“If it's true I live in a world where hope has all but died, and if I really have a living love alive in me,
How am I letting it be known? How am I letting it be seen?
These are the signs, these are the signs of life: the love that proves there is a living faith inside…
These are the signs, these are the signs of life: the compassion and concern that make this world turn…
These are the signs of life!”

-Steven Curtis Chapman

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Under Renovation

I transferred to a new church - with some amazing people in it - a few months back. I left a “mega-church” to attend a recently-started, English-speaking church in a predominantly Spanish area. A few weeks before I officially transferred, Forward Fellowship Church was able to obtain a new building to hold services in, instead of the community center we’d been renting on Sundays. The place looked great on the outside: four strong walls, a good roof, centralized location… But inside – it was empty, and it was a wreck.

Merriam-Webster defines “renovate” as:
1. : to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding)
2. : to restore to life, vigor, or activity

We needed to renovate the building to make it fit for the life, vigor and activity that we dreamed would take place there. For weeks, people would come together and do just that. We tore out walls; we broke some things down and built others up. We rewired the electric, water and lights. We threw out the junk that hindered our goals by the truckload, and made some of the good things even better. The empty building began to be filled with new things that fit our purpose: flooring, chairs, tables, paint – just a few of the materials we needed to make it what it was supposed to be.

I’ve known Christ as my savior for seven years, and in that time, He’s renovated. He’s renovated me in order to make me fit for the life, vigor and activity that He dreams will take place within me. He’s torn out my self-righteousness; He’s broken down my temper and built up my love for others. He’s rewired the way I think, the way I speak, the way I act. He’s slowly but surely throwing out the junk that hinders the goals He has for my life, and He’s made the “good things” I did for my own glory become things that now I want to do for His glory. He took my empty life and began to fill it with new things that fit His purpose: patience, joy, mercy, passion for Him – just a few of the tools needed to make me into who I’m supposed to be. He’s renovating my life.

Forward Fellowship still has a long way to go before we’re finished with the entire building. There’s an entire room in the back that’s not being used: it’s filled with things that need to be taken out, removed and changed to become all that we confidently hope it will be. There are places where we still need to finish the floorboards. Total renovation is a slow process. In the same way, Jesus is still working on me, quietly – and sometimes not so quietly – hammering away at things that have to be removed. My pride, my apathy, my sometimes-tentative trust in His plan – those things and more are being slowly knocked out, worked on and repaired as needed.

That renovation is also called sanctification; becoming more conformed to Christ as He works in my life. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s freeing. But it’s always bringing me closer to the life, vigor and activity that He plans for me.

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1: 4-6
So He keeps working away at my heart and life, and will continue to do so until I finally die. He loves me too much to leave me empty and broken. He loves me too much not to renovate.

Under the renovation of Christ,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Word and Deed

“Hey you do the sign language at church right? I see you every Sunday morning…”

“Aren’t you the waitress at the BBQ restaurant down the street?”

“Weren’t you that interpreter from the conference two months ago?”

All of these questions were posed to me recently. All of them are true, all of them said in a very sweet manner. But let me be honest: I have no freakin’ clue about who these people are.

The church that I attended from fourth grade until the end of August has several thousand people, so when people recognized me, it was normal for me not to know who they are. But, the guy who told me he’d seen me signing was in my new church, where we have a little less than seventy people attending… but I’ve never seen the guy before. The couple who asked if I was a waitress – yeah, also no idea who they are. They didn’t even seem familiar, but they knew me. The one who asked about the conference – I don’t even remember that job except that there were Deaf people in the audience, the lights were too bright and I was precariously balanced for six hours.

So what’s my point?

These people noticed and remembered me for my actions. They remembered that I do ASL, that I am a server, and that I’m an interpreter. They recognized who I was based on my actions.

I think that’s how Christ wants us to be. Every action, every word, every move that I make should reflect Jesus to the people who see me. If I've known someone for six months and they don't know I follow Christ by my words/actions, they deserve an apology.

