Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today I thirst for Living Water

I am sitting on the small side of our upper balcony on our house, enjoying a cup of coffee, reading my bible and thankful for such a beautiful place to live and such a beautiful day to to be gifted to me.

I am reading from John 4, the story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman. Jesus' conversation with this woman captures my heart again. His first words to this stranger come by way of a request. He is asking her for something. It is obvious that this woman draws water from this well frequently and is accustomed to carrying it back to where it is needed. Jesus did not ask her to do something that was out of her realm of ability. This task of drawing water was ordinary. She could do it.

I wondered what God is asking of me that I do regularly. Or, what is it that he might be asking of me that I am gifted at, that I accomplish with little effort but is a core part of who I am. I think God specifically requests of us those elements of our personality that make us unique.

After further discussion regarding protocol between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus speaks to this woman by addressing in a kindly manner her ignorance of whose company she was in. "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."

Do I really know the One who is asking me for something? Do I know what He is asking of me? Do I really understand the gift God has for me? Do I know what Living Water means for me?

Further on Jesus says, "... the water I give, takes away thirst altogether and becomes a perpetual spring within, giving eternal life."

Our thirst is quenched. We are satisfied. We are perpetually filled. An ongoing source of Living Water flowing within us, strengthening us for the impossible tasks we face. A well of resource that gives us new courage and new hope when we feel we have reached bottom and our wells have run dry.

It's there for us with a mere asking.

Father, help me first of all, to give to you what you may be asking of me. Then help me to know You... to really know who You are, in a much greater way than I've ever known before. If I can stand but a glimpse of your Glory, let me behold You in a way that changes me, and let me ask without wavering for this gift of Living Water.

There is no other fountain that brings eternal life but You.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Party of One

Sometimes I have a party where I am the only one invited. It's usually called a "pity party". Even though I'm an introvert, this is a little bit ridiculous and a whole lot self centered.

It's easy to get lost in my own problems and concerns and think I've just been handed the short end of the stick and no one even cares or notices.

This self-induced wallowing and whining is dangerous and harmful - to me and to those whose lives I interact with. It comes from legitimate pain that is experienced only through the filter of my circumstances.

My short-sightedness needs adjustment and only when I raise my head and glance around does it come. Amazingly I see people in a different perspective. I notice something I didn't see before and it becomes immediately clear they are carrying a heavy load of personal suffering. Looking more closely, I see deep pain and brokenness and I forget the cross I am carrying. My sorrows are minimized when I step into the despair of others.

When suffering as a Christian we often think we do not have the strength to endure but Christ comes alongside and reveals a hidden strength we never knew was there or believe existed.

Our journey through suffering can be used to undergird and bring comfort to others when we allow Christ to be our Comforter and strength. As God was and is there for us, we can be there for others also.

Trust in the Father's care for us and provision in our lives comes when we invite his presence into our difficult circumstances.

He enters the place of pain as Comforter, Friend and Helper.

We are never alone.

His grace is sufficient.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Prayer for those who have lived long...

Father in your lovingkindness,
come and be close to those who have lived long

Be strength to those who are weary
from caring for their spouses, siblings, friends

Light again the flame that is almost out
Let hope surface in the midst of despair

Increase the vision, sharpen the focus
and grant a sparkle to once again settle
in their eyes

Bring relief to aching bones and muscles,
disfigured hands and curved backs and
crooked legs

Surround them with golden memories
and smiles from the past

Keep their hearts beating,
their minds alert, their spirits soaring
for another hour,
another day
another year

Help them to share their
abundant wisdom and insight,
life lessons and triumphs
before they leave us

And when it's time for them
to step through the veil that
thinly separates Heaven and Earth -
wrap them tightly in your love,
hold them close,
breathe on them with Holy breath
and pass through with them
to their new place of rest

And for those of us left behind,
let us wave them on with
thunderous applause and
deep gratitude for how their lives
became a part of ours

Their footprints have left a
sacred mark where they
have trod