Tag Archives: Deus

Alone – But Not Home

Rio de Janeiro - looking down hillside to CityI’m smiling as I stand barefoot, on a grass lawn: I kick off my shoes so I can feel the coolness of the grass under my feet – so different from the concrete around our home in Belo Horizonte!   We arrived in Rio de Janeiro this morning after an exhausting 8 hour bus trip during the night: cooler to travel at night.    Our bodies are tired, but mine is being refreshed.

After delicious hot café com leite (boiling hot milk poured into strong dark Brazilian coffee with natural raw sugar to sweeten it,) freshly baked and still warm crunchy individual pães (french bread) broken open and covered with dabs of melting butter and exotic fruit marmalades, different sliced cheeses, sweet pineapple slices and papaya – that was our breakfast, sprinkled with laughter and love!

I am now wandering outside with the warm sun on my back and from the vantage point of this high hill, looking over the lawn’s retainer wall  below me to see a mosaic of houses, then of tall apartment buildings and businesses and, there, in the far distance, I see the glint of the Atlantic Ocean under the canopy of a deep azure sky.

As I wander on the grass, I am conscious of the voices in the background: friends conversing intermingled with the laughter of children.  But this is my moment alone, and I cherish it and hold it like a soap bubble shimmering in my hand.  I know it won’t last long, but I’m enjoying the beauty of it while I have it.

My muddled thoughts become words to God.  Questioning the financial challenges we’re experiencing (because donors in the states didn’t keep their promises of giving to our mission outreach), on top of the other strains and stresses of language and life with all the cultural customs that we keep bumbling into.

“Lord, what can we do differently?  Where can we go for help?”

As my thoughts and question form into words, I continue looking around me, feeling the sun and the green grass, my physical body soaking in the sounds and sensations of the day that surrounds me.  This is so good!

 

My conversation with God continues.  Father, where can we go for help?
We are foreigners in a strange country.  Here in Brazil, there are no such things available when needed like food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits.  I become aware that, in the states, I had unconsciously depended upon the “safety net” these government services provided.  But now – there is no safety net. There is nowhere nor no one to whom we can turn to for help.

I suddenly stop, when the thought penetrates into my brain.
We are totally alone here. There is only God to help us.
It is between Him and us!

 

I look up at the blues of the sky overhead. I watch small clouds playfully dancing past, changing shapes fashioned by the winds.  I feel the breeze blowing through my hair and touching my skin.  I feel life around me and life in my body.  My mind is quiet and at rest.

I’m astonished at the peace I am sensing.

God, my Father.  The One I’ve talked to since I was a small child in my bedroom, with Whom I conversed when I fed the chickens and gathered the eggs, Who was my friend when I climbed a special cherry tree, its branches forming a natural chair for me to sit and read, hidden from others by its rustling leaves, Who has comforted me when I wept, and danced with me when I laughed.
He is beside me at all times. . . I can trust Him.

 

We will depend upon Him.  He is our safety net.  Government red tape fails.  People we love, fail.  But God does not fail!  His Word is true reality.

I stand there alone, surrounded by His love and thank Him. My life focus has forever shifted.
I turn towards my children as they call to me to come see something they want to share with me. The soap bubble disappears.
My mind is no longer muddled.

I personally know Who is with us.  We need no one else.

 Jesus and under his wing

 

Ps 91:1-2

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
NIV                                                             -Voni 

How do you think my focus changed?  Do you think it was a  positive change?

What about you?  What is your focus?

Are you trying to resolve everything by yourself, yet failing miserably?

Have you hit the wall, and you have no one to turn to?

Read the rest of Psalm 91 and Psalm 23.  Read them out loud, slowly and thoughtfully, listening.

Let me know what you think. . .

 

 

TRUST – OR FOOLISHNESS?

barn bTen years old: she stands on a humongous pile of freshly cut hay piled high in the hayloft, at one end of the barn.

