Tag Archives: faith

House Arrest?

Her words caused my breathing to stop. For a moment.

How could it possibly be?

“You are under house arrest. You must stay inside and talk to no one,”

My thoughts raced in a million different directions.

What had I done?

Here I was thousands of miles from home.

I was in the process of completing an adoption

and suddenly this.

Instantly there was fear.

How long would it last?

What if? A million what ifs.

 There was no way to communicate with my family in the states.

No. There I was.

So what do you do when suddenly life changes

and the unexpected happens?

What do you do when you realize that you are helpless to change things?

“O Lord. I really need your help.”

I prayed and prayed.

Hours dragged by as I sat in the small room with only a narrow bed.

One minute at a time.

I never expected that my desire to adopt would lead to this.

Simple meals were brought to my door.

No words.

Then my worse thought  hit me.

Would I ever get out?

To see my little girl at home?

My parents?

Ugh, but I was seemingly helpless. No phone.

It was at a time of unrest in the world many years ago

and for me a time of awakening.

These things really do happen to ordinary people. Like you. Like me.

I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time it seemed.

House arrest?

Me?

Well, after a few days I was released

and was flown out of that part of the country

and back to a safer city.

But I’ll never forget that scary experience.

While the world kept turning

I sat and prayed for release, for freedom.

And in His time

God made it possible for me to be safely released

to board a small, very old, rickety plane

and to fly. Just me and 3 other foreign men.

Hair-raising moments? Yes.

Today as I remember

I’m grateful beyond words

that I was released.

Quietly set free and flown out of that hot spot.

Grateful to once again experience God’s hand in the details of my life.

And while we experience all kinds of changes and unsettledness today

it’s reassuring to know

that God hears our prayers.

He knows exactly what is going on

where you live

and where I live.

He knows how trapped some people feel,

He knows how much we miss what we used to do.

Yes, He knows.

And even though we don’t understand everything

we can trust Him

with all of our moments.

He has us safely in His care.

We do not wait in vain.

Let’s just rest in His arms while we wait

knowing that we are not alone.

And nowhere could be safer

than in His tender care.

 

 

Where Do You Look For Help?

Where do you look for help?

Difficulties abound. Financial disaster. Disease. Decisions.

Debates rage. Back and forth. Emotional pain.

Where do you look for help?

Politicians want us to look to them for assistance.

Doctors want us to look to them for healing.

Administrators want us to look to them for solutions.

But no matter how they try

   those sources are imperfect.

Years ago when in a tough place David penned these words.

“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

If we look to politicians we will be disappointed.

If we look to physicians we will be confused.

If we look to friends and family we will grow more and more frustrated.

Only God is worthy of our trust and confidence.

He knows the beginning from the end.

The Lord sees and knows the way we should take.

Our wisdom is found in crying out to Him and then waiting on Him.

Listening. Being still. Seeking His Will above all.

Where do you look for help?

My help comes from the Lord.

How about you?

 

 

The Power Of Focus

 

When we deal with difficult circumstances it is essential that we pay attention to what we are focusing on. If we feed our fears and starve our faith, we will grow weaker and more depressed and discouraged. If we feed our faith and starve our fears, we will grow stronger and more confident. Whatever you focus on expands.

     It can happen so easily. This morning a few folks shared with me their fears regarding COVID-19 and finances. I listened and certainly understood their concerns. I’ve  experienced some difficult stretches in my own life so I could easily validate their concerns. But after speaking with them it hit me. Yes, afterwards the seeds of their fears lodged in my mind. I found myself worrying about what the financial impact would be on my family.

     But then it subtly grew from concern to a strange feeling of weakness. It wasn’t clear for awhile why the weakness had come over me. Was I sick? But as time passed I realized that I had shifted from a position of faith and trust in the Lord to one of concern and very subtle worry. Fear of the unknown was growing deep within. As soon as I realized the source and how the seeds of earlier conversations had lodged in my mind, I took steps to eradicate them. Putting on some worship music, I focused on all God’s greatness and Power. I remembered how He had provided for me in the past and how I knew He would again. My heart grew lighter and the weakness slowly passed.

     Whatever we focus upon expands. It’s an important truth. The mind expands in relation to what our thoughts dwell upon. And it grows and grows and grows. So if we have a fearful thought, that will grow leading to anxiety, stress and more fear. The opposite is also true. If we focus upon God’s Power to overcome anything, our minds are focused upon faith. We will grow strong in that faith and even draw more evidences of faith to us.

    Now this is an amazing tool when you think about it. We have control over what we choose to feed our mind. Some folks are pushing away from the news these days. Others are limiting how much they listen to it. They have discovered that it feeds the mind with negativity and worrisome thoughts that don’t help them live and have productive, joy-filled lives.

     Others are intentionally listening to music that encourages and builds hope. I’ve been delighted to see the number of social media posts with uplifting music. As we listen to those songs our hearts relax and we remember. Although this chaos hit us unaware, music reminds us that there is a higher truth. We can rise above the present circumstances and focus on the good, the kindnesses that are so evident, God’s faithfulness, and most of all, our ability to choose.

     Maybe you have difficulty focusing on the good and feeding your faith. Maybe for you it’s a straight uphill battle. I understand. There have been times of great change in my life where it was difficult to just get out of bed in the morning. It was hard to imagine life ever being ok much less good. But, you know, it happened. Slowly one day at a time I took the next step. I did what I could do that day and those small steps took me to a different place. Yes, I found myself at a place I would never have been if it had not been for those difficult circumstances.

    I discovered through that that even though we are shaken by sudden change we need not be defeated. We can choose what our mind focuses upon and draw even more faith to us. We can open our eyes to see the bigger picture- not just what it’s like for us. Suddenly we are not alone. Others are struggling and unsure.

    So how do you focus your mind on faith? Here are some steps to take:

  1. Assess where you are right now
  2. Tell yourself a positive truth based on God’s Truth
  3. Intentionally focus on the good things, no matter how small
  4. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Challenge any negative thoughts
  5. Stay in the present
  6. Find some faith-focused friends, co-workers, family members

 

     Lastly, take time to remember. Yes, remember the times of chaos in your life and how you survived then. Think back to previous experiences of chaos and notice how you managed to come through. Whether it was a tornado experience, a devastating hurricane, a divorces, an illness, etc take time to reflect on how you made it through. What did you do? Who was there? What did you turn to?

    Remembering helps me realize how many times I’ve coped with chaos in the past and survived. Again and again I’ve experienced that feeling of devastation and fear but I survived. At the time it was very difficult and scary. But looking back I can see how God sustained me and helped me one day at a time. Life went on. But I was different.

   Yes, through every chaos I’ve grown.  I still feel the fears of sudden change and chaos but I know Who to go to and I know that nothing is a surprise to God. He will help me as He’s promised to and as He has done again and again in my life. Will there be changes? Absolutely. But He is in control and I can trust Him.

  • This is from my soon to be released book Finding Faith in the Chaos