Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 7)

Written on 11/14/21

‘Tis an early sunset on this gentle night; though all is not calm and all is not bright.

I guess I’m not ready for darkness’ descent; my mind is torn, my bandwidth is spent.

But alas, these signs, we cannot change despite the dawns now closer in range.

And so I press on and count the cost wondering if this year has been lost.

One thing for sure are the lessons won; these three alone are worth the run.

1) If you’re stuck between a rock and hard place, make God the latter to trust Him in pace.

2) If you’re weary at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on; let this be how you cope.

3) If you’re lost at a sea, at a point of breaking, change your course; leave peace in your waking.

To do these things in trial is hard; why not let God guide you in front and rear guard?

Selah.

Footnotes (per series above)

1) When you allow God to be your rock in difficult situations, you focus your mindset on what doesn’t change as opposed to what does (see Psalm 18). Not to mention you eliminate negativity on one side of the equation to scale your problems proportionally. Why not invite the ultimate absolute into your midst and make Him your trust?

2) The beauty of crisis and chaos is this silver lining: When you feel there’s nothing else to grab hold of, you can always grab hold of your rock (see #1; verses below)

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”~ Matthew 5:3 (MSG)

I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death. If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.” ~ Psalm 143:7-10 (MSG)

3) While some may feel like they’re holding on for dear life, for others, the circumstances may seem more like a crossroads. How many of you can recall a particular intersection you felt like no matter what direction you chose, the outcome was a lose-lose?

If you can relate, consider the fact…

When you’re at a breaking point, you can make it a turning point.

Per Romans 4:1-3 (MSG): “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”

Often, when we’re struggling, we balk at full surrender or rely on our own terms. I know for me, there are times when I succeed in admitting helplessness, yet stray trying to make sense of my surroundings. If you’re ever caught in this conundrum, rather than entertain dark thoughts, let God’s spirit sustain you (Proverbs 18:15) as you steer into His presence, goodness, sovereignty, etc. In this way, you can find a corrected course divinely set without the striving.

Cover photo creds: wallspaperwide.com

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 6)

It’s a chilling 72 degrees as I type this.

Still rattling from another week of dodging arrows, taking them in the back in some cases.

I’m done with this. I’m so fed up and yet starving at the same time. Forget why; I just want to know when.

When will things get better? When will things start to turn around?

I look at Juby and I delight in her progress. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the journey…the literal baby steps one must take during these intense stretches.

But when it’s Monday morning and you’ve been out of home for three months. When it’s a brand new day and your only source of sanctuary betrays you, I’m sorry, I just can’t even…

…not anymore.

Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t given up or anything. Contrarily, I sometimes wonder if not knowing how to not believe is part of what’s working.

Yet, as I continue to wrestle and keep my head above the water, I discover new depths to what faith is like at the end of its rope…

…and it is gloriously terrifying. A place you relish and long to relinquish at the same time.

Like many paradoxes, the dichotomy is confusing. After all, vertical reliance is supposed to be uncomfortable – an achy burn as opposed to a contagious high.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: I trust God has something in store for Lys & I once this season blows over. It’s just getting harder to move, to leave the house, to function really. Even though we’re hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, even though we’re perplexed on multiple fronts, but not [yet in] despair, the temptation to think otherwise entices me.

How can the life of Jesus fully manifest when all I can do is stand? How can His glory be revealed when I’m this lost searching for a horizon to light my way?

Sure, I can stiff-arm fear all day, but at day’s end, I just want to know where I am headed.

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there wondering this right now.

Disoriented and fatigued, my charge tonight is simple…

If you find yourself at the end of your rope, rejoice in the stillness and tie a knot.

You may feel like you’re trembling on a precipice, but where courage lacks is also where much is given. In time, you will be able to strain forward to what lies ahead. For now, embrace the opportunity to receive as you persevere, let steadfastness have its full effect, and hold fast the confession of hope without wavering.

Even when you step out of your car and a freak gear glitch causes it to launch into a neighbor’s yard before you somehow, someway stop it from crashing into their house, count it all joy. Tally up His goodness and scale your conflicts accordingly.

Take it from one in the trenches with you. Your life isn’t as broken as you think. And even if it is, there’s not a solve or repair unbeknownst to God.

Why not trust the handiness of His hands as you trade in your sorrows?

Just sayin’…

Selah.

Cover photos creds: Word Slingers

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 4)

So…I was going to write about some more NICU life lessons today…

…however, as you may have heard, the game-plan got rained on.

Literally.

Thanks to a washer malfunction, a waterfall formed in my house for the first time…leading to a half-inch of pipe water sloshing from laundry room to front door.

Of course, of all the seasons for this to happen, this happens now.

I mean…I know when it rains it pours. But c’mon, life, this is ridiculous.

Seriously, dear God, I know you’re up there! Can Lys & I catch a little break…maybe?

*Sigh*

Oh, wait. That’s right, Lord. You are the break when we need to brake. How foolish of me to think otherwise. When we need to stop and breathe, you are the breath in our lungs. I only have to look so far as the ventilator in front of me.

And as the bells and whistles go off again, I’m reminded to the extent we endure crisis with character and fear with faith, to that extent our capacity to trust in You increases.

Knowing this, I thank you for not only trusting me and Lys with Jubilee, but also with smaller-scale (yet still significant) troubleshootings through which we can model perseverance to our neighbors, both literally and figuratively.

Per 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (see below), reset that big picture once again so I may be good to go by your goodness.

