Risen

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 

He arose a victor from the dark domain.

Robert Lowry, Low in the Grave He Lay

Public Domain

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles (1 Corinthians 15: 1-7 KJV).

Hallelujah! Christ Arose!

Trail of Evidence

The wildlife was abundant during our first years on this farm. It wasn’t unusual to step into the yard and find 6-10 deer standing outside the yard eating acorns. One year, I sat on the carport and watched an eight-point buck and two does drink from our goldfish pond. 

As the years passed, the neighboring farm cut their timber, causing many deer to leave. Eventually, the only sign of them was the rare hoof print along my walking trail. Imagine my joy when I’d find a little fawn hiding in the palmettoes, or a young deer standing beneath the oaks.

This year the deer returned. I’ve not only seen hoof prints but deer also!

All this made me ponder the evidence of God in my life. Many times, I’ve focused on what I couldn’t see until I could not recognize the evidence in front of me.

For instance, no one has seen the face of God, but the evidence of His care is all around us. We can refuse to believe because we can’t see Him, or we can trust His Word and follow the trail of evidence.

Following the trail of evidence is what I’ve been doing during my hiatus.

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, small knots formed on my pinkie finger. Soon it became hard to straighten, so I took a break from typing. Each day I looked at my hands. Worry crowded my mind as the past crashed down around me. (If you’ve read my book, you know the index finger on the same hand became misshapen years ago because of surgery and arthritis.)

The idea of being unable to play piano or type ricocheted inside my head. I remembered I couldn’t use my index finger for almost a year because of stiffness and pain. Then friends prayed for me. God moved gloriously on my behalf. Although not perfect, it works. And it testifies to me every day!

As the truth of my past battled with the doubt in my present, I remembered the former pain and the hours of physical therapy. I recalled the disappointment when nothing worked, the sadness when I came home defeated, and the inability to discern God’s blessings in my life. Somehow my past gave strength to my future. God would do it again. The gray skies parted, and the Son shined through.

Hope.

There is hope for me. Hope for you. Hope for this nation. Hope for this world. There is evidence of this Hope traced back to Adam if we open our eyes and follow the trail through the Word. Our pasts also testify of this Hope. It is this Hope I’m clinging to.

This coming year will be a year of hope and more rest for me. And though I’m not ready to stop blogging, I am trimming down my social media.

In closing, I want to say that I’ve missed you guys! I am praying for blessings as we endeavor to fulfill our purpose. Meanwhile, let’s follow the trail of evidence.

Chasing the Sunrise

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (Malachi 4:2 KJV).  

I had a plan this year, but I watched helplessly as it caught the fluttering breeze and flew away. But to my credit, I didn’t panic. I knew things would eventually get back to normal, and I would be back on track the following week. (You know where this is going, don’t you?)

That didn’t happen. As one month turned into two, and then two months turned into six, I struggled to keep the same schedule while juggling more responsibilities. I grew angry with myself for not being able to do it all. Add health issues that left me with debilitating fatigue and memory lapses, and you have the perfect storm.

I fell so far behind, I felt as if I was drowning. One afternoon, I stared at my computer and made the decision to close the office until life settled down. I walked away from both manuscripts for ten weeks and accepted my situation for what it truly was, an opportunity to serve. Suddenly, my schedule didn’t look so important. The stress of trying to do it all gradually fell away, and I found peace.

I no longer worried about keeping up. Instead, I turned my attention to the sunrise and gave thanks for a new day.

Each morning held a wondrous gift. Some mornings, it looked as if the pine trees were on fire. Other mornings, the first glimmer of sunshine turned windswept gray clouds into pink cotton candy strands.

One foggy morning, I could barely see the cars in front of me (the perfect metaphor for my current season). But then, fifteen minutes before I reached my destination, I peered out the window facing the eastern sky. Amid the gray expanse were three minuscule streaks, here and there, just above the tree line. Suddenly, that ugly gray sky held a beautiful truth:

Yes, the days were dark and scary. But no matter how gray the skies looked, the Lord was there, just like the sun was still there, hidden behind the fog and rain clouds. All I had to do was not give up, but chase the sunrise.

And chase, I did!

My friend, I don’t know what your year has been like, but I know we serve a Savior Who hears His children’s cries. We are not alone. Look up and keep chasing the sunrise!

I no longer worried about keeping up. Instead, I turned my attention to the sunrise and gave thanks for a new day. #hope