Trust in the gray areas


“Uncompromising trust in the love of God inspires us to thank God for the spiritual darkness that envelops us, for the loss of income, for the nagging arthritis that is so painful, and to pray from the heart, “Abba, into your hands I entrust my body, mind, and spirit and this entire day—morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Whatever you want of me, I want of me, falling into you and trusting in you in the midst of my life. Into your heart I entrust my heart, feeble, distracted, insecure, uncertain. Abba, unto you I abandon myself in Jesus our Lord. Amen.” Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God. 

Faith is not only the belief that God is waiting on the other side of the foggy shore of whatever murky stuff we are going through, it’s the certain knowledge that He is there, and will be there walking through it with us. Forever. Unless He takes us through those times where the path is obscured and the way seems blocked, we won’t experience the stretching of our faith whereby we can encourage others.

I find that when things are exceedingly dark, it can sometimes be easier to trust Him. It’s a natural reaction to grope for a comforting hand in the dark. And when things are going well, it’s also easy to trust Him, why shouldn’t we?

For me, its those gray areas that get to me. When I can’t see the road ahead. I like to see what I am getting into so I can mentally prepare. I don’t like being blindsided.

I remember the fog in California, when it would last for days. People would head to the foothills just to get out from under it and see the sun. But some of the most beautiful views are found in the fog. I got a picture of these roses taking the family dog to the vet one morning. And on the way out I got a cool picture of a turkey perched on a fence, his body outlined through the mist.

In fact, now that I think about it, three of the most powerful and comforting Spiritual experiences of my life occurred on foggy days.

Lately I have been grasping onto the familiar, the known. With both hands. And digging in with my feet. I am a person who burrows like a hermit crab into predictability and security. I like to see exactly where I am going and the year ahead will be a year of uncertainty, a year of change. Yet in this fog I am learning to trust Him with each day.

And here is one thing I know to be more true than anything else. That on the other side of anything and everything this life has to offer, Jesus offers life more abundantly. Whatever we give up for Him will be replaced by something better, something only He can give. I also know that my true security rests in Him alone. He is my provider. There is not one time I can look back on and see that He has failed to supply my needs.

Joy starts when we thank Him in advance for what we know He’s gonna do.

Grab onto the abundant life Jesus offers today, right now. Especially you there, standing in the gray areas of uncertainty. The way may not be easy, tears may have soaked the pillow the night before, but ours is the hope of joy in the morning. The joy of the Resurrection, His and ours.

The Son is coming out.


Lent Day #9: What was I thinking?

The Wildness of God

I don’t remember consciously making the decision to do a post for each of the 40 days of Lent, it just sort of happened. Somehow I think there is a lesson for me in it. And maybe for someone else as well. I am discovering just how weak the flesh can be, (as if I didn’t know before.)

On Day 9, I find my mind wandering. And this morning out of nowhere, I found myself thinking very uncharitable thoughts about someone sitting just a few feet away. I had to pray a prayer of confession before 6:30 in the morning. For the co-workers who might read this, don’t even speculate. It was all me, not them.

We’re all human, after all. The Spirit is willing but the flesh always talks back.

As I sit here writing  this, I have to stop and think because my mind is growing fuzzy. Is this the 9th or 10th day of Lent? I had to consult Google.  I feel myself losing focus. I wonder, how did Jesus feel on the 9th day?

I think, “This is crazy. Do I really want to go on with this? Is anyone reading?”  You know how someone with hundreds of followers will post something on Facebook, something innocuous like, “I had fried fish for dinner last night.” And all of a sudden, they have 120 comments. Oh yes, my flesh was talking back like crazy this morning.

Then it was like I felt a quiet tap on the shoulder (God has such a sense of humor) “How’s the lesson going?” He said. I had to smile.

And yes, this is only the 9th day. All of a sudden, I am reminded of why I am doing this. And it has nothing to do vanity or popularity, or shares, or comments. It’s all about what God wants to teach me with this small task.

And as we walk this 40 day road toward the cross together, friends. It’s about what we can all teach each other.