I don’t like speaking in public. I am not the type of girl that’s going to be standing on the corner preaching about the salvation of Jesus. It’s just not going to happen unless God gives me a personality switch – but I can still be a witness for Christ.

I want to live out the gospel. I want people to look at my actions and words, and be compelled to recognize that God is working in my life. It’s said that actions speak louder than words; if my actions match the actions of Jesus, they’ll be louder than any words I could ever vocalize.

It’s an awesome concept: being the gospel of Jesus instead of just talking about it. It’s a two-edged sword of course. When my actions don’t line up with Jesus, when I don’t represent him in how I live, I’m not showing Him to my friends.

This isn’t something I have mastered. I’m a continuous work in progress in matters of grace and faith. Will you pray for me, as I aim to suite my actions to my words? I’ll be sending up prayers for you, too.

"Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

- St. Francis of Assisi

In word and deed,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

“Casey do you ever take off those rose-colored glasses?”
- A friend of mine asked me that question last week. It had been after I’d jokingly told her that I’d developed magical powers, because it seems like I can control what songs are played on the radio.

“Did you EVER fit in as a kid??”
- That question came courtesy of an un-courteous coworker, upon discovering I preferred reading to watching television, even as a child.

“It’s like you go out of your way to be intentionally weird.”
- My sibling, regarding my dislike of large social situations and tendency to ignore social expectations.

“You look crazy when you talk to yourself in ASL.”
- My other sibling, commenting on how I use sign language as a mnemonic device to study.

“Why can’t you just be normal?”
- ... My own thoughts this time…
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” [Jeremiah 31:3]
- God’s voice, reminding me His love for me is eternal.
“As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” [John 15:9]
- God’s voice, reminding me I’m accepted just as I am.
“I am a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
- God’s voice again, reminding me that His faithfulness covers my quirks, oddities and errors.

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…” [Song of Solomon 6:3]
- This time, it’s my own voice. Remembering that God created me, that I was bought with a price, that there’s no condemnation for those in Christ, that I’m a daughter of God. It’s my own voice, choosing to remember God’s words, choosing to remember His promises, choosing to remember His voice.

In the end, His voice is the only one that really matters.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Have You Had a Dose of Encouragement Today?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).

Today, Sept. 12 is National Day of Encouragement! I first heard about it at (in)courage and fell in love with the concept. One day, set aside just to encourage other people - I love it!

To celebrate, DaySpring decided to encourage me and others by giving away 10 absolutely BEAUTIFUL cards so that I could encourage and love on others.

I was so excited when the package arrived, and I immediately started thinking about which card would go to whom. When I say excited, I mean, EXCITED! While I plan on sending the rest of the cards out this week (I’ve decided that I’m making it my own personal Encouragement Week), one sweet friend popped into my mind for this day (and post!) in particular.

This girl is off the chain! :) She’s beautiful, inside and out. Her heart is bigger than Texas. So, I picked a card that reflected how she’s been on my mind recently – and I spent some time really thinking about what I wanted to tell her.

So: I used this particular card to tell her what an encouragement she has been to me, from text messages to FaceBook posts. I reminded her how incredibly special she is, from her sweet spirit to her bubbly laugh - head to toe, this chica is AMAZING! And lastly, I encouraged her to keep chasing God in every aspect of her life. This was a major point for me: her life, her actions, are an encouragment to others, and she represents Jesus in amazing ways. I don't want her to ever forget how much Jesus loves her, and is using her to show people His love!

Now, not only will my lovely friend have an encouraging note that will be arriving in her mailbox soon, this really helped me develop a deeper appreciation for my sister in Christ! I hadn’t realized how encouraged I would be simply by encouraging someone else!

Have you encouraged a friend lately? If you haven’t, today’s a great day to start! Are you in need of encouragement? I’d love to pray for you!