The small girl looks across a space to see another humongous pile of hay at the other end of the barn.  In her hand she is tightly grasping a rope that is linked to a pulley high above her head.  The pulley is on a metal track that runs the whole length of the barn, from one end of it to the other.  She and two or three other children confer on the best way to hold the rope (It’s a little difficult to see them, for the barn’s light filters in through some of the few windows plus an area high at one end of the barn.)  But the voices ring clearly, through the streaks of sunshine filled with dust motes that fall in a varied pattern on the hay.

“Be careful.”  “Hang onto the rope tight!” “Keep your eyes open so you’ll know when to let go before you hit the wall at the other end.” “Don’t jump too soon. You want to be sure and land in the hay over there.”  “Swing hard as you take off so the pulley will go clear to the other end.  You don’t want to let go where there is only a little hay below you!”

The excitement is building as the girl hesitates – then she takes a deep breath, clasps the rope tightly, tries to move through the loosely piled hay, then jumps!

Swinging on the rope that is stretched tight from her weight and that follows the pulley high above her, she whizzes through the air (what a strange and delightful feeling!) sees the other pile of hay coming into her line of vision below, and lets go of the rope to fall, tumbling into the fresh sweet-smelling hay below her; well before she hits that other wall.

She scrambles to the top of the pile of hay, smiling and proud, as the other children erupt in yells of victory.  She did it!!!!  What fun!  Then awaits her turn to repeat the journey of swinging                  back to the other pile of hay.  She learned she can trust that rope and pulley – and is ready for more.

I was that small girl, along with my brother and some children from the neighboring farms.  This was a game we played every year after the hay was brought in from the fields, and put into the barn. (Which is why that rope and pulley were there in the first place.) We would play it occasionally on Saturdays until it got too cold or until the level of the hay lowered too much from feeding the cattle, and the jump became too dangerous and our parents said: “No more!”  We were almost relieved that they put up the barriers to our playing “the game”, for we’d begun to feel the hard thumps of falling into less hay.

Were we foolish for playing that game in the hay?

We’d watched that rope and pulley being used to lift heavy burdens of hay out of the horse drawn wagons – and later years tractor pulled wagons – then observed it pulled up into the barn and dropped into the haylofts.  We understood (without understanding fully) the mechanics of the rope and pulley and the metal track it rolled on.  We could trust it.  And if we followed the rules, we were okay.  Disobey those rules, and we’d be hurt.

open Bible s

Is this somewhat like our walk with Christ our Lord?  We’ve read His promises in the the Bible..  We watch others walking and trusting Him, and how God uses them.  We decid we’ll take the risk of trusting Him, and discover that it is a strange and delightful feeling to step out into the unknown with Him.

To obey Him takes TRUST.
He tells us to forgive (when we don’t want to) and we have to trust Him enough to obey.
We discover the freedom of stepping out from under the bondage of unforgiveness. This startles us as it liberates us, and we gain more courage to trust Him.  We learn more about love . . .
He also places limits, giving us boundaries to not cross: to protect us from hurting  ourselves or others.  We learn through experience that His boundaries are valid.

We’ve all learned that even those we love fail us.  But WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST HIM

Sometimes we misjudge and  hit a barn wall and get bruised, or jump and land in shallow hay.
Or we are surprised and hurt by attacks against us; betrayal, lies.
But we have a Hand to hold that is stronger than a rope, and God tells us:                                   

                                 

                                If the Lord delights in a man’s way,
                                He makes his steps firm;
                               though he stumble, he will not fall
                              Psalms 37:23   NIV
                                                  for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

 Jesus walking with small child

It is incredible to me how we are loved in this “hayloft” that we call life!

The mystery of the Trinity: God (our Father),  Jesus Christ (our Lord), and His Holy Spirit (our Counselor and Teacher), is Who picks us up each time, dusts us off, puts us on our feet again, then holds our right hands,

swinging us across empty spaces,
watching over us as He walks with us,
rejoicing with us over our victories,

holding us when we weep.                              

9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
From its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isa 41:9-10      NIV

  I have found Someone in whom I can trust – always.
     I want you to know Him also!

                                                                                                                     – Voni

Who or what is the rope you hang onto in your life?
 Do you know?