Tuesday, December 22, 2015

One Wing Out and Ready to Fly, a Ladybug Lesson

Ladybug lesson
Not a “humbug”, just a little beetle. This cute little fella’ caught my attention while he and I were walking along our garden path. I watched him for a block or two (pathway blocks, that is). I noticed he had one wing out, so I thought he was about to take flight. But, he just kept walking, plodding along the path, one wing up.

Then he found this long tendril of monkey grass that reached down to his path and took him to new heights. It served as a bridge to him to explore another area of the garden. He took the bridge and disappeared into the jungle of monkey grass and mint that surrounds our little pond. A new adventure I’m sure, for a brave little beetle.

As a Christian, if I had wings, I would have one in the air too, ready to take flight to the place where there will be no more pain, tears, suffering…and we will be with Him. Streets of gold, pearly gates, the tree of life all call to me and I eagerly await being there. I understand the weight of carrying hurt, pain, and suffering. We all feel it to some extent, and some seem to be asked to carry more than their share. It can leave us all ready to fly away from it all.

Pain not only hurts, it adds insult to injury by telling us lies like “You are all alone. No one cares or has experienced or understands the pain you have…” Special days and holidays bully in to multiply our suffering even more. They hold before us things and people in the past that we mourn, while it seems everyone else has their cup filled with joy. We see our limitations and compare to others going full steam like that pink drummer-bunny. We remember hopes and dreams that never came to be…chronic pain and suffering that seem to have no end in sight…all mount up like bricks one on top of another on top of us making us ready to just leave it all behind – if we could just fly away.  The temptation is real, but what blessings we would miss if we were exempt from pain.

You may have far more experience with pain and suffering than do I, but here are a couple of blessings I have experienced.
#1 He draws me nearer to Himself. When I have no answers, no relief, no hope…the only place to go is on my knees to Him. It is really a good place to be. He wraps me in His arms with love like no other. He holds me close and gives me strength and peace that only He has. It has absolutely been the most traumatic and painful times in my life that have grown me closer to Him. He WILL walk you through it too. He is faithful like that.

#2 He uses us to show others how to go through pain. While Christians have access to this unending reservoir of life-giving hope, non-believers do not. They need to see and hear and have a living example of how to do it, how to live in a difficult circumstance. And how to live with hope and love and joy even in the midst of suffering. Many have been shown the way by someone living it out, someone just like you.

Is it easy? N.O. 
Paul felt the weight of being stoned, beaten, jailed, persecuted…and like any of us, he longed for it to end. “If I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.  But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. And convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith.” Philippians 1:21-25 He chose the will of God over his comfort and desires.

Jesus was the perfect example of enduring. He knew of the brutal treatment and death He was about to face. So, He prayed. He (like all humans) knew the agony of pain and He prayed “if it is possible, let this cup (of suffering) pass from Me…”  But, that is not how His prayer ended. “…yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”  God’s plan was more important to Jesus, than His temporary suffering.

It helps us too, to have an eternal perspective. This too shall pass, eternity doesn’t.  When we focus on our future, our eternity, it makes the burdens of today easier to carry. Christians will be forever in the presence of the Creator, and in heaven so glorious there is no comparison to the experience we have here on earth!

Paul and Jesus left examples for us today. They both continued on the path God set before them, even though it involved intense personal suffering.  It’s our turn to be examples now. There are many others going through times of hurt and need to see Him and His hand at work. Could it be that YOU could be used like Paul to reach others who need to see faith being lived out? Could YOU walk alongside someone who needs a word of encouragement? Not as a pity partner, but as an encourager. When they see that you can walk through it, so can they - when you both rely on God.

Yep, I’m ready to go into eternity! BUT, I’m still here in the temporary…So, what do I do until then? If we take an example from this little bug -
#1 Raise your hand (or wing)
to reach out to Him,
to remind yourself this is temporary, and it WILL pass
to reach out to help someone else. 
#2 Be prepared to leave or stay. Know your God and be willing to go and do whatever He asks, whether His purpose is for you is to go or stay. HINT-you are reading this, so this means YOU are staying for now.
#3 Plod with purpose. Put one foot in front of the other. Keep doing what He has for you to do. You will step into eternity in His timing. Meanwhile, find someone to encourage who needs to see the hand of God at work.

Father in heaven
We are so very thankful that You loved us so much that even though You could have abandoned us and the pain, You were willing to stay and endure suffering and grief beyond anything we can imagine, for our sake.

We find ourselves in a world of suffering and look to You for help. Help us to remember to live as You did, seeking to show others the way. Help us to see even more ways to show You to this dark and lonely world.

I pray You will strengthen the person reading this now, with Your strong and mighty arm. I pray You give them peace and courage and direction for the life of purpose You designed for them. Thank You for showing us encouragement even in the tiniest of things around us, and help us to be an encouragement while we are here.
My wing is up and I am looking to You, ready to go or stay according to Your plan and desire for me. Thank You for being with me and guiding my path.

More stories of faith for you! 

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