finDing haPPy nuGGeTs in hoRRific ruBBLe…

2011 has bombarded the planet with tragedy and heartache. To use a cliche-when it rains, it pours. For a person who isn’t all that into regular TV- I’ve been glued to the tube-afraid that I’ll miss something. After all, we’re seeing MEGA disasters simultaneously taking place around the world in a way that we never have before.  PLEASE don’t laugh-but, I read the MAYAN calendar myth one night last week. Of course, I’m not superstitious! But–well, 2012 is only nine months away. Did you SEE the movie 2012?  Okay-you’re more spiritual than me. WELL-did you read the LEFT BEHIND series? Well, there you go! I met Jerry Jenkins last summer at a conference and if what he wrote was a hoax-my spirit would not have “beared witness” with his spirit-but I thought he was great and so was his lovely wife..just sayin…No joke, I’ve begun hitting the pause button when I go to the loo in case something else happens before I can get back to my couch potato position! (Sorry, babe, I know you’re a tad uncomfortable when I disclose um…such personal things…but, I’m driving home a point here).

This photo is one of the images that seared my heart.  I’ve prayed for this young woman everyday since the earthquake-I don’t know what it was about her-other than her eyes. I pray for all of the victims-but, this girl I pray for specifically, though I don’t know her name. LOOK at the pain in her eyes..

I’m here to tell you that I’ve cried more in these first three months of 2011- than I did all of last year-and we had a very rough 2010, by the way. Listen, I can’t contain my tears-and frankly, I needed my heart to be softened and tenderized. Any remnants of bitterness have been suffocated out-for that I’m grateful to this girl. See,  my prayer life has drastically changed ; the things that seemed VITAL to our survival a few short weeks ago-have dwarfed beside the giant devastation. Another thing-red & yellow, black & white- we’re ALL precious in the FATHER’S  sight!

I’ve thought about what it must do to GOD’S heart to see such massive pain everywhere. It’s almost more than I can stand to look at the suffering being endured by so many. It’s actually been easier for me to gaze on bloody, mangled faces-as opposed to those panic stricken, crying ones. The sea of faces veiled by HOPELESSNESS-haunts me. I’m struck by the number of people of all ages, walks of life, ethnicity-having their lives so abruptly ended BEFORE our eyes. It’s surreal to realize that when the video first came across our television screen-there were petrified REAL people in those cars and floating houseboats. It sends a chill down my spine whenever I see it, far more movie-like than real. The death toll will rise long after the official numbers are tallied; I believe that a long and painful journey is on the horizon, universally and we won’t be forgetting any time soon how precious each moment of our life is. We don’t know what the next several moments hold. We just don’t.

I thank GOD for missionaries, worldwide- my prayers for them have been rekindled. Unless you’ve given up a normal life to take GOD to a foreign place, you can’t fully appreciate the sacrifice. I encourage you to bestow honor on the men, women & kids who have left all behind and call another people their people. And, I applaud the generous churches who support them- in times like these- we are reminded what a difference they are making.

Thousands of displaced, physically and emotionally injured people-are in these crowded facilities-alone. I sobbed hearing a mother talk about her five year old being ripped from her grip. Then there was the husband who frantically managed to get three kids from the second floor of their house to the rooftop-and then couldn’t reach his wife. He watched as she was sucked beneath raging waters filled with cars, boats, other bodies and debris.

I wept when I read about a brother and sister, trapped in a collapsed building together during the earthquake in Christchurch. The young woman knew that her brother was on the brink of death-but big sister REFUSED to be removed without him. She held his hand all the way to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Scenes like that are supposed to be in tear jerker novels–but when it’s real life, it’s too horrific for words. You and I should be appreciating our petty troubles-because from GOD’S perspective-we don’t have anything to complain about.

We all  have the tendency to think that the world revolves around-me and mine-and it’s easy to get stuck there. We start whining to someone about our problems-only to have that person-one up-us. Worse yet-we one up-their one up. A bunch of poor pitiful me types (that would include EVERYONE) can build a mountain out of mole hill in no time at all. Teamwork never comes any easier than when when we use our personal problems as building blocks. MISERY does indeed-love company.

All of these volatile events crashing in at once-have led me to ponder about the fragility of life. I’ve become a kindred spirit with Ecclesiastes & Lamentations. The sobering truth? As long as humans exist in a non-perfect world, crisis and heartbreak WILL find us. Sometimes we are expecting it-but times will also come when we’re blindsided by sorrow and tragedy. One of the sad FACTS of LIFE-but here is a happy part of that equation, too.

CHILDREN of LIGHT-don’t walk through darkness alone-EVER. Think about that for a second & let that truth enlighten you. GOD promises that HE never leaves HIS CHILD-no matter how DARK, how DEEP, how BURIED, we may be-HE is there with us. I love the poetic words of KING DAVID-Whither shall I go from thy spirit or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up to heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10 It’s impossible for us to be in a place where GOD isn’t providing unwavering direction and protection. Even when it seems as though our world is falling apart, even during the most dire of life’s tragedies-those times that we’re crying our eyes out; at those moments when we are barely hanging by a thread of the thread-GOD does NOT abandon us. Psalm 46:2 says: That’s why we are not afraid even when the earth quakes or the mountains topple into the depths of the sea.

I’ve told you before about how my Pa Thompson, who lived in Savannah loved black gospel music. If you haven’t read all of my posts, Pa’s passion for that style of music has been preserved in me. So, I’ve been singing one of mine and Pa’s favorites over the past few days-this song always settles my restless heart. I close my eyes and travel back to that place in my childhood when I’d be riding to the M& M grocery with Pa and this song would come on the radio (static included-it was the1960’s when AM was all we had).  Pa would sing bass and I’d sing the harmony. Thanks for that memory, Pa-it’s one of my most treasured. Courtesy of youtube, I relive it often and your voice is  always mixed in there somewhere. 🙂 No matter what’s going on-I’ll HOLD TO GOD’S UNCHANGING HAND.

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