Wait for the first raindrop

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At a hospital near where I live, they’ve been building a large two-story add-on wing. They’ve been working on it for months and they’ve had large crews of trained construction workers, as well as the luxury of all the modern day equipment. It seems like weeks go by and it doesn’t look like much progress is being made. Several months in the project is nowhere near completion. That brings me to another large building project. In Genesis chapter 6, Noah was given an incredible task…to build an ark in preparation for a disastrous event, unlike anything that had ever occurred in human history. This ark was far larger than the hospital wing in my home town. It was even many times the size of a famous landmark that has made headlines recently…the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It’s one of the most famous buildings in all of Europe. Construction of the massive church began in 1163, during the reign of King Louis VII, and was completed in 1345. That’s nearly two hundred years for one building. Noah had a work crew that consisted of his family and no modern building equipment. That’s a monumental task!

Have you ever been asked to do something extremely difficult? How about being prompted by God to do something that would cost you big? Noah’s entire life was dictated by this project. It was his future. It was his calling. As if this wasn’t hard enough, the Bible also tells us that he spent those years preaching about the impending judgment and the path of redemption that God had provided. So now, Noah has to build a giant boat, that would house multiples of every animal on Earth, and in addition, he is tasked with sharing a difficult message to a world that had rejected God. I imagine that there would have been plenty of opportunities for doubt and weariness to set in.

If you find yourself involved in circumstances that don’t exactly make sense, take heart. Keep moving forward. Learn from Noah, who continued on the path God had set him on, regardless of the hostility he faced. Regardless of the length of his efforts, Noah persisted. Keep in mind, Noah worked on the ark longer than any of us have been alive. That’s perseverance. That’s commitment. That’s faith. For Noah, it was all about being faithful while waiting for that first raindrop to fall. The reward, for Noah and for us, is in staying the course regardless of the cost. If you were asked to build a giant boat for an apocalyptic event that had never happened before, you wouldn’t think it made sense. I’m sure Noah had his questions too. It was, after all, human. But he weathered the uncertain because he loved the God who was certain. Don’t lose heart brothers and sisters. That same God is certain in your life too.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

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Finding Faith

31Wci55k5UL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

-Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)

Faith has become somewhat of an obscure word. If you were to ask ten people what it means, you may get nearly ten varying answers as to what the specifics of the word are. Even so, one common thread that you may see in those responses is the notion of trust. Another key element to defining faith has to be belief. In fact, belief must precede trust for this system of faith to work itself out. A third partner in the faith family is often the most forgotten. That element is action. Faith is one of the most important aspects of human life. Because it’s so important, we need desperately to know what it means. Chapter two of the book takes a deep look at the meaning of the word faith from multiple sources and how it plays out in the people of the bible as well as our own lives.

How we meet circumstances in life will depend on who we believe Jesus to be and whether we believe He cares for us or not. Have you ever uttered variations of these statements:

“God has bigger things to worry about than what I’m dealing with.”

“Why should God help me through this?”

“Where was God when  __(fill in the blank)__ happened?”

I read a blog post one time that said (my paraphrase) that doubt is what leads us to God and that we should embrace our doubt. It went on to propose that our doubt deepens our relationship with Christ. I had to read and reread their statements a few times because I thought that I might have made a mistake because these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. Doubt is the exact 180 degree opposite of faith. Doubt is the result of disavowing the Lordship of Christ. Doubt says that Christ is powerless and indifferent. Doubt drives us deeper into our own insecurities and further from the freedom that an intimate relationship with Jesus produces. Doubt cripples and paralyzes while faith heals and moves us.

Not only do we need faith that Christ is with us in all circumstances, we also need to believe and trust in His caring nature towards us. To find assurance of that we need not look beyond the cross, where Christ’s great love for humanity was at its greatest. We have an amazing savior who loves us way more than we can imagine and more than we ever give Him credit for. That truth was not yet fully realized by His disciples as they crossed the sea with Him. And perhaps His love hasn’t been fully realized by so many of us today.

You need not every doubt Jesus’ goodness towards you.

Peace and blessings to you all in Christ Jesus our Lord

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

-Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)

 

I’m Back!

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My life has been somewhat of a whirlwind the last month and half. My wife and I have sold our home, we’re in the process of buying another home and moving to another town, and my wife had our second child! Beautiful little Selah Autumn was born on October 11. Through these last several weeks I’ve experienced a couple life lessons that I’d like to share with you.

First: Faith is REALLY hard!

While this is not a new concept and this is by no means the first experience in my 33 years that have taught me this crucial life lesson, I have been most definitely reminded of. Previouslyit was my belief that faith was so hard because of the uncertainty that lays ahead. However, this time around it’s been a somewhat different twist. Faith is so hard because we all have a desired outcome. We have a time frame that we want things to take place in and we have ‘expectations’ of what will happen. This is true for whatever the situation is. We wanted our house to sell for a certain amount, we wanted Selah to be born while I was on fall break, we wanted so many of our offers on homes to work out, and we wanted a contract done on a house weeks ago. Guess what…none of those things happened. Faith comes as reassurance that what is taking place is far better than our own desired outcome. When we pray “Lord your will be done in my life” we better mean it because if we don’t we’ll be a mess the whole time God is working His plan out in our life. Faith is believing that God works ALL things out for the good of those who love Him like Romans says.

Second: Perspective is key.

It’s easy to get caught up in our circumstances when they cause us pain, discomfort, and inconveniences. But most of the time, someone has it worse. God cares for everyone’s life and listens to prayers no matter how ‘small’ or ‘big’ they may be. One day I found myself in self-pity wrapped up in anxiety so I started praying. While doing so I found myself praying for those on the streets, women and children caught up in sex slavery, and Syrian refugees forced to flee because of Isis. Instantly my inconveniences didn’t seem like such a big issue. Trust me, I’ve experienced some of the worst pains life can bring (divorce and death of my father to name a couple) and it would be easy to be disheartened and disillusioned by life’s hardships and trials. But it brings life to focus on what we do have, because so many in the world don’t have even a fraction of it.  1502398_10152970238627502_3178632756373832348_o-1024x1024

While so much in this world is uncertain, God’s love and faithfulness are not.

God bless!