For the Hurting, Fresh Air

Pain arrives on our doorstep, pain we cannot control, no matter how hard we wish, try, or work. I’ve heard from many in the last couple of weeks who are hurting, some from physical ailments or limitations, some from the sickness or deterioration of a loved one, some from unloving and selfish acts on the part of someone close, or who should be close. Some from their own weaknesses or errors. The good news is, there is hope. There is one who loves us, who knows what it is to be betrayed, hurt, in pain and anguish, even to death.

bird in morning light by Jack H Thompson, Jr

Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;

be alert for signs of his presence. 

Remember the world of wonders he has made,

photo by Jack H Thompson, Jr

God spread a cloud to keep them cool through the day

and a fire to light their way through the night;

He opened the rock and water poured out;

it flowed like a river through that desertPsalm 105: 5,40-41 MSG

waterfall in Africa by T.L. Bollier

Would you believe that thousands of years ago a prophet predicted what God would do for us in times like these?

Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole.Through his bruises we get healed.

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.

We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. 

Is 53:1a-2-6 MSG 

sheep near Otavalo, Ecuador by Jack H Thompson, Jr
sheep in Ecuador

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!   

God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

I Peter 3-5 MSG

Cross on dunes on Pensacola Beach
Pensacola Beach
flower in Maui by Jack H Thompson, Jr
flower in Maui

water birds in Isabella, Galapagos by Jack H Thompson, Jr

birds in Isabella, Galapagos Islands

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening.

Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded, But their silence fills the earth:unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

God makes a huge dome for the sun—a superdome!

The morning sun’s a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed, The daybreaking sun an athlete racing to the tape.

That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,

Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.

Ps 19:1-9 MSG

sunrise in the Abacos, Bahamas, by Jack H Thompson, Jr
Sunrise in the Abacos, Bahamas
Morning light, Santiago, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, by Jack H Thompson, Jr
Morning light, Santiago
sunrise by Jack H Thompson, Jr
sunrise
Sunset in Bartholomew, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador by Jack H Thompson, Jr
Sunset in Bartholomew, Galapagos
View of snow-topped volcano from Quito, Ecuador by Jack H Thompson, JR
View of snow-topped volcano from Quito, Ecuador
blossom in the dew by Jack H Thompson, Jr
blossom in the dew

Have you felt your life being pulled together?

It is enough

My bones are healing. However, every time I move, the soft tissue protests, reminding me it suffered greatly during the surgery to bolt my broken bones back together. I’m told it will be a while before I can sit or bend in comfort. Yet I have much to celebrate.D7T_3918

This week I went into town and had my hair cut, then out to lunch with my daughter. Except for sitting, I felt almost like my old self. In my last session at home with my physical therapist, he passed me to drive. Yesterday I drove to the store, then later to church, another milestone in this slow journey to normal.

Whatever normal is.

God, it appears, is giving me a new normal.

It began with complete helplessness, extreme pain and dependence on others for every need.

For several months unable to join in corporate worship or group Bible studies, I’ve had to draw near to the Lord in the quiet of my home, in the pain of my bed, in the shaking of my legs as I stand.

Every time I have to ask for help, I am crying inside, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!”

I’d have thought by now he would have turned and touched my hip. Taken the pain away. Launched me back to productivity.

But he has chosen to lead me on the slow path of up two, back one.

A slow dance of trust.

Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).

2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 AMP

And while new bone grows strong, a strength emerges in my spirit.

Not mine.

His strength.

His life.

This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit.

John 3:13 MSG 

So I wait.

And as I press on with physical therapy, and plan in smaller increments for my future, I am acutely aware that my body does not contain my life.

Eternity holds me.

And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10b ESV 

The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.

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Blue Ridge Mtns, NC
D7T_5069
Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.

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Smokey Mountains, North Carolina

 

God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.

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Roseate Spoonbills, Celery Fields, Sarasota, FL

DSC_3530

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

Ps 19:11-12 MSG

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Fernandina251
Morning in Fernandina, Galapagos

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Sandhill crane pair in the morning, Celery Fields

It is enough that I take life from his hand. However and wherever the path may lead. Taking time for eternity is peace.

There is no greater peace.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow4OfW4DP9s