Tag Archives: God’s care

Computer Overload!!!

Image by Geralt

Last Wednesday, people gathered at our church in Keene from many of the area churches. My job was to check off the names as people arrived and to collect their payment for lunch. I sat behind a table ready and willing to do this simple job. I knew most of the people on my list. Welcoming them was fun at first.

Very quickly a line formed in front of me. The sound of many people talking and laughing kept increasing. As the line grew longer, and the noise grew louder, my stress level rose. My brain reacted like an overloaded computer. The names of people I knew well totally disappeared from my mind. I was embarrassed and frustrated. Why doesn’t God help me, I thought.

Sometimes our lives are like that. When the going gets tough, the noise of pain, illness, stress, worry, fear, overloads our heart and we cry out. “Why don’t you help me God?” Our minds fill with questions like: Does God truly care? Does God even exist? We feel as if God has disappeared. We’re lost and alone.

Last Wednesday, during a break in the line, I reached out to Joan who was helping with the name tags. I told her of my distress. God’s love shone through Joan’s smile and her words of comfort as she shared similar experiences and gave me encouragement. She told a funny story. We laughed. Our brief break ended as another big group came through the door. This time I felt just a little different, more relaxed, more able to admit my brain overload. People shared their stories of senior moments. God cared for me through Joan and the people in line.

Once again I was reminded, when we feel overwhelmed and God seems to have disappeared, all I need do is reach out. Share my story with someone. The Good News is that God is with me, always. When I open up, God can use the people around me to help.

Why Do We Think the Worst of God?

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In ancient times, people believed the gods to be in total control of everything that happened. If the weather didn’t co-operate for farming, the god of the fields was meting out punishment for some wrongdoing. If the harvest was abundant the same god or a different one was rewarding hard work with prosperity. Problem – it didn’t work. The good still had difficulties.

In Jesus time, the Jewish people transferred this same understanding to their one God. The goal was to please God and everything would go well. Problem: It didn’t work. The good still got sick and their crops failed during a famine.

Today, that simple belief that we can blame God for every problem is still with us. If we break a bone, we ask, “Why did this happen?” We search our hearts and our past, for the mistakes we’ve made that would cause God to punish us. We lament, “There must be a reason God would do this to me or let this happen to me.”  Problem: It doesn’t work. Just as in ancient times, good people get sick, greedy people sometimes do well. Why then do we blame God?

The 23rd Psalm tells us God is with us “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” (Matthew 28:20) Never does he say: “Believe in me and your life will be totally smooth.”

In my book “Fireweed”, the main character Renee learns that this fundamental belief in a “Mr. Fix It, God”, totally failed her. Her Mom was a good person who cared for others yet she was killed in a car accident. Throughout the book Renee comes to understand God, as her companion, her teacher, her guide, her support, her comforter.

As parents, we can’t fix our children’s life. As our parent, God doesn’t “fix” our lives either.

I invite you to let go of those old beliefs in a cold punishing God. Celebrate our wonderful loving God who travels with us, helping us to become the best we can be.

My Flight Home

A Day Filled With Angels.
Today I left Tucson after six weeks of caring for my Mom who has cancer. I dragged myself onto the full plane this morning, exhausted after six weeks of little sleep. Emotionally depleted, I wanted desperately to go home, and desperately to stay. I didn’t want to give up the privilege of caring for Mom, yet I knew it was time to share with my aunts. I worried that the next time I came would be for her funeral.
I stepped over two absolute strangers, and dropped into my seat for the first leg of my day long journey. Never doubt that God will give us, who and what we need. Those two strangers, Sherrie and Dick were wonderful. Starting with identifying our destinations, the three of chatted about our lives. In three and a half hours we built relationships. Some people would say, that I just happened to sit beside two outgoing people. It was just a coincidence that Sherrie was a woman of faith, and Dick a man of ideas and questions.
I believe, our meeting was a God-incident. I was blessed by God with exactly what I needed today. We talked of our past and our future. I received affirmation and peace. As the plane landed in Atlanta, Sherrie said she would email me about her trip to Milan. Dick asked, “What plane are you flying to New York?” It turned out that we were once again on the same plane. We had only forty minutes to our next flight. “We may have to go to a different terminal,” Dick said. “I’ll help you figure it out.” And he did. We caught the shuttle train, and were at our gate with nearly 30 minutes to spare.
            What had felt like climbing Mount Everest when I got up with Mom and Aunt Shirley at 3:45 a.m., had been transformed into joy. And it didn’t end with that first leg of the journey. On the second plane, I overheard the stewardess telling a mother and young boy that she would try to find them two seats together. This time the seat beside me was empty so I volunteered to be moved. The stewardess found me a place beside a pilot, commuting to work in New York. In the midst of our conversation, he described the La Guardia Airport in New York so that I was able to find my way easily to a second terminal and my third plane of the day. The other passenger in that seat was a woman my age, whose mother had died within the last year. Once again God had given me the people I needed to find joy and peace.
            On the final leg of the journey, my fellow passenger was a young mother who as the CEO of a large investment firm, was flying to Buffalo to welcome a new company into their organization. As she talked about her family and the struggle that comes with being a working professional as well as a mother, I listened and truly cared. This time, I felt not only cared for by God, but also that I had a purpose in being there for her. In addition, she read and loved my book, “A Place Called Home” and bought a copy as well. My trip home has been amazing.
            Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” Today was not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that God carries me through a tough time. I could easily have buried myself in my computer and ignored all five of those wonderful people. I certainly had every reason to withdraw from the world to lick my wounds and sleep, but I didn’t.  I give thanks to God for a life time of expecting God’s presence. I believe that expectation opened me to receive God’s love and care today.