My prayer for you this week is this:
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." - 2 Thessalonians

In every good deed and word,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Unfairness of Life and Grace

A friend of mine, Tiffany, who went through a rather crappy situation was texting me the other day and she asked me what I thought about it. I told her I really didn’t know. Then she said something that made me stop and think for a minute. She asked, “Is there some life lesson in there somewhere, other than ‘Life’s not fair’?”

She and I have these conversations often. We talk about life, grace, grades, Christ and boys. I wanted to give her a wise answer that matched the depth of her question. So I thought…and thought… and thought. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something like, “God never promised us life would be fair.” It wasn’t enough.

I can't disagree with her. Life’s not fair. I couldn’t think of one positive about the situation she shared. It sucked, and wasn’t the “it’ll be better tomorrow” type. In that moment, life just wasn’t fair. And that turned me to looking at my own life: my folks are dealing with their struggles. I have friends who aren't doing great right now. I’ve dealt with one financial setback after another for three months. I’m battling loneliness, and going through a season of change in my life. [Anyone who knows me even a little bit can attest to the fact that I don’t handle change well. I literally have a mini panic attack every time my folks move the furniture.] It seems like everything at the moment can fit in the “it’s not fair” category.
So how in the world can I tell my friend it’s going to be okay? She’s right: life’s not fair!

But – maybe there’s more to it than that. My mom’s motto when I was growing up was, “If life was fair, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the cross.” Not what I wanted to hear as a screaming six year old, but still accurate.

Here’s my conflict: I have to praise God that life isn’t fair. “Fair” would mean that I’m damned to hell for my sins, for my disobedience to God. The cost of sin – the things I do that go against God’s laws – by their very nature bring me death, but God’s love for me and you is so crazy and over-the-top, He offers us life through Jesus. (See: Romans 6:23 and John 3:16-17)

If life was fair, Jesus would not have died for me. Yet, He did. He turned karma inside out when He offered grace. The “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” idea is over; that “as you sow, so you shall reap” stuff is gone. It’s only because of God’s willingness to chuck FAIR out the window that I can even call myself a Christian!

So how do I reconcile these? How can I be upset that life isn’t fair and complain to God about it, when the only way I can even have the relationship with God in the first place is because He was willing to put fairness aside, and offer me grace? How can I simultaneously thank God for not requiring fairness, when I demand fairness in my own life in the exact same breath?
I’m still figuring out. But this is what I’ve found: my circumstances – fair or not – cannot change who I am in Christ. I know God is with me, and upholds me. [Isaiah 41:10] I know my peace is from God, because Jesus has overcome the world. [John 16:33] I know God Himself is my peace, and He is with me. [Psalm 46:1-3,7]

I think that my Jesus is the same as He was before I went into this valley, and I know He’ll be the same when I reach the mountain top. My circumstances outwardly may change, but it doesn’t change who He is. And it doesn’t change who I am: I am an adopted daughter of the King, who was only made a daughter by the unfairness of grace.
So Tiff, this is my real response to your question. I hope it makes sense.

“So although I don’t even begin to understand all of who this Jesus is, I’m going to praise God that He isn’t sane,that “he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Because that’s good news for a reasonable people like you and me. For we were safe and secure in our sins and indifference, repaying evil with evil, perpetuating the cycle of revenge, when God, who is rich in mental illness, and abounding in unclear thinking died and did good to those who never did anything good for Him. May we unlearn to do the same.” -Mike Donhey, of Tenth Avenue North

Embracing the unfairness of life and grace,

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I think that sometimes, God designs sunrises just for me.

In order for me to get to work on time three days a week, I leave my house at 6:20 AM. That means that at least three days a week, I see the sun rise over the edge of the horizon, casting light over the city and welcoming the new day.

Sometimes, the sunrise seems like just another every day event: it's expected. Sometimes I even get annoyed by it, because I drive East just when it comes over the buildings in the horizon, and it can be blinding.

