Tuesday, May 24, 2005


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Stick a fork in 'er and put 'er on a plate 'cause she's done!

Got this beauty (and a matching one on the other side) at the Pow Wow at Kelvin's school on Friday.

You could say it's a Pow Wow owie.

You could... But you probably shouldn't.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Clarification... plus a few thoughts...

I was reading the comments from my last post, and it occurred to me that I needed to clarify something....

It would be really easy to infer from my last post that I buy into the philosophy that says "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I can see how one could arrive at that conclusion, but it's actually not the case. In fact, I have a very strong gut reaction to that statement. I'd phrase it more like this:
" Whatever doesn't kill you can wound you deeply. Healing comes from God
and is available to the wounded, so that what was hurt can be re-built better
than before. Healing can also be rejected. We can choose to dwell in
our wounded state, learn nothing but self-pity, and grow no stronger -
eventually to die. Whatever kills you is a more direct route to life
in the form of resurrection."

But, of course, that doesn't make a great catch phrase, now does it?

I also caught sight of a comment on another blog about going through the fire (thanks, Cath!). It reminded me of the scripture... (actually, I smucked myself on the forehead and wondered how I could have forgotten about this one...)

I Peter 1:

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have
had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your
faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may
be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is

Ummmm.... Does it get any clearer than that? Suffering through trials has a purpose. The result is good in the end - the very end, that is. Not necessarily in my lifetime, but ultimately my faith being proved genuine will bring praise to God. At least that's how I read it. I think it helps to remember that God has a perspective that we don't have. He already knows how it's going to turn out. We, for the most part, stumble through and struggle to hold on to the knowledge that God knows what He's doing - even if He's choosing not to let us in on it. But that's another bunny trail.

I had another thought over the last couple of days. This one was about the time Jesus spent in the garden before his crucifixion. If I recall, it went like this:

Luke 22:

41 He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours
be done."

I would, perhaps, paraphrase it this way:

"Y'know, Dad... this doesn't look like it's going to be easy. Are you
sure there isn't another way? ANY other way? *sigh*****
Alright. I know. If it has to be this way then I'll do it. I
know I can trust your judgement. If you say it has to be this
way,..... well,..... okay."

Did you see that? Even Jesus didn't go running into suffering! He went, but not before asking the question. Cool. We can ask, too. Maybe there's another way. Maybe there isn't. Sometimes, I think, (oh, please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm just musing by the seat of my pants again!) we have a choice about whether or not we take a certain path that we can foresee will be painful. Should we ask? Of course. Just because a path is in front of us doesn't mean it's the one God has for us. And I'm a big believer in the "free will of man". But that is another bunny trail, and I think I will choose not to follow it right now.

So.... how's my work in progress so far?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Before I get started I just want to say that this is a work in progress. I've been stewing on this one for over a month, but I don't expect to get all my thoughts down in just this one post. I welcome feedback, challenge, and clarification.


Now, I will begin my thoughts on suffering with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite musicians - Phil Keaggy.

The way to find our selves is in the fires of our sorrow
Do we look around, expect to see the wind?
Could we prevent the trials that we face with each tomorrow?
Can't we see the world we're living in?

When suffering restores us, burns away the empty shallowness
And softening the heart, To be broken bread and poured out wine.

When it rains, it pours, turns a life into a chalice;
There to nourish every soul one at a time.

We do wrong should we refuse to listen to the Master
Who went on before that we walk in His steps?
Before too long we run away...and running even faster,
We fail to see the promise that He kept.

And suffering restores us; burns away the empty shallowness
And softening the heart to be broken bread and poured out wine.

When it rains it pours; turns a life into a chalice;
There to nourish every soul one at a time.

To love is to be broken, but to love nothing and no one,
We must close our own selves up, shut all the doors, And let no one in.

Locked within ourselves where it's safe and dark and motionless
Where love will cease to be
And all the while the air is wearing thin...chalice

When suffering restores us, burns away the empty shallowness,
And softening the heart, to be broken bread and poured out wine...
When it rains it pours; turns a life into a chalice...
There to nourish every soul... One at a time.

Phil Keaggy - Chalice, Inseparable 2000

"Suffering restores us". What an interesting concept. Suffering is not a bad thing, but rather a tool intended to shape our characters. Hmmm... Even that which the enemy intends for harm can be redeemed. What a God we have!

The implication is that suffering is just a part of life. It happens. It may or may not be a result of some action/choice we've made. Either way, it happens. The rain falls on the good and the bad. The question, I think, is "what do we do with it?". Do we run from it and miss the opportunity to grow? Sure, sometimes. I mean, who really seeks out suffering?

"Uh, yeah... do you think I could take the car with no shocks on that unpaved
mountain pass? No, wait... I think I'll go on foot. Barefoot - yeah,
that's it. And do you think I could go during hurricane season?
Right, and I'll take some of that Malaria, if you've got any. While you're
at it, do you think you could arrange to have my family tortured, and my home destroyed? I just don't think this mosquito bite here will do enough to
make me holy."

Obviously running towards suffering isn't going to gain you IQ points, either. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) But what about taking what life hands us? Some deal with illness. Some with social dynamics. Some live in poverty. Some have circumstances that can be changed for the better. Some live with things that only God can change - but which He isn't in the habit of doing, generally. What do we do with it all? Complain? Beg for help? Paste a smile on your face and pretend it's not happening? Give up? Throw a fit? Do the "why me" shuffle? Look for greener pastures? Walk away from it? (assuming that's even an option) Blame God? Or can we take the high road - if such it is - and say "this sucks - what can I learn from it?"

Seriously,... If it all has a purpose, then something in us must need to change or grow in response to it. Yeah, I do think that some of this stuff is an attack of the enemy, but God chooses to allow it, so there must be some purpose, some redemption for it. Don't you think?

Here's one I like:

Psalm 127:

3 Don't you see that children are GOD's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
4 Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
5 Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Yeah, I know - what do kids have to do with suffering, right? Are any of you parents? How can I possibly be linking suffering and the blessing of kids? Try me. I believe (wholeheartedly, in fact) that the blessing that kids bring to our lives as parents is less about the joy of watching them grow up and more about the changes that are wrought in us. Can you possibly be a parent and not be changed? It is not an easy job, let me tell you. Add in a disability and you can change the grit on the sandpaper to coarse! Most days I think I'm being taken to with a wood plane! Of course, I think that's just because God has been merciful enough not to take after my character with a table saw - but that's another discourse. Point is, that you can sweep your enemies away because you've already been through the trenches, and your enemies can't possibly hit you in your soft spots like your kids can. You've "suffered" and changed and are stronger for it - if you don't give up. Hmmm... that reminds me....

2 Corinthians 4:

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in

9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.

11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

Galatians 6:

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Am I seeing a pattern here? Life is tough, but it's meant to build you into His image. Let His life shine through.

One of my "life philosophies" is this: God cares more about my character than about my comfort.

What's scary is when I heard Him say that He also cares more about my kids' character than their comfort....