Don’t judge the outcome

Hebrews 10: 23-25  “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another”

We face trials of all kind in our work, in our relationships and in the world around us.  There’s no way to understand some of the things that happen to us, and to those around us.

A child without a sin is born without any limbs.
A person heavily involved in their church and in the community gets a cancer diagnosis.
And recently, a child takes their hurt out in a school claiming far too many lives.

Isaiah 55: 8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God’s plans for what we see as senseless can’t be appreciated in the moment, but just because we can’t make sense of these things doesn’t mean there isn’t a plan.  It doesn’t mean we can’t, or won’t, feel a full range of emotions.  But to believe we can understand God’s plan is giving us too much credit, believing ourselves as wise as Him.

Proverbs 3: 5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”Leaning on myself, my own understanding and elevating myself led me down a path I won’t choose ever again.  We all have choices we can make that extend well beyond what we’re going to wear or eat.  Sharing our moments of grief, of trial and of joy (it’s easy to forget that one) draw us closer to one another, and closer to God.  It’s certainly God’s desire that we have community, we were never intended to be alone (enter Eve).

It’s really easy to be overwhelmed, and to pull back from the world and isolate.  I know those feelings all to well when the phone feels like a 500 pound weight, or showing up at a previous commitment seems intolerable.  It’s not surprising.  Out of the primary emotions, there really is only one that can be viewed as positive, the rest are all negative and easy to get bogged down by.  Try not to judge where you’re at, or how you’re responding in a moment, there are always reasons and self-judgement is a deterrent to any relationship.  Christ doesn’t judge us in a moment, He loves us always regardless of circumstance or decision, who am I to judge myself and beat myself up?  Those are times though that I need to be surrounded by others, connected to others and leaning into a Father that loves me.

My own hijacked thinking seems really logical in a moment.  It’s not until I bring others into my thoughts that I can understand how nonsensical I sound.  I need the commitment of others to reflect back to me what they’re hearing, and to help me get grounded.

Romans 15: 1-5 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am blessed by each of you and by your stories.  You are courageous and loved.  I am challenged by my own story, and by many of the stories that come out of the world around me.  Nothing however, will deter me from putting my whole faith in Jesus.  Because out of each story that begins with tragedy, it’s not the end, merely a beginning.

The child born without limbs uses his circumstances to encourage others, and to live a life filled with abundance in ways most other’s choose not to.
The cancer patient brings their faith into their chemotherapy treatments and encourages others to find God.  Now she’s volunteering at the same hospital, and helping others in similar situations.
We don’t yet know what will be written of the most recent school shooting, but I cling to my faith that understands there are no lives that are wasted, even in the face of senseless tragedy.  I can’t make sense of it, but I know God has plans in everything.

Romans 12: 9 Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Grace, peace and love

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