Faith and Tears...Again

I thought of the following passage of scripture earlier today, in an emotional moment thinking about Summer. For anyone reading this who may not know her, she is one of my closest friends and is undergoing surgery right now to remove cancer from several places in her body.

After a CT scan last night they discovered "something" in her lungs. Two weeks ago when they did a scan her lungs were clear. That disturbed me, to say the least, and I can only imagine the mental/spiritual battle she and Jeremy were in after that news.

Anyway, I was at a low point this morning emotionally, and I wondered what happened to my faith. Then this story came to mind:

Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, friend of Jesus had just died. This is what took place when Jesus arrived:

"Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus therefore saw her weeping...He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see." JESUS WEPT. So the Jews were saying, "See how He loved him!'"

I am struck by the fact that Jesus, knowing He was going to heal Lazarus, raise him from the dead, WEPT. He was moved with compassion by the sorrow of his friends and by the death of Larazus and He cried.

I've talked to a few people today who said they've been a mess all day and they wondered why. Why would we wonder such a thing? Why would we feel guilty for crying?

Our friend is suffering, in a battle for her life, and her husband is, too.

Notice the Jews standing near said, "How He loved him [Lazarus]," because they saw Jesus weeping, visibly troubled.

I think this is a beautiful part of the Lazarus story. I think it's beautiful to weep with those who weep and to feel compassion for our friends. I think it's beautiful to have loved, and been loved by, a friend such that you don't want to lose her.

None of that means we don't have faith. Faith isn't lack of human emotions, it's trust despite emotions. In the presence of them. Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus moments later and, yet, He wept.

There is no shame in tears. The presence of tears isn't a lack of faith, it's the presence of love.


Isaiah 58

Isaiah 58

6 Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free

7 And break every yoke? "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,

10 And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom  will become  like midday.

11 And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. "Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;  You will raise up the age-old foundations; 
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell. (Isaiah 58:6-12 NASB)

Please do not quote and claim verses 8 - 9, without verses 6 & 7. They are void without the context.

Thank you.

Carry on. As you were.



Can I be honest for a minute?

Great. Thanks.

Last night I, and several other people, decided to pray for Summer, for relief from pain and for much needed rest. The reason we did that is because we believe that prayer works.

Well, first thing this morning I see where Summer was awake in the wee hours of morning posting on Facebook that she was in pain. Later she posted this to Caring Bridge:

 " I have been up all night with the worst pain since this last pregnancy."

Here's the honesty part - I thought, what the heck? We pray, specifically, for relief and it gets worse. Worse than its been in almost a year. Hmmmmmm...

Dave and I talked about it for a few minutes, and he reminded me that it isn't circumstances that we look to in prayer. It's God. If you'll read my last post, you'll see that God has been showing me that. But still...it got worse?

The kids were very restless this morning so I decided to throw them in the car. We drove to Jack's in Opelika to get Caeley a biscuit for breakfast. I was still thinking about prayer, and it's effectiveness and wondering if God's "No," last night meant He was just saying no in general and I should change the way I am praying.

I was thinking on all of this in the drive-thru and after I got our food, I went to pull out of the parking lot. The license plate on the car right in front of me said, 


I thought okay, I hear you. He has been saying that to me lately from every place imaginable. I just keep seeing that message written different places, and it's because I really need to hear it.

A couple of minutes later I took this side street that I never take, and drove past a little church. The sign out front said,



As Madea says, "Hellerrr." That's "Hellooo" for those of you that don't speak Madea. I'm going to just go with what the sign said. I'm going to trust God, that He is good, that He knows what He is doing and that He is full of compassion. And I'm just going to pray until...

Something happens.

Summer, Lori and I are going to Birmingham tonight because Summer has a CT scan in the morning at 7:15. She has been experiencing a lot of pain and Dr. Straughn wants to see what's going on in there.

I am asking you to do two things:

1. Trust God.

2. Pray until something happens. 

Pray for rest, relief, peace of mind and healing. I am going to forego the whole "give the doctor's wisdom" prayer and ask God to do something that would baffle the doctors and go way beyond their wisdom.

Will you join me?


On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

I grew up singing this at church. I always liked the song but never really understood it. Short and sweet, what God is teaching me is that my hope cannot be in anything other than Him and the promise of heaven. 

We can hope for things, for circumstances to change, for healing. 

We don't ever hope in things, in changed circumstances, in healing.

It's a small difference in a sentence, but a huge difference in the way we live, think, feel, pray and believe. If our faith is in a particular outcome or answer, then what happens when it doesn't happen? Sometimes we get exactly what we pray and believe for, but other times we don't. 

If things don't go our way, then we are likely to cast aside the only solid One there is, the only Constant we have, if we have rested our hope anywhere else. As Paul showed us in Romans 5, the hope that doesn't disappoint is in eternal life through Jesus Christ.

"and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us...so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:5, 21 NASB)

And as for getting through today, while we still see dimly (I love this line in the song),

My anchor holds within the veil

Within the veil...within His presence. That's where my anchor holds, that's where I won't be tossed by waves, capsized, overtaken. Within the trustworthy embrace of God the Father. It's not just a good song, it's the truth. 


None But Jesus

This song is one of my all-time favorites and there are a couple of situations in my world that have brought it back to mind. One situation is mine (ours) and the other is mine by association. The lyrics are powerful and at times I don't feel I can even sing it honestly, but I want to. The lines that get me every time are,

"When you call I won't refuse, each new day again I choose" 
"When you call I won't delay, this my song through all my days"

That's hard to sing honestly when your personal desires don't line up with what He asks you to do. For me anyway, you might be really awesome and never struggle with that. But the other line that I love is this one...and this is whats important to remember,

"In the moment of my weakness you give me grace to do your will."

He is familiar with our weaknesses, He is mindful that we are but dust, and yet He calls us anyway to do hard, but amazing, things. The beautiful thing is that if we will choose to, at minimum, ask Him to change our desires to match His, then He is at work in us to will and to do His good pleasure. He gives us the grace (which here means empowerment) to do His will - which is why we can say, 

"When You call I won't refuse"