Today is the first day of Lent.
The “project” the family is tackling this year can be found on the World Vision ACT:S page, under the Relentless ACT:S of Sacrifice link.Lent 2012 - RELENTLESS ACT:S OF SACRIFICE
Week 1 has us sacrificing what surrounds us by re-creating our physical environment to bring important issues to the forefront of our every day lives.
Starting Monday, our family is going to turn off the television and turn on our writing skills. We will write letters to individuals that we miss, that are under-appreciated, or overlooked. The first paragraph will explain what we are doing during Lent and why. The second paragraph will talk about our daily topic and our third paragraph will talk about how we feel about the individual (what we love the most about them, miss about them the most, etc. – MUST BE POSITIVE). For Monday, the topic is our favorite family past time and why.
For Tuesday: “Why you are important to me.” So, whoever gets the letter that day will learn why they are important to the writer.
For Wednesday: “What helps you stay a good Christian and why?” This day, the writer will answer the question, and will provide the recipient the chance to answer as well.
For Thursday: “What was the last act of kindness you performed and how did it make you feel?” Again, this question is for the writer to answer.
Friday: “How do you know that God is real and that He wants us to come to Him and allow Him to live in our hearts.” The answers to these questions ought to be interesting, especially from the 8 year old.
Now, for something a bit more personal:
In case you may not have gathered from some of my posts, there have been some hard times in our household over the past almost-year. For the most part, I have not really lost my resolve. I keep moving forward knowing that the only way to get past an unpleasant thing is to keep moving through. Stopping only ensures that I will have to go through the same thing again. I have questions that only God can answer, and right now, His answer has been, “I got it.” And not just for me, has that been the answer, but for my husband too. With all that we’ve been going through, and with all the sitting-on of hands that we’ve been doing, I have taken the position that there is no way that things could possibly turn out any other way than in our favor. I do not say “why me?” because it is immediately countered with “Why not me?” There are people all over the world who suffer far worse than what we have gone through for me to whine about our lot.
That being said, I have been made to question some things about my own faith, my own beliefs. Many of the prayers I have prayed, I have prayed for the sake of our youngest child. Whether or not God has deemed it so for me to suffer, I find it impossible to believe that God would jostle the young and impressionable faith of an 8 year old. I do not think that I would get so mad at God for things going south if it were just me, but there are kids involved here. I mean, my 8 year old prayed for breeze at the age of 4 and God answered. Not once, but twice. And the second time, the breeze continued to blow until we were done needing it. That is the kind of faith that we have raised him to have. This young guy, however, has absolutely no idea what’s going on in our house right now, nor does he need to, and I just cannot fathom that it would come to pass that I would have to explain things taking a turn for the worse. Whether or not God would allow this to come to pass in my own life is beside the point. I pray that God loves my youngest enough to let this pass over our house.
Now, however, I am left with a problem. Does not God love him just as much as me? Is he not God’s just as much as I? If I can find it possible to trust that God will take care of me, regardless of what comes my way (this thing included), can I not also trust Him to take care of our youngest child? I know that, technically, our children are only on loan to us, and I know that His Ways are not our ways, but all I am left to say is “But, come on! Isn’t enough, enough?”
I know I can do whatever God calls me to do, because He will equip me to do it, but where is the justice when a lie could take away my husband’s career, his reputation, and his freedom? Where is the justice that this lie could mean that our youngest child could grow up without his father?
I know that God is sovereign, absolutely. I know that children grow up without fathers all over the world, and through no fault of their own. I know that God will take care of us one way or the other, but my prayer that it will be the one way, and NOT the other. And I pray that God loves our youngest enough to let justice prevail over a lie.
I know that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, so my prayer is that He will not choose to take away the gift that is my husband and the father of our children.
Now, with that, I have been led to take on another challenge this Lenten season.
Matthew 5:44 says: “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Luke 6:27-28: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
Romans 12:14 - Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
1 Peter 3:9-12 - Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
So, from here on, my goal is not to speak negatively about those who are involved in this situation. It is to pray for them, and to wish them well, and to stop myself (taking every thought captive) whenever I find myself about to say something that would tear them down.
All I can talk about is what I’m thinking and feeling right now, and right now, I cannot see that I would turn away from God. I certainly cannot guarantee that I will not get mad at God. I believe that God’s shoulders are big enough to handle any anger that I may have. Since I believe it is futile to withhold from Him how I am feeling, I have to believe that I have to be honest with Him before I can get any kind of breakthrough whatsoever, regardless of how this whole situation turns out. My prayer is to be able to say that common sense and justice prevailed, but if I cannot, then I have to trust that God has me AND MY CHILDREN squarely in the palm of His Hand and that He will take care of us; that he will be a husband to me and a father to my children and that He will provide for us.
In reality, if things do go south, then God would have to prove even mightier to us than He has ever had to before. And while I am sure that He can do that, I have to be honest and admit that my hope (my confident expectation) is that this is not going to be the case.
Again, thanks for your indulgence,