Don’t Be Moved

027Hummingbird perched like an miniature statue on the feeder, waiting for me to leave.

For I had stepped outside on the porch while I finished talking to my mother on the phone.

Although I was within spitting distance, Hummingbird didn’t dart away. No ruffling of the feathers, no high-pitched protest. No turning of the head to stare me down. Neither did he drink.

When I went inside and watched him through the screen door, he came to life. His spear-like beak sipped sugar water from the hole in the feeder as though he were drinking through a straw.

Ever so gently, I opened the screen door. Would he fly away?

No. He stopped drinking, cocked his head heavenward, and waited as if he had all the time in the world.

Like a game of freeze tag, neither one of us moved a muscle. 

Hummingbirds have scolded me from afar, waited for me to leave so they could swoop down and drink. Others have zoomed past my head like dive bombers, warning me to leave the area. But I’ve never encountered a hummingbird as stoic as this one.

Curiosity urged me to see how long Hummingbird could be still. But admiration and empathy for the brave little fellow made me surrender, let him win.

He had claimed his post, he would not be moved.  

From the kitchen window, I watched Hummingbird quench his thirst. 

And as my feathered friend clung to the feeder that provided him sustenance, I recalled this verse:

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him;

for my hope and expectation are from Him.

He only is my Rock and my Salvation;

He is my Defense and my Fortress,

I shall not be moved.”  (Psalm 62:5,6)

The Moment Just Before

 “‘Well,” said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ― A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

That moment is called…

Anticipation: the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.

Think of expectations leading to Christmas Day.

·         Boxes wrapped in colorful paper, filled with who knows what.

·         Fresh sheets on the guest bed, ready for out-of-town company.

·         Scent of homemade cookies in the oven, tempting taste buds.

·         Family traditions and memories waiting to happen.

·         Children, longing for that special toy, unable to sleep

Could it be that ….

“Anticipation is sometimes more exciting than actual events.” ― Ana Monnar

 Perhaps, unless those events surrounded Jesus’ birth.

Imagine people’s anticipation who grew up hearing the prophecies/predictions of a coming Messiah.

And then Immanuel, “God with us,” stepped into their lives, exceeding expectations.

·      Mary expected to deliver a baby boy, who was no ordinary child. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” 

·      Joseph expected the angel of the Lord’s prediction to come true, and named the baby “Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.”

Shepherds heard the good news. “A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord….So they hurried off (with anticipation) to find the baby lying in the manger (exactly like the angel predicted) and they were amazed.”

Magi from the east traveled with gifts to see the Christ Child. And when they found him, “they were overjoyed, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”

 

Today …

·         Christ is exalted, seated at the right hand of God, the Father.

·         Good news is preached.

·         People are saved from their sins.

·         Believers worship Jesus, the risen Savior.

Only now, there’s another event that Christians anticipate.

Jesus said, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)

Confident God’s Word is true,

 “We eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:21)

And yet, a moment just before we behold Jesus face-to-face, will not be better than being in His presence ….

Because Christ will exceed even our greatest expectations!

Rest in the Lord is a “Bear” Necessity

Autumn is here, and my mind travels back in time to another October in the year, B.C. (before children), when my husband and I first moved to California. One weekend, we visited Yosemite National Park.

Being young and spontaneous, we didn’t make campsite reservations. So we had to pitch our two-man pup tent outside the park in the National Forest.

There was nothing around us, but trees, dirt, and critters that went BOO in the night.

Bears rule in Yosemite. And there was no lack of signs warnings us: DON’T FEED THE BEARS. DON’T LEAVE FOOD IN YOUR TENT. DON’T LEAVE BACKPACKS UNATTENDED.

Imagine my fright when I’m lying in my sleeping bag, and I hear noise: something rustling in the bushes, footsteps that sounded like Tyrannosaurus Rex, and heavy breathing that wasn’t coming from my husband who was sound asleep.

The only thing between me and the noise was a tent wall…a thin piece of nylon material held up by plastic, collapsible poles. Trust me, if a bear wanted to harm us, he didn’t have to claw his way through the zippered door panel. He could have sat on our tent and smothered us to death.

 Frantic, I woke my husband. “There’s a bear outside the tent.”

“He won’t bother us,” he groaned. “We don’t have food in the tent.”

“Maybe he can smell food on our clothes.”

“Don’t worry. I have an ax.”

“What if it’s someone with a gun who wants to steal our car?”

“Car thieves don’t normally roam the National Forest at midnight.” Husband yawned. “Go back to sleep.”

