Foxes at the Tower

Today, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time thinking about Romans 8:28. You know the verse. You’ve probably heard it quite a bit from your pastor. I know I have.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I’ve been thinking about it because I never would have thought God would use what amounted to a nervous breakdown and a large cut in pay for good. Not that he couldn’t do it, I just didn’t think it would shake out like that.

It’s true my previous job function was very stressful, and that stress manifested itself very strongly through a series of very intense expressions of emotional…uh, energy. More like reactions, I guess–that resulted in a long medical vacation while I got my wits about me once more.

I’ve been fortunate at the opportunity to transfer laterally within the company (which is a very good one) into another position that I am perhaps more suited for, to a section with much less stress. I’m no longer in an isolated position and little opportunity for social interaction, either, but am working closely with a friend, and for another couple of friends, one of whom is the worship leader at my church.

My breakdown was ugly, and lots of people were around to witness it on a couple of occasions–one of which was at church. Yet God was faithful, and saw my hurt–even more importantly, my need.

So while I wouldn’t have chosen what happened, I see that God used it for my good.

I believe God used my brokenness to reveal something else within me, and to bring new healing to my life. I won’t complain about that at all.

For now, at least, I look out a dirty window every morning while the sun comes up instead of at a wall. I do my daily reading literally watching the sun rise over the desert. And this morning, there were a couple of tiny kit foxes watching me do it through the open door of my little shack.

That’s worth a pay cut in my book.

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When Life is Rocks

Sometimes I look around me and I see how terrible people are to one another. It can be politically nasty–Lord knows that’s everywhere. We just don’t seem capable of understanding that people are different, but that doesn’t mean they hate someone else.

Also we are killing each other for various reasons at unheard of rates.

We take things from people because we can.

We hurt people, perhaps because in some way that makes us feel better about our own pain.

We prey on weakness, including that of children.

Sometimes our words cause as much pain as our fists.

We forget kindness, even everyday kindnesses.

And it seems like there is no hope and we are just whiling away our days.

It’s like the desert, where I work and live. So unmercifully hot, and barren, and sparse.

There is this one area at a particular test site, where there is gravel spread out across the ground, and twisted metal from various things–relics of a time gone by. There is rust, and damaged wood, and a couple old chairs.

Old garbage, long forgotten.

This place seems forsaken, and bereft of hope.

But there’s this one spot, and it makes me think of hope. It makes me think of beauty from ashes when the rest of the place makes me think of waste and uselessness.

Tiny flowers, purple, fragile and beautiful reach out from the rocks, in the midst of nothing of use.

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I think that’s us sometimes. We don’t feel useful, we don’t feel beautiful. We’re waiting to die.

Yet like these flowers, we can reach out of the rocks and detritus of life.  And when we reach out of those rocks, we find there is a hand reaching back to take ours.

We don’t have to lie under a pile of rocks, and there IS hope, no matter what the world may look like, and sometimes is.

The hand reaching out to you and throwing the piled rocks to the side belongs to Jesus, who knows a thing or two about how hard it gets.

Don’t despair–things will turn around. Hold tightly to the promises made by God. He has plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Cling to hope, even when all you see is rocks.

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Morning Gratitude #2

I’m grateful for my wife being such a good mother. Our kids are smart and weird and talented and good and always an adventure.

I’m grateful for sugar free strawberry jam–it’s really good.

I’m thankful for my house. I think we’ve lived there for 4 years.

Really grateful for my Godly and amazing in-laws. If you know the Whitsons, you know what I mean.

I’m grateful my sister is doing so well with her health.

I’m grateful for my friends.

I’m grateful that God can use absolutely anyone.

Morning Gratitude #1

Starting today, I’m going to start out my day by listing some of the things I’m grateful for. Perhaps insignificant to many, but not to me. I’m grateful that…

Last night I was able to feed my family. Today I will, too.

Today I woke up coughing a little, and drooling like Cujo after a bat bite. But I woke up. I opened my eyes and I took a breath, then another.

Today I woke up and I heard my wife breathing, too.

Today I woke up in a bed, in a house, in a free country.

Today I listened to a sermon on the way to work, and I can play some of my favorite music as I work.

Today it occurred to me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Me. Hard to believe, but Psalm 139 assures me it is true.