Holy Experience – When All Hope Feels Like a Drought

 


When All Hope Feels Like a Drought

Posted: 25 Jul 2012 10:43 AM PDT

Aman can watch the sky like a plea.

“And we didn’t get nothing — not one drop.”

That’s what the farmer’s wife said to me before breakfast.

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How she headed home from town in a flat-out gully washer of a rain, thinking this was finally it — the whole dark sky like the ocean coming to find dry land, and she was just certain of it, the rain splatting across her windshield like a certain promise coming right now.

All the corn fields to the north and the south, they’ve been standing twisted right up for weeks.

Leaves curled tight and high in drought. Farmers, we call it pineappling — when corn leaves don’t hang relaxed, quenched and green and soaking in sun — but they writhe up like sharp pineapple spears — taut and parched and desperate to escape anymore heat.

It’s like the whole countryside’s reaching up like a begging.

But she said when she turned the bend, right there at the county line, not a mile and a half from the home farm, all that rain, all that hope, just evaporated into thin, clear air.

How there was nothing.

“When I turned up our lane, there was dust in the rearview mirror and rain coming down hard to the west.”

Hope, it can feel like a balloon string dangling over your head that you just can’t reach.

She shakes her head.

“I don’t think we’re going to make crop.”

That’d be like taking all of last year’s wage and investing it into a project — then putting in 12 hours a day everyday for six months, counting on it, and — and being told that you’ve just lost all of last year’s income — and you won’t be getting paid for this past six months either. That you’ll just have to go home with nothing — to a lot less — because the sky hanging right over your head, sky skirting with abundance just a mile to your north and a half mile to your south — it didn’t open up right overhead and let down your only lifeline.

Farmers in these parts are talking in days. How many days they’ve gone without rain. How many days left until their crop is futile in the field.

“We talked to a farmer who took his thousand acres and cut it down for silage — because when they peeled back the husks? None of the cobs — on a thousand acres — had even a kernel.”

Behind all the husks, there are a thousand ways that a life can feel barren.

Behind all the husks, there are a thousand ways there can seem not to be a kernel of hope at all.

The Farmer had emailed me while I was standing in a lobby in Port Au Prince, Haiti, in between blackouts, in between losing power in a country waiting for a gully-washer of hope. It had blinked up on the screen just before the dark: “We’ve never had a corn crop look so bad.”

And yet — hope is standing in the dark with a lamp lit with prayers.

The lights came back on.

I turn to the Farmer’s wife and I tell her what I had tapped back the Farmer: “So we pray.”

And the Farmer’s wife, she looks over at me and she says it in this sharp desperation of her own —

“You really think it works like that?”

Oh.

My silence, my interior groping — it must betray my confusion. She says it louder.

“You really think it makes any difference, anything you pray? It’s just going to be what it’s going to be.” She turns away.

“It’s just going to be what it’s going to be.”

She says it like she’s watching hope in the rear view mirror, hope headed away heavy for someone else.

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And I know that feeling, that witnessing. When I got home at 2:30 am on Sunday morning from Haiti, when after the sermon, I stood on the lawn with the Farmer, my sister and her husband and all our 11 kids, and we watched the sky grow heavy to the west and I begged “Oh, please, Lord…. please.”

And I’m another’s farmer’s wife too and how can I find it for myself and my prayer sounds more like a panic than a peace and I am the biggest mess of them all.

The Farmer’s got his hands in his jean pockets. He’s standing there where the lawn gives way to the corn field.

“I think we’re just on the south edge of this one. And it’s headed just a bit north of us…” He pulls a big Dutch hand out of his pocket, points towards the elevator bins across the fields. ” — See how it’s raining there on the other side of the highway?”

And I feel wild…

What if we get nothing? What if it is the way it is?

And he turns into all my angst storm and he can read me. He looks me in the eye and says it like a forecast:

When you know your Father’s loving — what can you fear losing?

He’s as calm as a man walking on water.

He hears us. He loves us. He has us. So whatever happens, He’s good and we’re good.

I look at him — He’s like a man completely resting on water. Isn’t that it? We pray to the Lord knowing His answer is Love.

And God is no genie and we don’t pray to God to pry something from God. We pray to God to be prepared by God for a purpose of God.

We don’t pray to get more from God — we pray to become more in Christ.

We pray because entering His presence is the answer to all our prayers.

Somedays just laying our head in His hands is the way we lay the burdens down.

The scars on His hands were made to be the perfect ditches for our tears.

The Farmer pulls me into him and wraps me in more faith and we stand together watching the sky, how the rain goes north.

How it comes down right here like a certain promise:

When your prayers look right into the face of Christ — every hopeless end turns into an endless hope.

Holy Experience – When All Hope Feels Like a Drought

 


When All Hope Feels Like a Drought

Posted: 25 Jul 2012 10:43 AM PDT

Aman can watch the sky like a plea.

“And we didn’t get nothing — not one drop.”

That’s what the farmer’s wife said to me before breakfast.

DSC_2577

DSC_0445

DSC_0024

How she headed home from town in a flat-out gully washer of a rain, thinking this was finally it — the whole dark sky like the ocean coming to find dry land, and she was just certain of it, the rain splatting across her windshield like a certain promise coming right now.

