So That We Can

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Driving home from work today, I passed a residential area.

For some reason, I thought about a senior citizen couple that lives there.

I haven’t seen them in quite a while.

Still, I remember their kindness from almost fifteen years ago.

My family and I were experiencing some very difficult circumstances.

This couple hosted a weekly prayer gathering at their home in a nearby town.

Someone who attended their gathering asked for prayer for us.

Just praying for our family would have been a wonderful thing.

This couple, however, went the extra mile.

Actually, it was the equivalent of several miles.

First, we received a phone call from them, inviting us to a service at their church.

After church, they wanted to buy lunch for our entire family of six at a nice restaurant.

When we arrived at the church, they were waiting outside the door, truly excited to meet us.

It was like we were long lost relatives that they had finally found!

This began a relationship of love and support as they continually reached out to us.

I remember them even taking our youngest two children out for put-put golf and to an animal petting zoo….

God’s love streamed from them into our family.

We joined their church and became very involved in many of its ministries.

Today, as I thought of how they had reached out to us when they had not yet even met us, a feeling came over me.

It wasn’t words in my mind but more of an encouragement in my heart.

An exhortation to be more like this couple.

A reminder to be more giving.

I will always remember how God loved us in that difficult time in our lives through the generosity and genuine care of those two precious people.

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

—2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Nothing Like Your Thoughts

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How big are your problems?

How big are mine?

I have had some really serious difficulties in my life.

It’s safe to assume that you have, too.

Things can happen that cause such pain and heartache.

Lesser problems may threaten to steal our joy, tempting us to trade worry for trust.

Recently, I drove past a lake and saw several sailboats on the water.

Stopping to photograph them, I captured a number of shots on that sunny day.

Looking at some of the photos tonight, I noticed something about one that I hadn’t before.

It appeared as though a giant bird had flown between two sailboats.

Of course, I had been far off on the boardwalk with my camera, so it only looks like a giant bird.

In reality, the wing span may have been two to three feet across.

I can assure you that I did not photograph a bird whose wings were equal in length to that of two sail boats—even though that’s what it looks like to me.

And there, in those last six words, is something to be considered.

When we experience problems, we know only what it looks like to us.

We can’t know what it looks like to God.

What our problems really are–every aspect of them–are fully known to Him.

God’s words to us as recorded in Isaiah 55:8-9 are these:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

We may see our problems as big as a giant bird the size of two boats, but God knows its true proportions.

In reality, whatever the size, God is able to handle it.

He is in control.

How big are our problems?

Smaller—-so much smaller—-than our God.

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I Have Overcome

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The afternoon breeze had the slightest chill as I sat in my lawn chair, hoping to get a photograph of a bird in a nearby nest.

Venturing out into the country, away from loud noises and constant distractions, it was nice just to think quietly and breathe in the fresh air.

After awhile, a woman came along, aware of the nest, high in the trees.

We talked briefly about birds and the weather…

Then, a man driving a truck with a horse trailer hitched on the back came driving up the dirt road.

Getting out, he explained that he was looking for a cemetery for a graveside service.

He was bringing the horse to the ceremony.

The woman I had just met was from the area and able to tell him where to go.

He told us the funeral was for a child—only three years old.

I didn’t ask why he was taking a horse there.

Was the horse the family’s animal?

Did the child love horses?

I hurt for the family, knowing their pain and grief surely must be great.

As the man left quickly, I simply said, “God bless you.”

There was nothing I could do to ease the sorrow of the moment.

Only God could meet that family in the deep places of their hearts with comfort, understanding and love.

As I left to go home, I photographed the road and the field beyond.

It was peaceful and quiet—serene.

Jesus said,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

—John 16:33

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