Friday, December 18, 2009

Thoughts on My Grandbaby

    I think, when we get news we don't want to hear, we tend to wonder why, or look for an explanation.  Science offers explanations, but in the end, nothing happens that doesn't pass through God for approval first. 
    I believe God creates little souls in heaven, and He gives us all the individual characteristics He wants us to have.  He "knits us together in our mother's womb." He decides what color our hair and eyes will be, chooses if we'll tend to be roly-poly or thin, if we'll be genius material, or creative, or practical...  He gives us all our strengths and all our weaknesses, as well as the things He wants us to change and overcome. The Bible says when He creates us, He numbers our days as well.  Some of us get many days, some, not so many.
    When the time comes to put that little soul on the earth, I do not believe he randomly selects the little soul and then randomly selects a family to receive it.  I think He, in His infinite wisdom, very carefully selects the family for each of His creations.  Sometimes we may feel cheated at His decisions, but can later look back and see how we were blessed and changed as a result.  Sometimes we feel ill-equipped for the task He charges us with, but can later look back and see how God was there with us every step of the way, and changed our lives by teaching us to rely on Him. 
    Sometimes it's hard to go forward by faith.  But all you can do is take one day at a time, and ask God for what you need, and be open to the ways that He'll be there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Failure.  I'm not a big fan of it.  Especially when I've given it my all, and still couldn't accomplish what I started out to do.  Sometimes, repeated failure is God's way of saying it's just not His will.  In that respect, it's useful. But I think there's more to it than that.

I started smoking at the age of 15.  Not one of my better ideas, I'll admit.  Eventually, I wanted to quit.  So I did... and I failed.  I kept trying periodically over the next 17 years, each time with renewed resolve.  One time, my success lasted 7 months.  Another time, it lasted only 15 minutes.  Mostly my success could be measured in days.  But each attempt had one thing in common... eventual failure.

Looking back, there are a couple of things I feel fairly sure of.  One was that God probably preferred that I do something more meaningful with the financial resources He had entrusted to me.  The other was that He probably was not pleased with what I was doing to the once-healthy set of lungs He had given me. I would have expected Him to bless my efforts a little more mightily, these things considered.

And then something happened.  I lit up a cigarette only to discover I had completely lost all taste and desire for them.  As a matter of fact, just the sight of the ashtray made me sick!  That was the last cigarette I ever lit.

What happened?  A miracle, and obviously, it wasn't ME who accomplished it.  I think God was telling me a few things...

First, I believe he used my failures as a way to really get my attention, when the time was right.  If I had succeeded in giving up smoking on my own, I would have patted myself on the back for a job well done.  This way, there was no mistaking who was responsible, and who was not responsible.

Second, I learned that no amount of resolve or determination makes up for leaving God out of the equation.  Without Him, it can't be done, no matter what "it" is.

Third, and probably most importantly, God's working even when it really, really seems like He isn't.  He's just carrying out His own plan on His own timetable.  Just knowing this makes it a little easier to have faith when it seems like God's not paying attention to what's happening in my life.

My plan was to quit smoking.  God's plan was that I quit smoking, realize my inadequacy apart from Him, and to show me that He's worthy of my faith and trust, even (and especially) when I can't see that He's doing anything.

I got so much more from my failure than I ever would have from my success!