When the grief is deep and hope is dim

Sometimes, trouble lingers. Sometimes we teeter on the edge of Sheol, fall into the pit, and lack strength. The words and feelings that fill our souls are: DEAD, in the grave, no more, cut off, depths, DARK and deep. Things lie heavy and overwhelm. We are SHUNNED, horrified, helpless, filled with SORROW and cannot escape. Wrath, destruction and darkness abound.

The grief was deep and hope was dim for the psalmist who wrote Psalm 88. He questions God in his despair (vs 10, 11). He acknowledges the sovereignty that allows the trial: “You (God) have caused” and “Your wrath.” But implied throughout the psalm is the understanding that the God who allows sorrow is the same God who brings victory.

Unlike most other Psalms, this lament does not build to a conclusion of confident joy and praise. This one ends in pain. The victory has yet to come. Hope has yet to burst through the clouds, making this Psalm resonate deeply with those of us still waiting.

  • …still waiting for the prodigal to return or the Pharisee to repent.
  • …still waiting for healing and relief.
  • …still waiting for restoration and transformation.

Where is our hope?

Despite the Psalmist’s grief he does not forget with who his hope remains.

  • “O Lord,” he writes, “God of my salvation.”
  • “I call upon you, O Lord.”
  • “I spread my hands before You.”
  • “I cry out to You.”
  • “My prayers come before You.”

Our hope, in the darkest of grief and in the unrelenting pain of delays, is in the Lord. Hold firm and hold fast.

 

 

More Than This

“There has to be more to it than this.”

Have you ever sat in a church pew and thought that? I have. I remember it clearly. I had lost the passion and urgency of that early blazing faith. I had swallowed lies one spoonful at a time and became good for nothing. I had lost my zeal. Lost my passion. Lost my first love.

I moved through unsatisfying Sunday motions even as my husband trained for ministry and served on church staff. I wondered, what was the point? If this was all there was to following Jesus, it wasn’t enough.

It’s Not Enough

Have you been there? Have you visited that apathetic place hovering between hypocrisy and duty all dressed up like a whitewashed tomb?

By God’s mercy, He opened my eyes and I saw my faith dried into a shallow pool of activity. I was busy for the Lord, real busy. I was doing good things, but had missed the best things. I was right. This wasn’t enough.

Called to More

God has called us to more. He has called us to passionately pursue Him with everything and be willing to pay anything. He has revealed himself to be worthy of all of our praise. Everything that is in the heavens and on the earth belongs to Him. He is head over all, reigns with majesty and strength, and will not be moved. There is none like him, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders. He deserves all of our heart but what do we do when our empty hearts cease to care?

We ask the Lord to do what only he can do. In obedience, we continue to come before him, confessing our need for him to ignite our passion. We confess our lack of desire and inability to create desire. We declare our dependance on Him over and over again until He does what He promises He will do: until He reveals Himself.

PRAY

Lord, you said if we seek you that we would find you, so give us the desire to seek you. As our bodies thirst for water would you stir a greater thirst for You. As we nourish the physical would you grow a greater hunger to feast on your Word. Would you open eyes that need opening that lost souls might turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to You? If we want forgiveness from our sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ, we need you to impress upon our hearts a desire to repent from our lack of desire. Our hope is in You, Lord. We are nothing without you. You must do this work. It is by your mighty hand. We are clay in your hands completely at your mercy. Have your way in us.

Don’t let another Easter go by swimming in the shallow pool of religion. It’s time to dive into the depths of God’s love and learn His ways. If you don’t have a church family, you are welcome to join ours to celebrate Easter. We meet at Brantford Christian School (7 Calvin Street, Brantford).

f4f027f8-727a-4c97-b864-81146f7ffe2c

For those in the Burlington area

Tonight from 7-9pm Julie and I will be in Burlington at the Family Christian Bookstore promoting Unexpected Love. Tonight, Unexpected Love is on sale for 29.99. That’s a savings of $10! Come tonight and enter your name for a chance to win one of three great prizes.

meet & greet invitation for print FRONT

meet & greet invitation for print BACK

Unexpected Love is a perfect Mother’s Day Gift, a gift for that new mom, or just because.

It would be such a delight to see you tonight, to hear a bit of your story, and share in the wonder of God’s great love for us.

 

Leaded glass windows

I have a huge weakness for leaded glass windows. I love the look. When I discovered this product I KNEW I had to try it out. And I had the PERFECT window.

This is our plain and boring kitchen window. Too new to replace. Too old to be pretty.

When we renovated our kitchen, I was unsure what sort of treatment I wanted. I’m not worried about privacy (since we look at a brick wall), but I didn’t want to lose light. As soon as I saw this I knew it was the window treatment for me. I ordered two packs of self adhesive lead strips and while I wanted for them to arrive, I started searching online for design templates. Of course, there was nothing ready made for my window size, just design ideas.

I cut newspaper to the size of one slider window and found the centre. Then, using my mad math skills, I measured out a cathedral pattern to fit my template. I taped it to the back side of the window.

This is the hard part. Peel and stick the lead strips. Remove the template and put it behind slider window number two and repeat. Seriously, that’s as hard as it gets.

Up close

IMG_0736

This updated older window is now one of my favourites!

IMG_0732

A Call to Pray

Instead of my usual Thursday devotional post, today I am asking you to join me in prayer.

This Saturday, I speak at a women’s conference and I’ve been praying for hard hearts to become soft. I am praying the Spirit moves those lost in darkness into the light. I am praying for the deceived to be enlightened, for the shallow to dig deep, for the Spirit to move mightily. I am praying for repentant hearts, for teachable spirits, for an eagerness to know God better. I pray that the authority of God’s word is accepted as the right starting point. I pray that I will fade into the background and for God to be centerstage.

Would you join me in prayer?

Pray with me for for the woman who once had a moment of sincere conviction, who walked to the front of the church, repeated phrases fed to her, raised her hand or stood up during a service only to wake the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that defeated because nothing felt different. Pray that she begins to understand the next steps required of her, that she will understand what it means to count the cost, to repent, pick up her cross, and follow Jesus.

Pray with me for the woman who is born again but has developed apathy toward the Lord. Pray that she wakes up and strengthens what life remains because where there is life there is hope. Pray for renewed minds and renewed passion.

Pray with me for the women alive and passionately pursuing the Lord. Pray their hearts are encouraged and challenged to dig deeper into the Word because we can study God all day every day for the rest of our lives and still only scratch the surface of who He is.

Just pray.

For them.

For me.

For the Lord to be glorified and His name lifted high.

I speak twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.