HOPE

Some days hope seems elusive…like a long lost friend.  I nearly lost site of it.  The pain is deep…it gets deeper still…but God sends HOPE in the strangest of ways, through the strangest of means, and by an unexpected messenger.

I needed HOPE today — a day of deep regret and shame.  Then GOD whispered to me through hope-driven crocuses.  My sweet Joanna shared this picture today on Facebook…as you look at it and listen to it…lean in…can you hear, smell, and see HOPE?

HOPE says that shame, buried deep, can still break through — like crocuses planted months ago, which had been buried in snow, burst forth and reached to their Creator begging to bloom.  You can hear the dirt move aside, as their arms reach Heavenward.

HOPE is like that…even in years of shame…HOPE moves the shame aside…HOPE is Jesus.

I know that Joanna didn’t know that when she shared this picture that it would keep one “crocus” from giving up in despair…I’m certain of it.  But,God…in His infinite wisdom, uses crocuses bursting forth and unsuspecting Joanna’s to deliver HOPE to unsuspecting souls who’ve lost all hope.

Winter is not over because Jesus has not returned to take us home.  However, these hopeful crocuses, which may get buried again in the harshness of snow still HOPE.  So, for another day…so will I.

Though HE slay me, yet I will trust HIM…HE is my HOPE.

joannas-crocuses

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HOME

Home is such a lovely word and brings to mind precious memories to many.  For me, Home is a place I have never been — a longed for place that my soul misses — a place of rest, a refuge.

Today my quiet time and Bible Journaling was in this passage in II Corinthians 5:1-5:

 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.(Emphases mine).

I am groaning — groaning for HOME — groaning to be with my Savior.

I am groaning and burdened by this world and wait, impatiently, for HIM to come and gather me away to my Heavenly Home.  I am groaning to be swallowed up by LIFE because it says, “HE has prepared me for this very thing…and given me the HOLY SPIRIT as a seal!”

I am burdened…come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly.dogwood

…but, for their salvation and HIS Glory?

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Is the suffering worth it, if they come to Christ?

That was the question…”Is your suffering worth it, if just one comes to Christ?”  He answered my question with a question.

My question, “Why does God allow people to suffer and die?  Why does he allow little girls to be molested and sexually abused?  Why does he allow boys and girls to be human-trafficked?  Why did he allow the last two years of her life to be filled with pain and suffering? Why did HE allow a young man to put a gun in my face and threaten to kill me?”

I supposed I was asking a rhetorical question…one of those, “Yes, I know God is sovereign…yes, I know He can do as He pleases…yes, I know about Job!”  But, my heart screams, “WHY?”

He answered with a non-rhetorical question…a question rightly deserving the right answer…a question that really asked what God asked Job, “Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” (Job 40:8)  Dave asked, “Tammi — is the suffering worth it, if one comes to Christ?”

Like Job, I felt shame…who am I to question a holy God?  Yes, of course, Dave…of course, LORD, it is well worth it!  Just at the time of the hurting and the darkness and the unending pain…at the time of utter exhaustion and grief and devastation…I forgot myself.  Instead, I sought HIM…I begged of HIM…why, LORD, please help this child understand?

In complete surrender, I bow and confess my ignorance:

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked,’ Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions.’ You give the answers. I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. (Job 42:2-6)

I don’t think God really minds my questions…HE certainly understands my heart…HE gave us Job’s account because HE understands that we would ask from time-to-time.  The lesson to be learned is that God does know, HE is not unaware of the suffering, and HE is acquainted with our sorrow.

Suffering has a purpose…it is for our good and HIS GLORY!  In Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph said it best, “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.'”

The truth is that I am not Job or Joseph…I’m just Tam.  My heart hurts for so many things and I don’t have all of the answers to all of the whys…I don’t even really have some of them.  I only know that God must love me quite a lot to allow HIS Son, Jesus, to die on the Cross of Calvary for me.  He has entrusted me with the Mysteries of Himself and then, in that great love, has allowed me and others who know HIM to suffer a bit so that others can witness HIS grace and love measured through us in that suffering.

We are funnels of HIS love — we were created in His image to KNOW HIM and then to love others by allowing them to see us walk through the messes in life…somehow with grace…but all for HIS Glory.  So, the question is….

IS THE SUFFERING WORTH IT, IF THEY COME TO CHRIST?

ANSWER:  YES, LORD, YES!