Monday, August 27, 2012

Reflections and Perspective

I just love this picture that I took in 2008 at a local beach.  I love the way the sun reflects off the water, the way the clouds cover just enough sun to emphasize the beauty of the sunset, the contrast of light and dark...This is simply a photo that makes me gasp at the same time it sends me into instant "relax" mode.  It also gives me a lot to reflect upon, like where my life was at that very moment and where it is now, and about the mysteries of life and the love and mercy of my Lord.  Most recently, it reminds me of perspective.  I'll explain.
How many times do we complain (and I'm speaking to myself here) when the clouds overrun the sky on an otherwise perfect day?  How often do we complain that there are not enough hours in the day?  How often do we moan about the change of seasons because, if you're like me, when the weather shifts, you HURT and you can't just wish it away or take some magic pill that stops it all?
If you're honest, if I'm honest, the answer to those questions is the same: far too often.  We grump, we moan, and we get depressed.  We kick the ground, we yell at God, and we forget.  What do we forget?  God's grace.
Look at the sunset in the picture.  Do you think it would be near as beautiful without the clouds?  Do you think the water would've been near as amazing without the ripples and waves?  Absolutely not.
We forget that God sees the full picture, not just the beginning of it or just the end.  He sees everything at once - our potential, our limitations, our successes and failures - and He loves us anyway.  He is the Great Artist, and if we just trust Him, our lives could be a brilliant work of art instead of the average one we make of it, if not the mess we tend to make of it.
We need to not fear the clouds.  We need to not fear the waves.  We need to not hate the changing of the seasons in our lives.  We simply need to cry out to God and hang on tight!  Let Him carry you through, especially when you don't have any idea where the wind may take you.  Remember: God already knows.
We make God so very small.  We limit Him.  We don't truly believe that He is an omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere present) God.  We think He is a man with limitations and fears like we are.  I don't know about you, but it makes me feel powerfully ashamed that I put God in such a small box.  Instead of Him being the God Who said, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3, KJV), I've turned Him into the neighbor next door who may or may not have that cup of sugar when I'm in a bind.  Ouch.  How little my faith can be at times.
Fibromyalgia is a trial.  It is HARD.  It is FRUSTRATING, especially when you have little ones and you are involved in so many things like I am.  But I must remind myself that God knew all about this from the beginning of time, that He allowed it for a purpose.  Did He cause it?  No.  Sin (and I don't mean individual sin, though that can sometimes be the case, but original sin and the author of it, Satan) is ultimately the cause of all things bad.  God does, however, want to use it for my ultimate good.  Do I understand the whys or the hows of it all?  No.  Do I struggle with thinking it's unfair at times?  Yes.  But at the end of the day, I choose to trust in my God, my Savior, and I choose to know that He is good and that it will be ok somehow.
There is great peace in giving your burdens to God, a peace that I cannot explain.  When I find myself crying out to God, telling Him, "Lord, I HURT" or "I'm stiff" and "I have SO much to do!", He always says to me in my heart, "Then give it to Me and let Me help you through it."  And you know what?  When I obey, when I yeild my stubborn heart and finally ask God for help and give it to Him, the pain may not leave, the stiffness may not go away, and I may still have that huge pile of laundry or that mound of dishes and kids running amuck, but God gives me His peace, His presence, and His strength to do it, and to do it with a smile on my face.  God will do the same for you - If you just ask.  God's funny that way - you have to ask.  He won't force anything on you, not even His help.  So take a risk and just ask Him to help.  You'll be amazed. :)
So, I leave you with this thought today: When you find yourself getting ready to complain about the clouds in the sky, when you find yourself getting ready to scream in frustration, direct it to God.  Pour out your heart.  Ask Him for His strength, His grace, His help, believe that He is a big God and can do it, and see what He does for you.  You won't be disappointed. :)  And remember, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13, KJV)
I encourage you to read James 1 and the rest of Philippians 4 when you can today.  It will be a real prospective changer, a challenge to you and will also encourage you!
May you have an amazing day...even if it is Monday. :)

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