Maybe trusting my husband was a false sense of security, but I took my husband at his word. I closed my eyes and slept like a baby all night long.

When I woke up the next morning I was rested.

But my unshaven husband had dark bags beneath his eyes. He hadn’t slept a wink. Listening to the night noises, he’d kept a death grip on the ax, ready to defend me.

Now Husband isn’t all powerful like the Lord, but He loves me. And that night gave me a glimpse of what it means to “rest in the Lord.”

When the dark closes in on me, and fear troubles my soul, I cast my burdens onto the Lord, and rest.

 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Smoke from a distant wild fire settles over the dry, brown land like a grey,wool blanket.

Air is heavy, unfit to breathe. Stuck indoors, I’m disappointed. But I don’t complain.

I’d rather have smoke than flames.

I remember the wild fire that lit up the landscape of Colorado this past June. I sat glued to the news, watching the fire rage like a mad man, destroying 500 homes. timber, and two souls in its path.

I once lived in Colorado. Tears accompanied my prayers for friends who packed suitcases and waited, ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

To me, their homes were more than brick and wood. We sat together in their homes, celebrating birthdays, baby showers, holidays.

Memories were made and friendships born in those homes.

Would everything go up in smoke?

While I waited for news, the ancient question spewed from my lips, “God, why are you allowing this? My friends are good people.”

I know that “God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God.” (Romans 8:28)

But NOT THIS….purification by fire.

Praise God, my friends’ homes were spared. But the land, not far from where they live, was scorched and blackened like a war zone.

Recently, I heard about another fire in Mexico.

The family lost everything they owned. And they owned very little.

Before it happened, my son had returned from a mission trip and told me about the generous Mexican woman. She had taken the little money she had to prepare platters of fresh tamales for the church youth group who were working at a nearby church.

And this was her reward?

Instead of receiving a blessing, her house burned down?

The same question slithers like a serpent and whispers in my ear. Why?

Why did God allow this to happen?

It’s a question I ask when life doesn’t seem fair.

When good things happen, the question doesn’t enter my mind.

What is good?

Dying on the cross? Not good, but that’s how Christ paid the penalty for my sins.

Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers? Not good, but God meant it for good.

A home destroyed by fire? Not good, but even now, God is orchestrating His church to love this family in Mexico and help restore their possessions.

How can my earth-bound finite mind comprehend the good that will come to this woman and her family? Not just a new home, but God’s good purposes that I can’t see.

So rather than be God’s fair weather friend...only praising Him when “good things happen.”

I shall repent in dust and ashes like Job, “You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I–and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.’ “ (Job 42:3)

With an attitude of thanksgiving, I will wait patiently for the winds to shift, blow away the smoke, and bring blue skies again.

How Do You Cope with Chronic Pain?

OUCH is not the best word to define my PAIN last weekend.

With a bucket of sunflower seeds in my hand, I was walking up the slope of my backyard towards the bird feeder when a wasp flew between my left foot and the flip flop I was wearing.

My foot came down on the wasp, and his stinger went into the arch of my foot.

I’ve never been stung by a wasp. So despite my previous blog about fear, I have never feared wasps. Now I have a healthy respect for the venom in their sting.

I tried many remedies: baking soda, apple cider vinegar, soaking my foot in lavender water, but my foot would not be comforted. Sharp, prickling pain radiated throughout my whole foot. 

But what I learned from the circumstance is not …”avoid wasps.”

My lesson was the impact physical pain has on my mental welfare. (And I have a HIGH pain tolerance)

Weary of the pain, I took a Tylenol and went to bed, hoping a nap would help me escape. When I woke up, my foot still pulsated and I could not put weight on my foot.

I gave up the idea of yard work, but no leisure activity could distract me from the pain.

All I could think about was… the pain.

Like a prima donna,  pain took center stage, nagged me throughout the weekend, refused to be ignored.

So tell me, how do people live with chronic pain?

How does someone get up each morning knowing nothing has changed, and perhaps never will?

I knew my foot would improve. I just had to rest, and be patient especially when the next day came and my foot still throbbed.

But a wasp sting is nothing compared to the chronic pain resulting from surgery, back problems, or side effects of chemotherapy.

PAIN also describes grief which can incapacitate someone.

Revelations 21:4 offers hope. “He (GOD) shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain…”

But until that future day comes, this blogger wants to know….

  • How do you endure chronic pain?
  • How do you find emotional strength to carry on?
  • How do you rest in God’s promises in the midst of battle fatigue?

Do you know?