DEUS ESTÁ FALANDO COMIGO?

Brasilia – DF, Brasil, 20 de Abril de 2020.   

Estou literalmente esparramada na minha rede.

A rede está pendurada em um espaço pequeno; minha perna e pé esquerdo estendem-se na rede, minha perna e pé direito pendurados na borda. Alastrado é a palavra correta 😉

São 17:00 horas e o sol se põe em breve. As nuvens estão cobrindo o céu, deixando pequenas manchas azuis. A temperatura é de cerca de 72 graus F. (22° C). Hoje não chove – o que é bom.

O estacionamento de parte do condomínio de quatro edifícios, aqui em Brasília, está quase cheio. Normalmente, estaria vazio. Não tenho certeza de quando a quarentena estará suspensa. Por enquanto, a população aqui no Brasil ainda está aceitando – mas os estrondos do descontentamento estão começando a crescer. Quanto tempo o país poderá sobreviver sem trabalhar?

No momento, não tenho certeza de nada: exceto que posso confiar em Deus.

Memórias de Sua fidelidade estão derramando em minha mente, juntamente com os princípios importantes que Ele me ensinou.

foto: Ahmed S Shalapy

 Lembro-me da Segunda Guerra Mundial – 1941-1945, que mostra um pouco da minha idade? 😊

Como morávamos no Estado de Washington, EUA, perto do Oceano Pacífico, o teatro de guerra japonês era MUITO real para mim.

As conversas e preocupação quando alguém encontrou um torpedo de um submarino japonês nas areias da costa. Os exercícios aéreos em nossa escola fizeram com que os alunos tivessem pesadelos. Havia mapas pendurados na frente do quadro-negro mostrando a Europa (os horrores de São Petersburgo – Rússia e a Marcha da Morte de Bataan – Oceano Pacífico) – e muitos outros lugares. Os professores nos fizeram seguir a guerra, mas sem TV. O noticiário da noite no rádio colou a população às palavras ditas

As únicas vezes em que vimos cenas do que estava acontecendo foi quando fomos ao cinema (raramente!) E vimos os noticiários – é incrível para mim o quanto me lembro.

Incerteza. Racionamento. Famílias que plantam “Victory Gardens” para poderem ter mais comida. Sem manteiga (a margarina foi inventada. Era branca e tivemos que misturar o pequeno pacote de corantes para que parecesse comestível).

Amigos e entes queridos que não voltam da guerra. Nossas vidas foram totalmente mudadas. Mas Deus ainda estava lá.

1987 – Outra época em que eu estava andando na incerteza.

Quando nossos filhos descobriram que o pai deles tinha outra família, e nenhum de nós imaginávamos. Ele era pai de mais dois filhos. A mãe deles era alguém que eu ajudava há muitos anos. Nenhuma bomba, mas a morte de nossa família, como convulsões e a verdade, bateu em nossas portas. Voltando aos EUA. Andando com medo um caminho bem desconhecido. Três anos de pesadelos e aprendendo mais sobre a fidelidade de Deus.

O Espírito Santo me ensinou muito que mudou totalmente os conceitos da minha vida. 

Perdão. Bênção. Agradecimento. Aprendendo que Deus ainda estava comigo, mesmo nos EUA. Meu marido nos abandonou, mas Deus nunca!

Hoje é diferente – mas, mais uma vez a incerteza e o medo voltam a atravessar as nações.

Para a maioria de nós, não há bombas. Porém, há morte – inesperada; deixando cada pessoa consciente de que não temos controle sobre nossas vidas.

Se fôssemos honestos, já tivemos controle sobre nossas vidas?

Não – mas gostávamos de pensar que sim.

Enquanto estou na pequena varanda olhando os telhados de Brasília, sinto um cobertor invisível sobre tudo. As ruas estão quietas. O barulho das crianças brincando é quase inexistente. Cheguei aqui apenas alguns meses antes da cidade começar a “quarentenar” há dois meses.

Agora não ligamos os rádios, mas dependemos da TV e de nossos smartphones para nos manter informados.

Até agora, temos racionamento limitado. A maioria do básico está disponível. Mas há um racionamento definitivo de abraços e beijos. E está criando um vácuo em todas as nossas vidas. É interessante a importância do toque físico. Há também um medo: a nação poderá escapar de um colapso econômico?

As pessoas estão orando: nas ruas, em seus carros e casas. Esperando pela resposta de Deus.

Muito do que está acontecendo aqui também está acontecendo nos EUA – e em outros países. 

Muitas coisas atingem você e eu, emocionalmente e fisicamente. As pessoas estão lutando contra a fadiga, o medo, a falta de paz – e a lista continua. Todavia, não é para nós nos sentirmos culpados por essas emoções; em vez disto, devemos enfrentá-las, aceitá-las e levá-las a Deus, solicitando Sua ajuda e orientação como aprendermos a enfrentar os desafios.

foto: Sérgio Lima/Poder360 – 20.mar.2020

Veja o que Paulo escreveu. Podemos aplicar ao que estamos passando agora?

