….there are seasons in a believer’s life – and sometimes the seasons change suddenly…Faith is perplexed and yet goes on pleading. The psalmist does not use God’s baffling him as an excuse for disengaging with God but as an incentive to press on with him. from – The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis
I don’t know just what season I’m in right now. It’s like the rainy season – sprinkled with showers of doubt; covered in clouds of despair. But sometimes, the clouds will break up and the sun will shine through and I am reminded that God is still there, always there, even when I doubt.
The Psalm begins this way in verses one and two:
Why do You stand afar off, O Lord Why do You hide in times of trouble?
The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which
they have devised.
Why? I’m always wondering why. I find myself too full of questions and doubt. But, the psalmist sees that God is good in verse fourteen:
But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.
And again in verses 17-18:
Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
My prayer for myself is that God would change my whys into words of trust. That I would
trust in Him to shelter me in the days of darkness and give me joy in the rays of His grace.
Those friends from middle school are unique. They are the ones you grow up with and make memories with that last forever. I’ve drifted away from most of those, but about six years ago I reunited with Cathy and we became closer than ever. It’s like we fell right back into that kinship that all the years had not erased. We began to hang out now a few times a month – it might have been a concert, listening to an author speak, going to a class, poking through a bookstore, or whatever we could find to do. A few years ago we even went to several funerals together. In March I had to go to one alone. Hers.
I don’t even know where to begin to think about Cathy. She was the kind of person who made you feel she was truly interested in you and your well-being.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24
Cathy truly stuck close to me, like the sister I never had. I could talk to her about anything. I don’t think I’ll ever have another friend like her. I thank God for the time he gave us.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. – Psalm 116:15
In Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding, Aunt Ellen was described as “…seeming exactly strong enough for what was needed for her life.”
This is so much like Cathy. She had a quiet strength that took her to the end with hope and grace. For the two years we corresponded via snail mail and texts, she never grumbled. Rarely would she mention a hardship, but when she did it was more like she was just telling me about it, not complaining. She would talk about the future, the adventures we would have. When I went to home to Jacksonville and took her out, she never let on how long it took her to get ready; how she had to wait for some of the drugs to get out of her system before she could function.
We would go out to eat and she would eat like a bird, then have the rest packed up to take home. But, we would sit at the restaurant for several hours just talking.
“Books were there… when I found a friend who loved books as much as I did and we could read together or spend an afternoon running our fingers over the spines.” -Mandy Shunnarah, from I Don’t Do It For You: A Reader’s Manifesto via her blog, Off The Beaten Shelf
This was us – we could spend hours rambling around bookstores like Chamblin’s Uptown in downtown Jacksonville. I will always miss my book buddy.
“…there is an absolute disjunction between our Father’s love and our deserving.” – from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
I came across this quote I’d written down while reading Gilead and it was the word disjunction that caught my eye. I’ll explain about why later. Disjunction means a lack of correspondence or consistency.
There certainly is no connection between God’s loving us and us deserving His love. I speak for myself, but I know it is true for us all. What in the world can we do to deserve God’s love above anyone else? Or at all? There are no works we can do to merit His favor. There is a multitude of works we can do, though, to show our love for Him.
Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
I Timothy 6:18
So, back to the reason this word jumped out at me. In my latest long-term substitute gig, I’ve been teaching 7th grade science. We are learning genetics and just yesterday we talked about nondisjunction. As an English teacher at heart, this word threw me because it seems to begin with two negatives. Even though my math skills are poor, I know two negatives make a positive, so now I’m confused.
Nondisjunction occurs in the process of meiosis when homologous chromosomes fail to separate properly during cell division. So, to back up, junction is the process of joining. So, that would seem to mean that disjunction would be a splitting apart. Which makes sense; it’s a lack of connection. So, it seems like NONdisjunction would be a lack of splitting apart. But, no, it is actually a lack of splitting apart correctly. NOW I get it! I feel much better.
Back once more to the original quote – I am trying to put these thoughts all together. God’s love does not come to us because we deserve it. We could not apply the word nondisjunction to this situation, because there is NO correct nor incorrect lack of splitting apart of these two ideas – God’s love and our deserving. These two will never correlate.
One thing I do know is that as I learn the intricacies of DNA, I am more awed than ever at the way God created us. And more overwhelmed at the fact that He loves me.
…Of how much more value are you than the birds? Luke 12:24
Sometimes I get despondent and it seems I am alone. I know in my heart that I’m not, but I forget that God is my Father, and a Father that cares more for me than I’ll ever know.
My dad had a hard time expressing himself. He grew up without a father as his dad died when he was only four years old. He had no role model to show him the way to express love to his children. I think I was a young adult before I ever heard him say, “I love you.” I knew he loved me, but it was music to hear him say it. Yet, the older and mellower he got, he began to loosen up and I heard those words more often.
I am thankful for all the years I had with him. And I’m thankful God is near me, even when I can’t “feel” Him.
“We need never shout across empty spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”- A.W. Tozer
That is how life goes – we send our children into the wilderness. Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give them. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves.” From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
I’ve read this over several times, but don’t really know what I can add. The sentiments expressed just really got to me.
My hope is in the LORD.
He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into water springs. – →Psalm 107:35