The whirlwind of life has stuck it’s finger down into my brain and swirled up my mind. This week, I have been full of excitement and nervous energy, and I can hardly think straight. It is difficult to focus on my Bible reading or to keep my train of thought when praying. At work, the issues of the day are getting mixed up in my head with all of the practice test questions I have been reading and answering. When I’m not studying or working on my actual job tasks, my mind is a flurry of planning for the move. I keep thinking of things that still need to be packed, areas that need to be cleaned, or logistics for the days of the actual move. So my boasts of spiritual discipline helping me through, were just that. I find myself staring blankly at my open Bible as my mind works through a dozen other things.
Yesterday evening, God sent a bolt of clarity into the haze. I received an email from Compassion International informing me that one of my sponsor children in Haiti had been affected by the earthquakes last weekend. Her family’s home was damaged. Last Sunday, when I had seen the headlines about the initial earthquake, I had tried to determine how close each of my two girls was to the epicenter, and I had some concerns. But these faded away in my busyness. On a week that I had struggled badly to have prayer time, this child was in the greatest need of my prayers. It was a reality check in the midst of my self-centeredness and “first-world problems.” My prayer is that God will use this time of difficulty to show His goodness, love, and provision to my sponsor child, her family, and their community.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
I have been thinking, recently, how the Chris Tomlin song Good Good Father has become the theme song of this season of my life. There are no coincidences with God, and I finally purchased it a month ago, after hearing it again on the The Frey Life. I have been listening to the whole album it is on, but that one song has been stuck in my head and my heart for weeks, now. It is difficult to choose favorite lines in such a great song, yet among my favorite are these: “But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night / And you tell me that you’re pleased / And that I am never alone.” Some of my sweetest moments with God have been in the stillness, as I lay in bed talking to Him before I go to sleep. This is not my primary prayer time, but so often at the end of my day, I find myself pouring out to Him the matters that are weighing most heavily on my heart. In the darkness of my bedroom at night, when my aloneness is most overwhelming, I have often felt His presence and heard Him speaking to me.
There is such a mixture of emotions in this whirlwind, but as I’ve written before, my general impression is God’s goodness. I wonder to myself if I can communicate this coherently to a child in Haiti who may be scared and discouraged. It is sometimes difficult to communicate God’s goodness to adults who are living in the comforts of America. As I think on what to write to her, I remember the big earthquake that hit near my home when I was fourteen-years-old. There were families whose homes were not damaged, who for months refused to sleep indoors. They slept outside in tents, as though this were somehow safer. It was a powerful quake, but most homes came through it with little structural damage. Yet, people were sleeping outside in tents. It occurred to me that this was the kind of thing a person in Haiti probably wouldn’t understand. They know better than we do the importance of shelter to staying safe and healthy. Why would people who had good shelter not use it?
I suppose that for those who believe in God, it is a trust issue. Even though God protects us once, or helps us through one situation, we lack confidence that He will do so again. Is it possible to outright fail a test of faith? We know from Scripture that God tests our faith to build our character and our endurance. Yet, what happens to our faith if the trials come and we refuse to believe in His goodness or trust in His promises?
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7
Yesterday evening, it started raining. We haven’t had any real rain in Southern California for months. I was surprised to wake up this morning and find that a gentle rain was still falling steadily. It is peaceful and soothing to my edgy nerves. It’s another gift from a Good Father. I am more focused this morning, as I pray for His goodness to be equally evident to my dear girl in Haiti.