Saturday, December 24, 2011


Perhaps it is my work as a therapist, hearing people's painful stories

Perhaps it is the crime filled streets that daily make our papers

Perhaps it is the sorrow threatening to overwhelm my heart knowing a friend is struggling deeply

Perhaps it is the glance into the eyes of a neighbor, who has been pretending to be okay for far too long

Perhaps it is the thought that no matter how much I know, I know there is suffering in every heart

Whatever it is, this world has pain, there is no denying this reality

My world, your world, our world is groaning in pain. 

Pain so deep that as much as we try to ignore it, we know we cannot fix ourselves.

Our marriages, our children, our relationships at work tell us we are broken.

We are imperfect and painfully aware we alone are not enough to heal our own pain.

Into this, our God chose to enter willingly, a baffling thought

He could have chosen to heal us from above, without getting dirty

He could have said this world is beyond repair and leave us on our own.

But instead our God, said I must comfort my people.

I must provide a remedy to the darkness in this world

A remedy that is a solution, not a band-aid. 

A remedy that brings joy to my people while the world around them is in decay

Sorrowfully but willingly, God, the Holy one of Israel sent His perfect solution

He sent his son, to be our Emmanuel, to be with us.

The powerful son, was humbled and dirtied to come as one of us, a child.

He knew his destiny, He knew He was to take on the suffering of this world. 

He knew He was to walk in our pain, to be with us.

He knew he would be rejected, spit upon and ridiculed

He knew he would be subjected to the torturous cross

Yet He came, Our Emmanuel came down to be with us.

The downward spiral of our world was forever altered

Our Emmanuel, changed history when he entered our world

Our Emmanuel,  intervened into our pain filled world and though a child, brought victory

Jesus, a child, was given to us as a remedy to our issue of suffering

All that is required of us is to believe that He loved us so much that he came to save

What joy our Emmanuel brings to a downcast world such as ours.

Rejoice, He came as a child to walk among us,He left a King capable of claiming us as His!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why do I keep standing on sand?

I was reading Matthew 7: 24-27 this morning as part of a bible study with which I am currently engaged. The idea in this passage is a metaphor used to get us to think about what we have as the foundation for our life. Does your foundation have the ability to weather storms, pounding waves and high winds? Or is your house precariously situated on a foundation that moves with the elements leaving you without security and safety in an ever changing climate called life?

What does the foundation of your life mean? I know that a foundation of a house is the base upon which you build the house. That means, what substance are you trusting to keep your house together, what type of material are you hoping keeps your house firmly standing when the weather changes, storms blow in or during the accumulation of many years of wear and tear on your house. The foundation for a person to stand must also provide stability, shelter and strength.

I want to live in a house that is firmly built on the strongest, most enduring substance ever, something like rock, but really, how do you tell what a person’s life is based upon, how do you recognize just what you have trusted as a foundation for your life?

Those are the questions that stuck with me this morning as I read the passage. I left the reading convinced that I not only wanted a firmer foundation but that I need a firmer foundation. But here is the kicker, I know I have that foundation but there are days and weeks when I am exhausted from standing on the sandy parts of life. So technically I have this foundation but I am somehow for some reason stepping off of it.

  As a Christian, I have a firm foundation for my life, I trust that God has a plan for my life and He is capable of seeing it through. Hence, I have a solid rock foundation. So why then are there days, many days when I live life worrying, fretting, striving without much success. If I have a solid foundation like God why are there days when I feel like I am crumbling, like I cannot keep going, when the uncertainty of life takes over and to continue the metaphor, threatens the very house in which I live? If I am so certain I have God as my rock and foundation why then do I feel like I am living on shifting sand?

I think the metaphor breaks down just a bit here. A house once built remains where it is built. The house cannot decide to move, it remains there firmly upon foundation of rock upon which it was built. Here is the break down, as a Christian there was a time in my life where I recognized that God was the foundation I needed, that the Rock was the only truly safe place upon which to live, and so I was moved from sand to the Rock and lived with joy and peace and found my place in the world.   Sadly, however I must have decided to move at some point and I kept finding myself slipping and sliding down sand dunes not sure if my house will stand?  How did I get from the rock back to the sand upon which I find myself discontented, stressed and ready to crumble? 

I know the rock is the place where I belong, it makes no sense to return to shifting foundations, no sense at all. But all too often I find myself weary from trying to stabilize my own life and finally when I start questioning  things I look down and yet again find my feet in sand trying to manage the weight of life in an ever shifting foundation.

The metaphor of a house breaks down because it is I that moves, a house never moves, but I can and do.  I have the ability to decide what foundation I will stand upon.  I have the ability to make foolish decisions, and frequently I do. They do not always seem foolish at the time, they might actually seem good! But if overtime these decisions lead me away from the Rock, my true foundation, then they were indeed foolish. I think my ego, and pride often lead me away. I see a challenge, a new task and think yes I can do this, forgetting I get my strength from my rock foundation. I step, not purposefully, but step off without much thought. Off my secure foundation and onto the less secure. For a while I get a thrill out of using my strength to survive and manage in this less stable environment. This good feeling can last a while, but after a while I get tired, my stabilizing muscles fatigue and I start to break down, and in the end crumple with exhaustion. I am not always aware that I step off my rock, I wish there were motion detectors for this, but there is not.

The cool thing, the rock will always have a place for me. I will not be replaced when I step off. The Rock keeps my spot, the one I belong in just for me. So no matter how many foolish decisions I make, or how long I step off that rock, He is there waiting for me to step back and find rest in Him.

Despite the fact that I know, that I have tasted, that I have experienced the stability of standing on the rock there is something innate in me that wrongly tells me that I can stand on sand and be okay. While I am still here on this earth, it will be a daily conscious effort to pay attention to what foundation upon which I stand.  I want to remember daily that the Rock is good, that security in this ever shifting world is needed and that to stay with and on the Rock, requires a conscientious effort, every day, every hour every minute.