Reader alert...this post may be all over the place. Just sayin.
Yesterday morning while having coffee with a friend in our local small town diner Hannah was half way around the world being dropped off at an airport by the driver of her new friend...a Christian Indonesian diplomat. Indonesia is 1% Christian, 95 % Muslim and 4% Hindu.(Those are the statistics quoted to me by Hannah) What were the chances she would be entertained with sightseeing, dinner and a place to stay by a well-to-do woman taking Hannah under her wing for a few hours? They were also joined by a singer and his band whom Hannah later found out was a Christian artist who is famous throughout Indonesia and sings in his church.
I don't believe in chance or coincidence or karma. I believe our dear Hannah's trip to Southeast Asia is being totally orchestrated by a Holy God who loves this mother and her daughter more than we could ever imagine.
I often pray
Lord, whatever it takes, align the desires of my heart with Yours and whatever it takes Lord keep me desperate for You because because I tend to wander when I stop feeling my need for You.(these prayers are not original with me).
God then sees fit to answer these prayers typically in the area of those I love most, my husband and children. He has provided many opportunities to run to Him as Justin was deployed to Iraq several years ago, Kelsey went overseas three years ago and Hannah is the global wanderer where she is presently on her way to France to do volunteer work after being in Southeast Asia for a month. Her wanderings(the title of her web site) took her to Thailand where she was travelling with a longtime friend. Sadly, those circumstances changed and Hannah was left alone in northern Thailand. Skyping has kept us close as she has asked for advice about travelling alone. God has protected her in the busy city of Bangkok, the beaches and countryside of Bali and back to Bangkok. He has protected her from injury when she fell in a hole, battered and bruised but no broken bones. He enabled her to worship a few weeks ago with Westerners in an evangelical Church in Bangkok where the pastor was originally from New York.
Is she safe? Why is she travelling alone? And why is she travelling? are some of the questions I have been asked. The answer to those questions will have to be asked of her because I cannot speak for her or even begin to explain her dreams and desires. What I can say with confidence is that my trust is not in government that makes decisions I don't agree with, my trust is not in any relationships or particular people who may let me down. My trust is not in the good or bad choices my children may make nor is it in the fact of a daughter half way around the world travelling alone.
My trust is in Jesus Christ and the written Word of God which I cling to like butter on bread. The lessons of relying on my heavenly Father have been forged in the pain of loss, leaving and letting go of everything I hold dear. Following Jesus is a path of joy but of being a radical disciple. Because leaving all to forsake all others is a radical way to live. (Luke 9:23; 14:26)
On a less serious note, she has informed me of a souvenir she will be bringing home from Indonesia. We both love to drink coffee so we will be sharing some Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world given to her by her diplomat friend. Any guesses on how it's made?
Walking into a restaurant during the holidays, I spotted a couple that seemed so happy. It isn't often you see a couple sitting next to one another on the same side of the booth. We were led to our own table and
gazing into one another's eyes gazed at the menu and placed our order. It was hard to not look at this couple who acted as if they were the only 2 people in the place. I wanted to not look as they leaned into each other, shared holiday photos from their phones and put their arms around one another. I looked away many times. I wanted to stand up and shout 'stop it' when they stole a kiss when they thought no one was looking. All the while, we enjoyed our lunch, Rob assuming he had my undivided attention. But my eyes and thoughts were elsewhere as I struggled... because the couple were
My struggles that day and today are how to engage my culture, my Jerusalem, with the gospel, especially those who struggle with same sex attraction. I certainly had no business prancing over to their booth and telling them how offended I was.
the next struggle..I found myself desensitized...using the excuse that it's their business and not mine.
I've written here about a high school friend who is gay. I had two opportunities to love her and I have failed. If I find the post I will link to it.
I don't want to be the Christian who sits in the pew every week listening to how God's Word and the gospel changes lives, primarily mine, and then judge and point fingers Monday-Saturday. We're all sinners. The same grace and mercy extended to me 39 years ago is no different for those who find themselves in a gay relationship or struggle with same sex attraction or addicted to porn, or gossiping, not loving my husband and children, or anger or _________________________________(1 Corinthians 6:11)
Thirty nine years ago I was a sinner who was separated from God, I needed a Savior, I needed to be rescued from the domain of darkness.
The same Jesus who died and rose again making a way for me to be made right with God is the same Jesus who died for all sins.
Let us not peer over menus in a restaurant or point fingers in our hearts but love as Christ loved.
The Gospel for A Gay Friend
It was the summer of 2010 when I put my summer reading aside and began an in-depth study of Psalm 119. I studied to know God...love God more.
Out of that study came twenty or so devotions I wrote.
Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious, frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition. Jeremiah Burroughs
Contentment can be defined as satisfaction, adequately happy, pleased, delighted, glad, cheerful, being at home, peaceful of mind, serene, at rest...you get the picture.
This definition of contentment is not mine but does paint a great picture of what my heart should look like.
Years past my goal had been to find contentment in where I lived, good friends and family living close, close meaning within a day's drive. I wanted kids that didn't fight or spill the milk at dinner. I wanted them to be perfect as I played the Holy Spirit in their lives often making them miserable along with their discontented mother. I wanted to find contentment in my marriage, my circumstances or friends who were always there for me. I was not living as a pilgrim as the psalmist says in verse 19
I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.
I was not delighting in the law of the Lord, making His decrees my counselors. Psalm 119:24
Discontented because I was focusing on the temporal things of this earth rather than first delighting in the Word of God, trusting Him first...I was not at rest.
Over many years God has been faithful to draw me to Himself on a daily basis as I wanted to be at peace and be a woman after God's own heart and content, whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11-12)
Contentment can not be found in the circumstances but found in the Lord who is in the circumstances with you.
Content in the Lord even if the milk does get dumped all over the floor during dinner.