two young teenage daughters. The Body of Christ – other believers – became “God-with-skin-on” to me: The first Christmas after Jon died, Steve took my girls to find a tree, something their dad traditionally did. Friends included us in their holiday celebrations. There was always a listening ear available when I needed it. Men from church showed up at my house with tool boxes whenever repairs were needed. I received enough cards of encouragement to fill a Hallmark store. With the help of God, friends, and family, I weathered my personal “Perfect Storm.”  Just as the recovery and rebuilding of New Orleans and Joplin, MO took time after their storms, it took time to heal the wounds of my broken heart. There have been other lesser storms in my life, but through each one, God faithfully provided the people and means needed to make it through. I have come out on the other side, stronger in many ways. Though life is not fair in many ways, I can say, “God is good – all the time.” Life can be hard. We need to stick together. Let’s be God-with-skin-on for each other. Certainly, we can do that for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but let’s also ask God to open our eyes and hearts to those struggling around us. We are the hands and feet of Christ. Whether it is by a simple phone call, card, kind word or thoughtful deed, let us share the hope that is ours: God loves us; He will give us what we need, when we need it. Everything is going to be all right. NOTE: I am available for speaking at your next women’s ministry event. I would love to share my presentation, “Staying Firmly Anchored In The Storms Of Life.” Learn how to prepare for the storms of life, how to know peace in the midst of them, and how to pick up the pieces and press on after the storm has passed. Contact me at...

THE LAST DAYS…

The Last Days are here…the 2012 Presidential Election will soon be history. Hallelujah! To be sure, the bickering won’t stop with the election results; no matter who wins the votes, the opposition will second-guess and criticize for the next four years. Although I vote in every election, I confess I do not put my faith in any one political party or candidate to solve the complicated problems we face. If I wake up on November 6th to find that the “other guy” won, my hope for America and the future will not be shaken. The psalmist David had the same confidence as I profess: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). Call me crazy, but I’m putting my trust in the LORD God Almighty to see me through what ails our country and what may personally befall me. Does that mean I don’t think it matters who is elected? Yes and no. What it means is that no matter who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, God is still on His throne and sovereign over all. Leaders rise up and fall under God’s watchful eye. While many of them do not govern according to God’s will, ultimately, God’s purposes will be accomplished –unwittingly by them, and even in spite of them. God’s main purpose is that people would know Him. When Pharaoh refused to free the Hebrews from their bondage, Moses delivered this message to him from God: I will send the full force of my plagues upon you and your officials and your people, so that you may know there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose… (Exodus 9:13-16). Daniel respectfully served King Nebuchadnezzar, but he knew Who was really in charge: He prayed, “Praise be to the name of God forever and ever… he sets up kings and deposes them” (Dan. 2:20, 21). “He sets up kings and deposes them…” Could that still be true today? The early church was persecuted by the mad emperor Nero, yet the apostle Paul urged fellow believers “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). There is a bigger plan, a bigger story than just who wins the presidency of the United States. Scripture tells us we are living in the last days – days that will culminate with Christ’s return to this earth.  The big question will not be “Did you vote for Barak Obama or Mitt Romney?” The question will be, “Did you choose Jesus?” As believers, let our speech be so seasoned with grace that our political stances do not drown out the gospel. May we respect the office of the President, and be faithful to pray for him (Consider joining the Presidential Prayer Team). Be sure to vote, but please, also get down on your knees for this election and for the future and direction of our country…We are in the Last...