But other times... other times, it's like God made the sunrise just for me. Similar to how my mom would pack me little, "I love you" notes when she made me lunch for those homeschooling field trips, maybe God is leaving me love notes via the pink and purple hues that ride the dawn. Maybe God's like a painter, selecting my favorite colors, knowing that the combination was just perfect for me.

It caused me to take some time to honestly thank God for everything He created - all too often I take it for granted. I wish I had my camera, so I could have captured the moment and keep it as a reminder (although I was driving, and that would have been dangerous, so it was probably a good thing...). It makes me wonder if God is up in Heaven, thinking, "Casey, I know you love these exact color combinations and you need some encouragement; I made this sunrise with you in mind!" I don't know if God thinks like that. I kind of hope He does.

Maybe the sunrise was for me, or maybe the sun just came up and I took the time to notice it. Maybe God's been working on my heart, which lead me to recognize beauty in what He's already made; maybe my heavenly Father knew I've been a little homesick for my friends this week and needed some extra love. I don't know. I think it might be a combination of everything... and it lead me to thank God for being the Artist that He is, who takes the simplicity of a sunrise and turns it into an encounter with holiness.

Maybe it was made for me, and maybe it wasn't. I really don't know.

But I can tell you that the sunrise was beautiful this morning.

Still amazed,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting Through the Door

Even the government doesn’t want me as their sign language interpreter. Or… something like that.

Recently, I was to work at a governmental place as an interpreter. So, I do my normal procedure: get lost, wander around until I find the place by accident, go through a security metal-detector-thing, fail, and go through again, and find someone who can point me in the right direction. (Directions and passing security metal-detector-things are not among my strengths.)

This is a high security building, so I ask security officers who I need to speak to in order to get into the proper place. I showed them my ‘terp ID badge and verification forms for work, etc., to prove who I am. They respond: “We don’t have a sign language interpreter scheduled today.”
That really wasn’t my question. So I tell them specifically what thing I’ll be interpreting for, the agency I work with, all that stuff. They say no. I tell them I’m going to call my Contact Person in case there was a miscommunication. They say no phones may be used on the premises. I ask if one of them could call to verify instead. They say no.

They won’t let me move forward, and where I’m at, I really can’t go back outside. The extra time I had before the assignment starts is almost gone.

Then - my awesome teammate shows up. He walks through security (passing the metal-detector-thing the first time), comes up to the SAME security guys, and goes, “Hey guys! How’ve you been? Listen, Casey and I are interpreting soon; would you mind taking us back to the room? Thanks.”

And like magic, they let us go to the right location, my teammate leading the way. No questions asked. No need for justification.

It made me come to two logical conclusions:
1. Not even the government wants me as their interpreter.
2. Sometimes, you can’t get where you want to go, without someone else to get you there.

Okay, so number two is actually my main point: I’m suck without someone to go ahead of me. Without my teammate, I wouldn’t have been able to get in. (At least not on time.) Likewise, without Christ – I wouldn’t be able to make it to Heaven.

I had proof that I was a legitimate interpreter today: my ID, my forms, etc. but I didn’t have the right person to get through. In life, you can have all the “right things”: do good works, feed the hungry, be honest, help old ladies cross the street, take care of orphans and widows. All of that stuff is good! But if you don’t have the right Person – that person being Jesus Christ – you’re stuck. You cannot make it into Heaven on your own, if you don’t have the right Person to go ahead of you.
Jesus is the only way to Heaven. It's only through Him that you can be fully justified and allowed to enter.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” – John 14:6
That’s what I learned today. And I have a new story to add to my growing list of “One time, when I was interpreting…” stories. It’s almost as amusing as when my student kicked a live roach at me...

Following the Leader,


Friday, July 16, 2010

Happily Ever After: Snow White

I love fairy tales. Growing up, you couldn't drag me away from books and movies that were full of princesses and happily ever afters. Right now, my church is doing a series where we're studying Fairy Tales to find Biblical principles, called Happily Ever After. This week, we studied Snow White.