2 Coríntios 1: 8-11

“8 Irmãos e irmãs, queremos que saibam das aflições pelas quais passamos na província da Ásia. Os sofrimentos que suportamos foram tão grandes e tão duros, que já não tínhamos mais esperança de escapar de lá com vida. 9 Nós nos sentíamos como condenados à morte. Mas isso aconteceu para que aprendêssemos a confiar não em nós mesmos e sim em Deus, que ressuscita os mortos. 10 Ele nos salvou e continuará a nos salvar desses terríveis perigos de morte. Sim, nós temos posto nele a nossa esperança, na certeza de que ele continuará a nos salvar, 11 enquanto vocês nos ajudam, orando por nós. Assim Deus responderá às muitas orações feitas em nosso favor e nos abençoará; e muitos lhe agradecerão as bênçãos que ele nos dará. (Nova Tradução na Linguagem de Hoje).

Você e eu descobriremos a mesma fé que Paulo tinha, colocando nossas esperanças em Deus enquanto caminhamos pelo desconhecido, segurando a mão de Deus (Is 41: 11-13) e conhecendo a verdade das promessas de Deus (Romanos 8:28) 

– Voni

Puzzling Puzzles

hands_jigsaw_puzzle

 

 

 

 

 

I stand, looking at the puzzle.

The outside border is done:  you know, all those pieces with at least one straight line that eventually give the physical limits to the puzzle.  On the table are groupings of different colors and designs, carefully separated.  Inside the border, pieces locked into place, the puzzle is taking shape, coming towards the center at all sorts of different angles.

Those doing the puzzle must have the patience of Job.  It is certain I don’t have it!

As I stand, gazing, I remember years ago . . .1977  –  the first time my husband separated from our children and me. . . and what I learned from God about puzzles.

We are living in Belo Horizonte, our house on the side of a mountain overlooking the city.  I love the view of the sky from our big veranda.

This evening, I sit and watch the changing colors in the bowl of the sky that hovers over a valley and the heart of a city of 3 million. While the sun is rapidly disappearing behind the hills on the left, to my right the dark night sky is creeping up from behind the mountains. This is home. Adventures here?  Many!  Laughter, along with tears bathed in prayers.

I am still, watching the sky; feeling the breeze and the change of temperature as the sun disappears from sight and night is suddenly here.  I feel a slight chill, but don’t want to go in. I have much to talk over with God.

The house is emptier.  Our older son married in the states.  Our oldest daughter married in this living room, behind me. Our second daughter is preparing to go to the states to study, leaving our three younger ones at home.

But this is only a house, not a home.  My husband put it on the market to sell, and my younger three and I must find a place to live.  He would rather not live with us.  I prefer not staying in Belo Horizonte, for what kind of an example are we now: but where do we go?  I have no idea.

Ideas of different places chase each other through my mind as I face a new reality.  One day, I’m sitting in utter desperation in the car, talking to God.  I hear a voice (in my mind or outside my mind, I don’t know – but it is audible) and it is telling me “go to the United States.”

God knows I don’t want to go to the states.  I tell Him:  “Ok, I’ll go, Lord, if You really want me to go, but You know . . .” and I then give Him a list of things that have to happen for us to travel.  I think I’m safe– for, although they are realistic needs, I know they are absolutely impossible!

God’s answer . . .

Four months later, the house is sold, I’ve packed and stored some things in

the attic (with the new owner’s permission), sold most of the furniture. Lanae and our youngest son, leave on a plane for the states while our two youngest daughters and I continue camping out in the house as I finish their travel papers.

The day finally comes.

My estranged husband* drives us across the city to the airport. I pray all the way that God will not let us get on that plane: for the motor to die or something!  His answer is to get us safely to the airport.

The two girls and I board the plane to Rio, then another plane to Miami. Another plane to Dallas/Ft Worth, then the last plane to Portland.    It’s a long trip…into the unknown, especially since I do not want to be here!

 

What does all of this have to do with a puzzle?  

A trip like this is exhausting, and questions are battering my mind.   Why, God!?  What is going to happen?  And Lord, there are lives in Belo Horizonte that I’ve been sharing with about YOU?  What is going to happen to them?  Why do we need to leave? ? ? ? ? 

In my mind, I see a puzzle on a table. The outer borders are in place, some of the puzzle filled in, pieces spread out on the table, awaiting their turn to be fitted into their places.  The Holy Spirit ** shows me that these pieces have to be placed in their proper order.  There is no way to simply put a piece in the middle unless there is a specific place to lock it into…              puzzle piece and hands

 My Father, God, is taking me out of that puzzle for now.

Some of the other pieces have to be put in place before He can use me there again.  I can yell, kick and scream; or I can trust Him, relax in Him, let Him use me where and when He wants to.  It’s my choice.  I’m the one who decides. 

This is still true today in 2015.

He continues using you and me in the puzzles of life.  There is much I do not understand! He is the designer of each puzzle and knows where the pieces belong.  I don’t. My role is to put myself, my life in His hands, allowing Him to place me where He desires. 

It’s a challenge at times, yes!  However, the longer I live, the more joy I find in loving and trusting God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each day, some of joy, other times with tears; in all of them HE is here with me.  He challenges me – in His Word and in my life – to trust Him. When I do, I discover joy and peace unimaginable!  When I don’t trust Him, I’m miserable. Believe me, it is worth learning how to trust Him!

What about you?  Where are you in your life’s puzzles? Is He moving you from one to another?  Do you need to let go of an old puzzle, to be used in a new one? Are you hurting, as you learn to trust? 19095279-two-3d-people-are-putting-the-last-puzzle-piece

2 Cor 1:3-4  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  NIV

Voni

* estranged husband – I am not using his name. He is still living and I respect his privacy.

** Holy Spirit – I’m not being super-spiritual.  He has different ways of speaking with each one of us.  Are you aware of how He speaks with you?

 

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?