This I declare about the Lord:He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;he is my God, and I trust him.Psalm 91:2 (NLT)
While putting my music in order before choir rehearsal, a friend plopped down beside me and asked, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” Then she stopped talking and just looked at me. I wasn’t completely in the dark about what was going on her life, so I responded to her that we trust God and take it one step at a time.
“But what do you do when it’s hard and others are involved?”
Memories flooded my mind as I thought back to the last few months. There were times when I cried out, asking God, “Why?” And the words of Job echoed, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” We don’t know why the trials hit but we do know the source of our strength. God is sovereign and that’s enough for me.
As we talked, I reminded her that the only person we can control is ourselves. It doesn’t do any good to try and manipulate the situation, whine or complain, or even stamp our feet. God is in control and we’re never alone in the whirlwind. He promises new mercies every morning, a relief to both of us since we sure can use them up fast.
As the rehearsal progressed, we practiced Bow the Knee. While singing the beautiful melody and lyrics, I noticed that the message of the song captured the heart of our earlier conversation:
There are moments on our journey following the Lord
Where God illumines ev’ry step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes.
When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.
Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.
After rehearsal, I hurried over to my friend and asked her if she, too, had noticed the message of the song.
“Yes, and I didn’t want to catch your eye or I knew I would lose it.” We gave each other a knowing look as we headed out to the parking lot.
I love it when I get a glimpse of the puzzle that God is putting together. It is going to be a glorious picture.
Flags are flying; red/white/blue scarves and ties are in abundance at church today. The patriotic music brings a tear. We remember. It’s Memorial Day Weekend.
Yet, even while we celebrate, families are mourning for lost children, not killed on the battlefield of Afghanistan, but on the streets of Santa Barbara. Once more, a deranged young man has wreaked havoc on a community and young girls are shot, killed, and wounded. Why? What is going on with the American youth? Why do we have Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson, and now Santa Barbara? There are many more but these particular tragedies were committed by young men with mental illness, acting out a vendetta.
It is particularly poignant for me because these were college students at UCSB. I love that area and attended Westmont College, also located near Santa Barbara. I have five granddaughters that will one day be in college. Is there no safe place in America? What has changed so dramatically from when I was a girl or the freedom and activities my children enjoyed?
The culture has radically changed and I remember a bumpersticker, Question authority, that was the rage in the sixties. Wikipedia states, ““Question authority” is a popular slogan often used on bumperstickers, t-shirts and as graffiti. Originally quoted by ancient Greece philosopher Socrates, the slogan was popularized by controversial psychologist Timothy Leary. One of the most influential icons in the counterculture movement which formed in the late 1960s out of opposition to the Vietnam War’s escalation, Leary gained influence among much of the Western youth by advocating the use of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – which was criminalized in the United States in 1966 – as a way to escape from the burdens of society. Following the Watergate Scandal, which resulted in the resignation of US President Richard Nixon and the conviction of several officials in the Nixon administration, the slogan became arguably the most accepted form of ideology among baby boomers. It is intended to encourage people to avoid fallacious appeals to authority. The term has always symbolized the necessity of paying attention to the rules and regulations promulgated by a government unto its citizenry. However, psychologists have also criticized Leary’s method of questioning authority and have argued that it resulted in widespread dysfunctionality.”
I agree that our nation is one big, giant dysfunctional family. Our parents and grandparents would never even consider the options of this kind of disobedience or disrespect. We would have gotten a quick thump to the head (a la Gibbs to DiNozzo). We knew better than to even try.
Computers, video games, movies, music, welfare, fatherless homes, educational standards, divorce, social media, disgusting lyrics and explicit dancing, extended families miles apart, prayer forbidden in schools—let alone Bible reading. Yes, there is much to appreciate about the technological advances we enjoy today, but are they doing more harm than good? There is something to say about the ease, safety, and family times of the “good ol’ days.”
Life is not fair and never has been. But without competition, whether in the classroom, on the sports field, or in the board room, what is the incentive to achieve, to win, to be the best? Instead, we have the notion that we should all make the same amount of money, have a nice house, and no one wins or loses. That is a recipe for disaster and we are reaping the consequences.
As we remember those who have fallen so that we may enjoy “the good life” in the United States of America, the future for our loved ones is uncertain. Terrell Brown of CBS Evening News reported, “A recent study by the Urban Institute shows the net worth of today’s 30-somethings — adjusted for inflation — is down 21 percent from what 30-somethings enjoyed in 1983.” Money isn’t everything but it is an indicator.
As are all of these shootings.
Which brings me back to my original questioning? What is going on? What can we do?
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Psalm 33:10-11 (NIV)
The countdown to Election Day is less than a week away. If you are like me, the cessation of political phone calls, emails, mail, and TV ads will be a wonderful relief.
I heard a prominent radio commentator ask the question this morning, “How will we feel on the day after the election if our guy doesn’t win?” Been there, done that when I was in the political trenches in California. It’s not fun—often both disappointing and a little scary.
However, the most important concept that I have learned over the years is that it’s not all about me; it’s all about God. If I didn’t firmly believe in the sovereignty of God, I’d be a mess. God is not going to be surprised the day after the election.
Each election is touted as the most important we will ever have. Personally, I think this is it, which means we can’t sit at home and do nothing. The one thing God has called us to do is to be faithful. To my dismay, when I was working in this arena, when church rolls were overlaid with voter rolls, the disparity was amazing.
As citizens of the United States of America, our responsibility is to vote. One vote can make the difference and we must never shirk our duty.
As I peer into the future for my grandgirlies, I’m so thankful that I can trust God’s plans for them. His purpose will be accomplished.
Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22 (NIV)
In an election season, the subject of politics comes up in situations that most consider impolite in other circumstances. But why? Because people have different opinions? Why can we differ on who is going to win the World Series and promote our team but can’t talk about the election and our guy?
Our pastor has made a commitment to speak from the pulpit about biblical principles pertinent to this election, just as he prays weekly for the President and leaders. I appreciate his example and willingness to ask people if they are going to vote just as easily as he asks a person whether he or she has accepted Jesus.
The point is, we must not be intimidated to speak up for our beliefs. We are called to be salt and light. Ask questions of your friends and neighbors—many people are just beginning to be aware of the approaching election and are unaware of the importance of our vote for our families.
We could choose to fret and worry as to the outcome but there is no fear. Ultimately, God is in control of this election. Trust Him.