Now, I'm sure you know the Snow White story: the beautiful girl who was banished to the forest by her evil step-mother. She ends up finding shelter in the woods, where she sings with the forest animals, meets the seven dwarfs, and is taken in and is accepted and loved and has peace. The dwarfs told Snow White that when they left for work, she shouldn't open the door to anyone. Unfortunately, when Snow White was alone one day, an old woman came to the door and offered her an apple. Snow White allowed temptation to rise, and she opened the door, took the apple - which happened to be poisoned. When she bit the poisoned apple - she died.

Back when God first created the world, he set up a beautiful garden for Adam and Eve. It was a place of acceptance and love and peace. God told them they could eat from any tree in the garden, except one. (See: Genesis 2:17-18) They were in a perfect world... but temptation came, and Eve gave in, eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and offered it to Adam who eat from it as well. Then - they died spiritually. By committing that act of disobedience, they sinned, and therefore became disconnected from God.

Get it: by opening the door, Snow White disobeyed the dwarfs who made the rule for her own protection - and she died. By allowing temptation to lead to sin, Adam and Eve died. In Snow White, everyone is in mourning. Adam and Even are thrown out of the Eden. It's hopeless.

Back to Snow White: a prince comes, and he finds here in the middle of the dying forest. Even though she's dead the prince still sees her beauty and worth and he gives her the Heimlich maneuver (yeah, that's not in Disney version!) and she comes back to life as the poisoned apple is dislodged from her throat. He offers to marry her, and Snow White agrees. They go back to the the Prince's kingdom, and they live happily ever after.

The same way, a rescue mission was sent to Earth from God himself. The Son of God came down, and sacrificed his own life so to save his beloved ones. We were DEAD and yet when God looked at us, He saw something - and He valued it as worth saving. He brought us back to life. And just like the prince in Snow White, he offered to let us come back with him. Never forced, but offered to give us that Happily Ever After in His kingdom, where we're going to find acceptance, and love and peace again.

Hopefully, this will make you want to reread the story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-3 specifically) and maybe reacquaint yourself with your own personal Prince, who went on the ultimate rescue mission to bring you back to life.

"For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16

Thankful for the Happily Ever After,

P.S. If you want to hear the sermon online, you can go to: www.forwardfellowship.com
and click the "Listen to Forward Fellowship Sermons Online" button. You won't regret it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

World Changers

“The world needs dreamers, and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

I love that quote because it’s about people who change their world.
I hang out with a group of “world changers”. It sounds cliché, but I am absolutely, one hundred percent serious.

These people, my friends, have a vision to change the world. Not “changing the world” in that disconnected, crazy way that really doesn’t have any impact. These people have dreams that involve seeing a radical change in their own lives. A radical change in their families. A radical change in the city where we live. A radical change in our state, country, continent, and the rest of the world.

But they don’t just dream. They do. They make friends with people who believe and behave differently. They talk to the baristas at Starbucks and have conversations with servers when we’re out to eat. They look for ways to serve each other. There’s no competition to be the best, no desire to “one up” each other. When we’re together, there’s just laughter, and teasing, and Cuban coffee, and attempts to teach me Spanish, and late-night trips to Denny’s.

They’re dreamers who do, and doers who dream and above all else, they’re REAL.

They are flawed too – at the girl’s small group on Tuesdays evenings I attend, I hear stories of broken families, of broken lives, of broken hearts. The word “broken” comes up a lot, actually. They’re not perfect, and they don’t act like a pseudo-Jesus with the holier-than-thou attitude. They admit they don’t have it all worked out. They just genuinely try to live like Jesus modeled.

I want to be like that. Their passion and zeal for Christ and radical change to our way of self-centered thinking has the potential to be infectious.

