We had a wonderful idea. We thought of lanterns lighting the night sky. We thought of Gods word permeating through the darkness, reaching the stars and settling in their glow. A group of lanterns, I thought. Who could miss them? We carried them with us. We reached a hill in a public park that I could not decipher. Each lantern carried a verse. As the fire holding it adrift faded, I dreamt of each verse falling into the arms of one of Gods children, sparking a similar fire in the hearts of it’s new companion. We lit the first lantern. My sisters and I, that is. It spiralled into the sky. The wind had it’s way with the flame and it burst to life. We watched that little lantern, our practise run, soar so beautifully. Then its direction shifted, heading straight for a tree. Holding my breath as I watched it settle snuggly on a branch. The fire caught snuggly too. It spread. Fast. A whole tree alight with Gods fire. A fire engine paved the way for the police. The police then paved a way for the angry locals. The angry locals lighting a way for the nearest news channel to broadcast our faces to the world. We had created a fire in a public place with a recklessly wonderful idea that got out of hand. They made a mockery of our high hopes – our holy goal for the lanterns. The cameras surveyed the remaining lanterns, just sitting there, waiting for a flight that was not to be. Carrying verses that would never reach the sky, or the people I thought destined to find them. “How silly do you feel right now?,” the news reporter asks. I hate that the questions directed at me. My sisters squirm in the background, puzzled as to how God could let the night end up this way. My parents were probably watching. Old school friends recalling how we, the Holy Joes of the school year past, could be the only ones to pull a stunt like this. My cheeks flare up red. Everyone watching and judging and I know it. Then I realise Gods plan was blossoming before an entire nation, all thanks to a little lantern who dared to stray from the path we created and form a treacherous and radical route of it’s own. A route that caught the world’s attention and successfully broadcast our inky, handwritten verses to the thousands of people tuning in. They didn’t even have to leave the ground – to sit there and face inspection from angry authorities and gossip hungry reporters was all they had to endure to mean something. 5 grounded lanterns and one little tear away paving the way for my sisters and I to understand what God dreams for us. To dare to venture paths untraveled. To believe in the steadfast tree that anchors us and brings our dreams to life, immersing us in a faith so fiery, it’s seen from miles around.
These things did not really happen. The little lanterns journey reached completion in the depths of my imagination.
Will you be that tree for me, Lord?
Can I be that little lantern for you?
I had a slight crisis in faith last night. Something happened and I suddenly found myself all confused about why this was happening and whether I should even be holding out hope. I begged God to be with me. I prayed that he’d help me sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. But I woke up and still felt pessimistic. My hearts been constantly stirring this last week and hasn’t had much time to be shaken for the worst. I let feelings that I’d been doing so well to hold off, hit me like a tsunami! But I’m feeling better now. I had a quiet time and set everything right in my head.
A friend showed me this verse:
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; hope. And Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” - Romans Ch5: v3-5
It strikes me now, as I’m writing this, that all the verses I’ve been drawing comfort and guidance from have spoken about three main things - Hope, forgiveness and perseverance. There’s been a lot of patience thrown in there too. I know God’s allowing me to grow. I can feel it happening! It’s painful, but it’s also refreshing. Whatever he has in store for me will be better and I’ll appreciate it more because of this trial. With or without this person, God will bring me happiness. I have a personal assurance of how this will work out, which drives my hope. I don’t believe it’s been placed there by my own desires, but by God. I just know that I can’t miss out on all this spiritual growth by trying to rush to the end result. I have to sit tight, be patient and let God do this on his own terms.
I’m so thankful that I’m really not alone, even though I feel like I am sometimes. I’m literally placing ALL my hope in the Lord. I hope he warrants this hope by fixing all this for me, repairing everything and strengthening all involved.
“No one whose hope is in you, will ever be put to shame.” – Psalm Ch25: v3
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Such an overused saying that’s so cliché, I hate admitting there’s an ounce of truth to it. But until you find yourself hoping that the other side of whatever you’re facing is so much better and worth all the pain and heartache, you tend to cling to these sayings. I certainly have.
I woke up at 9am this morning and lay there pining for my bible! I dragged myself out of my warm cocoon and brought it back to bed with me, hoping that God had something to say. I read some psalms and then my stomach started rumbling so badly I couldn’t ignore it…but I did find words of encouragement and James 1:12 reminds me of this saying except delivered straight from God himself -
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who Love Him.” – James 1:12
I’ve been drenching myself in these kinds of verses to remind myself that everything gets better with God in the long run. He’s breaking my spirit to save my soul. He’s giving me valuable life experience. He’s letting me feel what my friends have felt. What my future daughter may feel someday. He’s giving me the words to counsel others who have faced the same things. He’s blessing me despite this wall of pain I keep running headfirst into. It’s funny because when he’s holding me back and reminding me to bite my tongue; I’m like a spoilt toddler. I get annoyed at him for a moment and then I soften up because he’s my father and I know he does it because he cares.
I don’t know what the next few days hold for me but I’m nowhere near as fearful as I thought I’d be. I have moments of doubt. I shed a tear if I think about it too deeply. But I’m placing it into Gods hands so that I don’t have to think or analyse it so much. I’m going to spend my time letting him help me understand. There’s a mild sense of happiness in all of this. I’m happy God’s testing me and giving me the chance to grow. I’m surprised at how well I’m coping but I’m surrounded by hope right now. I may not have that soon enough and I’ll be an angry, hurt and confused child, lashing out at God. But he understands and he’ll let me lash out until I’ve nothing more in me.
All in all, whatever’s beyond this has to be better. It has to be worth it. It’s going to have Gods Will written all over it and I’m going to be happier. That’s all I need to know right now.