As for you, my friends, when physical, emotional, and/or relational pipe bursts in your life, count in all joy, consider what God is expanding in your life, and ‘baby-step’ your trust in Him as you walk with Him.

It always takes a journey and often a village, but take it from a broken man. If all you can do is say, ‘Yes’ and roll with it, you have won…

…in Jesus’ name.

You have won.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Wallpaper Safari

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 2)

Lately, I’ve been thinking about dust. After all, I need a new Swiffer. Possibly another Dyson.

However, in this case, I’ve been contemplating not only my relationship with God, but my relationship to God.

For when in crisis, it’s hard not to consider the contrasts…

  • When chaos is great, God is greater.
  • If man is small, how much less are his problems?
  • If man can do good, how much more can God do likewise?

You get the drift.

Granted, it makes sense to embrace these dichotomies in seasons of trials; hence, why I’m writing this.

‘Cause truth is…

When we wrestle with God during challenging times, we’re wrestling in our weakness to understand Him…and trust IN Him.

As the story of Jacob’s wrestling match (Genesis 32) tells us, there is a holy way to contend as we confront our failures and frailties.

The question is: How do we model this type of dependence?

For starters, I submit we perceive our smallness as a big deal. As the Scriptures stress, we are significant, yet small compared to the grandeur of the Almighty (Psalm 40:17, Isaiah 66:1-2, James 4:8-10); in fact, the Hebrew word for ‘wrestle’ literally translates to dust. Go figure!

As such, we can take joy knowing the freedom of living life to scale in the fullness of who God is.

For when we embrace our weakness at the feet of Jesus, we can accept how struggling with God in faith leads to peace, revelation, even blessings. This ties to the concept of divine wrestling being a grappling of our humanity and a tenacious acceptance into intimacy. Just as God relentlessly pursues us, so is there a renewing of life when we hold onto the vastness that is Him.

My encouragement to you, my friends, is this: If you’re, like me, feeling like dry bones, as if you’re going back and forth between, ‘All I can do is stand’ and ‘All I want to do is fight’, understand the reason you’re not alone is also the reason you’re more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) with life to come back to.

While the ways to restoration are many, dare to see wrestling with God as a spectacular way to get there. Even if you feel too weak or too stuck, remember who you are in light of God and what you can do when you view perseverance as a way to discover Him. You’ll find as you abide in God’s sovereignty, the more capacity you’ll have to hope while receiving His strength in place of cheerful fatalisms.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Shutterstock

Miracle in the Making: The Jubilee Journey (Part 1)

Written August 28, 2021

A few thoughts coming off a quick coffee chat with dad…

No question, it’s been a crazy month – probably the most intense, unpredictable 2-3 week stretch I’ve ever endured. But somehow, someway, I’ve unlocked a few secrets on how to overcome anxiety while operating in stillness. While a second post will debut later this month, I figured I share a few breakthrough breadcrumbs for now:

1) Slow It Down – When we sense the target on our back, human nature is to panic and accelerate to resolution. Unfortunately, this is where many of us trip up. While prayerful proaction is ideal, when we’re striving for answers to stay ahead of the arrows, we tend to create more stress for ourselves. We beg God to know ‘why’ to justify the cry as if there’s no silver linings in persevering; however, when we surrender amidst the chaos and still ourselves in the face of uncertainty, only then can we truly embrace that James 1:2-4 joy.

In my case, there have been many problems of late. Yet, I’m grateful for them as they’ve helped me learn how living in slow motion can be a bridge to calmness. Granted, it’s a paradox to any cultural definition of pace. Then again, we’re called to run the race, not race the run. Given the latter doesn’t even make sense, I’d say all the more reason to stay cool when…

2) Defer Worry – When we feel stuck in a rut, like the cosmos is out to get us, the temptation to worry (and the emotions involved) is completely valid. I know for me when the break I crave seems far out of reach, I often cater to self-preservation as a means to sanity. Yet, as the Juby journey has taught me, when we acknowledge our weakness as an extension of worship, we find God’s perspective scaling our issues to the point deferring worry makes more sense than yielding to it.

To use a football analogy, the next time you feel sacked by negativity, invite God into the fear, press into His promises, and punt the worry away*. As Psalm 57:2 says, “[We] cry out to God who fulfills his purpose for [us]”. We may not understand the timing of them or the reasons for them; however, when we silence our ego, we enhance that still small voice reminding us how God’s faithfulness is far greater than our ability to see how it applies in any given situation. Put another way, our contentment and dependence does not have to be rooted in knowing how God works but rather knowing God, especially through the ups and downs of life.

Going back to Psalm 57:2, this makes perfect sense. Check out this context:

“Be good to me, God—and now! I’ve run to you for dear life. I’m hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over. I call out to High God, the God who holds me together. He sends orders from heaven and saves me, he humiliates those who kick me around. God delivers generous love, He makes good on his word.” ~ Psalm 57:1-3 (MSG)

This tells me even though I don’t know what the future holds with Juby’s health, even though I don’t know if my car’s radiator will bust again, even though I don’t know how work and home life will balance out for the foreseeable future, I can count it all joy as I ride out the storm.

‘Cause frankly, I’m so weak right now, I have no margin to do otherwise.

Selah/Stay tuned…

Footnotes

*More specifically, as you rely on God, punt worry to the point it becomes obsolete the next time it makes sense

Cover photo creds: Cameron Fry