I want that. It has a cost of course: it means being uncomfortable, putting myself out there, and chucking my pride out the window. It means diving deeper with God, and letting Him be the one who really makes the difference.

Though Christ, I choose to become a world changer – a visionary that both dreams and acts.

Changing from the inside out,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Name Is Not Fear

One thing about my life that always seems to plague me is Fear. I don’t know if I battle with it more than anyone else, but Fear really seems to attack me at my weakest moments, in me weakest places.

Sometimes, Fear is so adept at the attack; I take the fear and make it a part of who I am. So many times in the last month I’ve said, “I am afraid!” What I really meant was “I am Afraid!” – I was taking Fear and making it who I was. I owned it. It was – and sometimes still is – my identity. Casey and Fear can be synonymous some days. Afraid can be my name.

I don’t like being Afraid. But somehow the fight to see “Casey” without a streak of Fear nagging at my soul is rare. Fear has defined me for so long: a fear of looking silly, a fear of screwing up, a fear that my best won’t be good enough. Fears are normal I think. But the regular fear becomes “my-name-is-Fear” when I let it take a hold of my life.
Fear screams for me to run, to hide, to avoid being dependent on others, to resist because I might get hurt. It causes a constant clanging in my heart to be perfect at everything, because I’m not worth enough if I’m not the best.

But Love – well, Love is telling me the opposite. It’s telling me to rest, to come to the Light, to put myself in situations where I need to be surrounded by other people. Love tells me that it’s okay if I’m not perfect, because I was never expected to be, because Love doesn’t have those expectations. The only problem is that while Fear is screaming, Love whispers. Love is the soft calling in my soul that I too often ignore and focus instead on the panic Fear brings.

It’s hard to focus on the quiet voice of Love when everything else is screaming for my attention. It makes me realize what Elijah must have been going through in 1 Kings 19. Elijah just finished this awesome throw-down with some people who were worshiping false gods – then he got scared and ran away. He let the “my-name-is-Fear” type of fear take over. So Elijah finds himself on this mountain, after being told God’s going to pass by. This huge wind comes crashing down, then an earthquake, then a fire. Elijah was straining to find God in the loud, rushing things. “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” That whisper was God. That whisper was Love, calling the listener to make a change.

How often in my own life am I quick to assume the wind, earthquake and fire is actually God, instead of listening for the whisper? More than I’d like to count. Too often my identify is the Fear that’s screaming, instead of the whisper of Love.

I think it’s time I went to my own “mountain” and spent time listening for God’s whisper of Love in my own life. I don’t want to identify as Afraid – I want to be Casey, the one who Trusts. The one who is confident in Love. Casey, the one who is Unafraid! I'm starting to go out of my way to take fear and throw it out: I dressed up like a Battlestar Galactica character when I went to a comic convention, I started a conversation with someone I didn't know at church and I'm making an effort to talk in larger groups of people. Little things it may seem to some, but to me, those are huge.

I refuse to allow Fear be my identity any longer.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

Listening for the whisper,


Monday, June 7, 2010

Running Ahead

I live in constant expectation of the future. Expectation of seeing my friends again, of work and all that pertains to it; expectations of finding the right guy and falling in love and eventually being a wife. My expectations abound.

While expectations aren’t a bad thing, I think for me they too easily become skewed. Sometimes I run out ahead of where God is walking with me, and then I trip up because I can’t see what’s right in front of my nose, because I’m looking at the horizon.

I’ll be honest: I have a pretty strong patience for things. But when it comes to the future, I get lost in my day dreaming and get stuck in the mind set of “when will IT happen?” The “it” in question can be anything from getting a phone call from a friend to hitting the height of my career. I like to know when things are happened. I have a schedule planner, and I like to follow it.

But God never seems to let me do that. I think God must be amused by how stressed out I can be when I can’t see what’s going to happen in the future. (Maybe that’s actually what thunder is!) God’s word acts as “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Yes, I get that. He illuminates the way, showing me the paths to take to lead the best way.

