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Archive for November, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

Over the past few days, my 3-year old daughter has struggled with my leaving the house and being separated from her. Whether I’m going to work or running an errand, she genuinely becomes emotional at my absence. Paining my heart, my leaving has become harder and harder. 

In response to these trying moments, I have sought to simply hold her tightly, kiss her on her cheek and tell her  how much I love her. I let her know I will be back, and at times, this seems to help. At other times, I shut the door in my leaving to the heart-wrenching sounds of her crying for me.

In one sense, my heart is deeply touched over her affection and desire for my presence in her life. But in another, I am pained in knowing that my separation affects her in this manner. Yet, I have also realized that emotions aside, something more important is happening. Our exchange of hugs and kisses is growing abiding security reflecting the deepening union of our hearts as father and daughter.

God’s interaction with us is no different. Each day brings His own hugs and kisses, able to fill our hearts with surpassing joy, peace and encouragement. Beyond our successes or failures, He peers deep into the fabric of our hearts seeing the truth of our lives as He created them. And everyday His message  to us remains unchangable – “I love you more than anything!”. So vast and powerful is His love that all the universe orients itself to welcome our drawing near.

The intensity of God’s response to our longing for Him surpasses that of my own towards my daughter. And yet, my own pained, but joyous heart gives a dim picture of what the Father in Heaven experiences with us. The worth of our lives moves Him with abiding love more than we can imagine. And like that of my daughter, our own hearts can be established with more security as we receive His daily hugs and kisses.

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Pour Out Your Heart

There are those moments, and sometimes extended seasons, where answers to life’s questions are few and far between. The wrestling becomes intense, not only over the weight of the questions, but also regarding how to carry them. We either feel tossed around like a feather in the midst of a storm, or like we’re stuck in quicksand, paralyzed with little direction.

Beyond our questions, another struggle adds an even greater threat. Harassing voices run like a continuous message in our ears. “Your failing”, “There is no hope”, “Look at the mess you’ve made” and the like pierce our hearts like daggers, even though they have no truth. Soon, the sheer constancy of their presence weakens our heart’s door. The twins of discouragement and fear pound relentlessly, wanting to make their home within us.

Combined together, these experiences can drive us into deep, dark valleys. The light of hope, joy and abundant living seems dim or even absent. We look around and see everything scarred with pain, heaviness and/or fear. Our sight is cloudy at best, and we wonder when the darkness will engulf us.

Quietly, but with magnified power, a call arises in these depressing circumstances. Our ears recognize the unique sound, while our hearts sense the presence behind it.  All else captivating our gaze falls back as if reeling from an invisible shock wave. The comprehended words instantly energize hope, giving strength to our weakened heart. Powerful and life-giving, the invitation now becomes clear…

“O my precious people, trust in Me at all times. Pour out your heart to Me, for I am your refuge.”  
God  (adapted from Psalm 62:8, Holy Bible)

Immediately, our hearts become immersed in wondrous, kind love. We’re overwhelmed as we realize how personal God wants to be in our lives, especially during our “valley” seasons. His call, while filled with hope, is also radically honest, revealing the true issue of our heart wrestling…

Who will we trust?

Yes, it’s true. As we reflect over our past, we have no choice but to admit how often we run to and fro seeking to find something or someone to give us trustworthy answers to our questions. We seek the wisdom of others, both past and present, hoping for that magic key that would solve our present dilemmas. And yet, we always end up in the same place…little to no satisfaction.

Incredibly, our answers come not in what we seek to receive, but rather in what we give. Able to be the lone refuge of safety and protection in the midst of heartache and great challenge, God calls us to come to Him with open and honest hearts. The refuge He generously provides becomes the reason for our uninhibited heart cry, however joyful, pained or perplexed it may be. We discover in our offering His deep and abiding presence and pleasure. With our hearts in His hands, our trust grows deeply, securely establishing our lives upon Him and His faithful love.

God’s invitation to come remains open regardless of circumstance. Whether upon the mountain of amazing joy or in the deepest valley facing fears within and without, He longs to hear the depths of our hearts. Doing so gives God our trust, and transforms our hearts to live in peace and rest with Him who cares about every aspect of our lives. As for our questions, they may remain. But our growing trust lies not in their answer, but rather in Him who is greater than any question.

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