“The noonday devil of the Christian life is the temptation to lose the inner self while preserving the shell of edifying behavior. Suddenly I discover that I am ministering to AIDS victims to enhance my resume. I find I renounced ice cream for Lent to lose five excess pounds… I have fallen victim to what T.S. Eliot calls the greatest sin: to do the right thing for the wrong reason.”  Brennan Manning

Photo: Google images

Hallelujah, Anyhow!


Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;

Tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;

Seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham. Psalm 105:1-6

Yesterday I wandered prayerfully throughout the day, I harbored a spirit of sadness, weighed down by sharing some burdens. All morning I prayed for the right words and they still somehow fell short. But I guess loving someone means you try anyway and hope they appreciate the love behind the words. When you are helpless to help someone, you have to rest in the notion that God loves them all more than you do.That’s why I can be grateful no matter what. And that doesn’t mean we never feel sad or angry, but it does mean that in our hearts we carry an inward attitude of gratitude, knowing each minute, each breath we take is loaded with grace.

If we say we are believers, we not only can, we must. The Israelites biggest failure as they wandered in the desert was failure to remember what God had done for them in the past. They grumbled about the manna, they missed the spices they had in Egypt. They forgot the miracles, astounding ones, that brought them there.

And don’t we do the same thing? We focus on what we don’t have. But the truth is, if we say we are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can’t afford to forget what He has done and continues to do for us, each and every day.

If we are a believer, gratitude must be sown into the very fabric of our soul for its the hallmark of our faith. Without gratitude, our faith lacks power. If we can’t have gratitude in any circumstance, we have forgotten how far God has already brought us.

Last night I put on my pajamas at 6:00. I was ready to close out the day. But I was grateful I could do that, some people don’t have that luxury. And today, I am coming down with a cold. Hallelujah Anyhow! I get to spend the day with E who is home today for Veteran’s Day. That’s a blessing right there.

This morning the hot coffee feels good on my throat. God has given us another beautiful day in the desert. I will continue to highlight lines in the book I got for 40 cents at the library, Brennan Manning’s “Ruthless Trust” (I know the Holy Spirit put this in my hands) Brennan says:

The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness. Gratitude arises from the lived perception, evaluation, and acceptance of all of life as grace–as an undeserved and unearned gift from the Father’s hand.

This morning I walked out to empty the trash and the sky was brilliant blue. It’s the kind of morning where the weather itself makes you want to belt out that song from Oklahoma, “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day…….” I would only change one line in the song because in our yard, it’s not the corn that’s as high as an elephant’s eye, it’s the okra!”

Peace to you today, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Walk in gratitude with me today. Thinking of those who died to give you freedom, both on earth and in Heaven!

A Champion for Ragamuffins



He was a champion for Ragamuffins everywhere. When I heard he died yesterday I was saddened because of the words of grace he will no longer write, but I was happy knowing he was with Jesus. Brennan Manning’s book Ragamuffin Gospel went through my parents house and then mine and then everyone we knew, we bought extra copies and passed them like batons at relay races.

Brennan Manning was like a quiet megaphone that spoke softly and yet loudly into our hearts something that we tend to forget. That we are dearly loved by God, and there is nothing we have to do to earn it. Like Sally Field’s memorable Oscar speech of 1985 in which she emphatically claimed, “You really, really like me,” Brennan Manning had a mission, and that was to spread the word that not only does God like us, He really really loves us.

He opened us up to the possibility that there was nothing we had to do to earn God’s love. That’s what spoke to my heart.

 He hung out with dignitaries as well as twelve-steppers, and his book made me cry more than once.

And he also challenged me in my walk:

In the final analysis, the real challenge of Christian growth is the challenge of personal responsibility. The Spirit of Jesus call out a second time: Are you going to take charge of your life today? Are you going to be responsible for what you do? Are you going to believe?

His words were a balm for my soul and I won’t forget him.

Even today, I grabbed my copy of Ragamuffin Gospel and threw it in my bag. I may never get the time to open it, but I know it’s there and it makes me feel good.

Enjoy the first day of the rest of your life, Brennan Manning, and we will join you after a time.

Then we will all be Ragamuffins Redeemed, sitting at the feet of Jesus with you. Until then, we will re-read your books and strive to live and walk in the footsteps of Jesus until such time as we begin our own forever with Him.