All the corn fields to the north and the south, they’ve been standing twisted right up for weeks.

Leaves curled tight and high in drought. Farmers, we call it pineappling — when corn leaves don’t hang relaxed, quenched and green and soaking in sun — but they writhe up like sharp pineapple spears — taut and parched and desperate to escape anymore heat.

It’s like the whole countryside’s reaching up like a begging.

But she said when she turned the bend, right there at the county line, not a mile and a half from the home farm, all that rain, all that hope, just evaporated into thin, clear air.

How there was nothing.

“When I turned up our lane, there was dust in the rearview mirror and rain coming down hard to the west.”

Hope, it can feel like a balloon string dangling over your head that you just can’t reach.

She shakes her head.

“I don’t think we’re going to make crop.”

That’d be like taking all of last year’s wage and investing it into a project — then putting in 12 hours a day everyday for six months, counting on it, and — and being told that you’ve just lost all of last year’s income — and you won’t be getting paid for this past six months either. That you’ll just have to go home with nothing — to a lot less — because the sky hanging right over your head, sky skirting with abundance just a mile to your north and a half mile to your south — it didn’t open up right overhead and let down your only lifeline.

Farmers in these parts are talking in days. How many days they’ve gone without rain. How many days left until their crop is futile in the field.

“We talked to a farmer who took his thousand acres and cut it down for silage — because when they peeled back the husks? None of the cobs — on a thousand acres — had even a kernel.”

Behind all the husks, there are a thousand ways that a life can feel barren.

Behind all the husks, there are a thousand ways there can seem not to be a kernel of hope at all.

The Farmer had emailed me while I was standing in a lobby in Port Au Prince, Haiti, in between blackouts, in between losing power in a country waiting for a gully-washer of hope. It had blinked up on the screen just before the dark: “We’ve never had a corn crop look so bad.”

And yet — hope is standing in the dark with a lamp lit with prayers.

The lights came back on.

I turn to the Farmer’s wife and I tell her what I had tapped back the Farmer: “So we pray.”

And the Farmer’s wife, she looks over at me and she says it in this sharp desperation of her own —

“You really think it works like that?”

Oh.

My silence, my interior groping — it must betray my confusion. She says it louder.

“You really think it makes any difference, anything you pray? It’s just going to be what it’s going to be.” She turns away.

“It’s just going to be what it’s going to be.”

She says it like she’s watching hope in the rear view mirror, hope headed away heavy for someone else.

DSC_2597

And I know that feeling, that witnessing. When I got home at 2:30 am on Sunday morning from Haiti, when after the sermon, I stood on the lawn with the Farmer, my sister and her husband and all our 11 kids, and we watched the sky grow heavy to the west and I begged “Oh, please, Lord…. please.”

And I’m another’s farmer’s wife too and how can I find it for myself and my prayer sounds more like a panic than a peace and I am the biggest mess of them all.

The Farmer’s got his hands in his jean pockets. He’s standing there where the lawn gives way to the corn field.

“I think we’re just on the south edge of this one. And it’s headed just a bit north of us…” He pulls a big Dutch hand out of his pocket, points towards the elevator bins across the fields. ” — See how it’s raining there on the other side of the highway?”

And I feel wild…

What if we get nothing? What if it is the way it is?

And he turns into all my angst storm and he can read me. He looks me in the eye and says it like a forecast:

When you know your Father’s loving — what can you fear losing?

He’s as calm as a man walking on water.

He hears us. He loves us. He has us. So whatever happens, He’s good and we’re good.

I look at him — He’s like a man completely resting on water. Isn’t that it? We pray to the Lord knowing His answer is Love.

And God is no genie and we don’t pray to God to pry something from God. We pray to God to be prepared by God for a purpose of God.

We don’t pray to get more from God — we pray to become more in Christ.

We pray because entering His presence is the answer to all our prayers.

Somedays just laying our head in His hands is the way we lay the burdens down.

The scars on His hands were made to be the perfect ditches for our tears.

The Farmer pulls me into him and wraps me in more faith and we stand together watching the sky, how the rain goes north.

How it comes down right here like a certain promise:

When your prayers look right into the face of Christ — every hopeless end turns into an endless hope.

Senseless Shootings in Colorado – Is God Still Merciful?


SO YOU STILL THINK GOD IS A MERCIFUL GOD?!

(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.

Yes.

Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.

In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or  fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught.

He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.  It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act.  Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness.

We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional.  But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.   I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:

Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise.  

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What  can mere man  do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

God is always good.

Man is not.

Don’t get the two confused.

We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.

Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways.

As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.

Still grateful for this wonderful life,

Marie

From Blog A Miniature Clay Pot

Life is unfolding before you….there are divine appointments you don’t want to miss.

Life is unfolding before you....there are divine appointments you don't want to miss.

I was reading in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 this morning, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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Life is unfolding before you....there are divine appointments you don't want to miss.

I was reading in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 this morning where the Apostle Paul wrote,

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it(a thorn in his flesh) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Trauma, stress, doubt, fear is all around us today. There are many things that are “thorns in our flesh” and hopelessness and despair can come in to cloud our vision. There is life after trauma, divorce, sickness and loss. I want to help you recover your joy!