The funny thing about lamps is that they don’t typically cast light out far enough for to see the entire road – just the next step or two. The rest is all taken in faith that when the next step happens, the lamp will still be illuminating far enough for me to take the next step, then the next, and so on. I just always seem to want to run ahead.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Christian who aided Jews during WWII. In the book that documents her life, called The Hiding Place, Corrie describes a scene that’s always stuck with me. Corrie, as a young child has realized that Death can happen to anyone, and she’s afraid it will happen to her father. Her father asks her, “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam – when do I give you your ticket?” She replies that he gives it to her just before they get on the train. “Exactly,” he replies, “And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run ahead of Him, Corrie…” (pg. 29) (If you haven’t read that book, drop whatever you’re doing, buy it and read it!)

Not running out ahead of God? That’s scary. I like knowing where I’m going to be and how I’m going to get there. Having my Father give me just what I need when I need it… that’s harder. Scarier. Braver, too. It requires faith. I live in expectation of the future. But I am learning to live in the expectation that today, in this moment, God is leading me on a path that will result in His glory, for His purpose, in His timing, that will eventually accomplish His plans. God is the light that’s shining on my path, and I have confidence that He will give me what I need when I need it. Not a moment too soon, and not a moment too late.

“Faith is the conviction that God knows more than we do about this life and He will get us through it.” - Max Lucado

Learning not to run ahead,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

It Doesn't Change Who He Is

“Even if God never does a single thing for the rest of your life and you die without Him having done anything for you – that doesn’t change who God is.”

Wow. I don’t know about you, but that is an intense message for me to truly wrap my mind around. On Sunday, one of my pastors was talking about Faith and who God is. We’ve been studying Hebrews for about four years now and today we came back to Hebrews chapter 11:1. I’m pretty sure every person in my church, including the two year olds can says this verse now because of how many times we’ve referenced it. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

I was interpreting the sermon and when I interpret, I don’t always remember a lot of what goes on because I’m so focused on the changing one language for the other, but for the second half of the sermon, the other interpreter took over so I got a break and could actually pay attention to the message.

That’s when he said it. “Even if God never does a single thing for the rest of your life and you die without Him having done anything for you – that doesn’t change who God is.”

Wow. That’s some serious stuff. If God never answers a single prayer for the rest of my life, it doesn’t change who He is? Now, mentally, I know all of this. But in my heart – let’s just say sometimes I doubt a little more. What if I’m praying for something really powerful, like for my friend who’s dad has an incurable disease that’s taking over his body? What if I’m praying for salvation for a family member who gets closer to death every day? What if I’m praying for things like a passion for a life that glorifies God? What if I’m praying for my friend’s family that is breaking apart? What if I’m praying for my relationship with my siblings?

What if God never answers those prayers with a yes? What happens to my faith if God answers “no” to each of my prayers? Some of those break my heart every time they come to mind. I have wept because of those prayers, none of which have yet to be answered. How, if I am to truly trust that He loves me beyond all measure, can I trust Him when He doesn’t answer?

But maybe it’s not that He isn’t answering, but He’s just not answering the way I want. Maybe my friend’s father will be healed on the other side of eternity. Maybe God’s calling me to make the first move in the relationship with my sibs. What if He’s calling me to trust Him and wait for His timing? Could I be assuming the worst about God because things aren’t working in my timing? Because in the end, when everything is said and done… it still doesn’t change who He is. His character never changes. His promises don’t change.

I won’t claim to have it worked out. But that statement really made me take a step back. I’m still thinking about it, to be honest. One thing I know beyond a doubt: He is who He claims, whether that means I’m on the mountain being restored and refreshed, or going through the valley, or if I feel like I’m stuck somewhere in the wilderness without hill or dip anywhere around. He is who He says.

Makes me think of the verse I found early this year when I was really struggling from Psalm 62:11-12a:

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.”

Learning who He is,