Given all the craziness going on in the world right now, it’s perfectly understandable why you would want to say to God, “Lord, how about taking those I love most dearly and putting us in a nice protective bubble so we don’t have to deal with all the yuckiness in the world?” But God has another idea. God wants to burst your bubble and, instead, infuse you, those you love and those with whom you come into contact with unconditional love, forgiveness, healing, second chances, transformation, vision and joy. And here’s why. God is not a God who simply yanks you out of real life. God is a God who unleashes God’s love – and all that goes with it – into your life. That changes everything about everything for you. It also begins to change things for others as God works through you. So don’t try to protect yourself from the world. Let God operate through you in the world.
Tragedy shakes the very foundation of your world. It not only leaves you overwhelmed, afraid and angry, tragedy also depletes you of the one thing you must have: hope. No wonder you turn to God seeking that hope. But it’s easy to focus so much on the hope you think you need, that you fail to see all the signs of God’s hope already there. So take a second, third and fourth look and see signs of God’s hope in first responders who willingly risk their lives to save others; in prayers spontaneously shared; in the generosity of people who offer their money, time and talents to help; in every act that proclaims fear, hate and evil will never win; and in the laughter of children. Yes, God is a God of hope. Real hope. Transforming hope. Eternal hope. And God longs for this hope to fill you to overflowing.
You dream about it, long for it, get excited about it and wait for it to happen. Then “it” never happens. But something far better does: God. And here’s the thing. God is infinitely better than the very best things you could ever imagine on your own. So what if you decided to spend less energy figuring out what you think you need in your life and more tuning in to what God actually does in your life? Your life will be transformed. Because when you figure out what God’s up to in your life – even if it’s very different from your best laid plans – you come face-to-face with one of life’s truths: God is full of surprises. And when you can’t wait for God to surprise you, you’re already experiencing what you’ve been dreaming about, longing for, getting excited about and waiting to happen all along.
I’ve noticed how easily I become judgmental, arrogant and self-righteous. To think I know everything about everything. And to act like it without even being aware that’s what I am doing.
Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for forgetting You. Forgive me for trying to be You. And forgive me for hurting others.
But don’t just forgive me, Lord. Help me truly change by starting the only place I can – in your Grace. Make me more graceful in everything I do. More understanding of what others are going through. More compassionate, even when it’s hard. More generous with my heart, time, skills and money. And more and more and more loving.
I know you’ve got a big job working with me, Lord. But I know You’re up to it.
So let’s get started!
It’s pretty tempting to think you need to go to a religious place to feel holy, use religious language to feel spiritual and engage in religious rituals to feel faithful. While it’s important to be as intentional as possible about your faith, just doing these things will not guarantee that you’ll end up any closer to God. That’s because holy places, spiritual language and faith rituals are not ends in-and-of themselves, but resting places on your journey to the heart of God. More than anything else, God longs to be in relationship with you in every part of your life, hungers for you to be filled with the fullness of God’s love in everything you experience and thirsts for you live out that love in every single thing you do. So if God never stops longing, hungering and thirsting for you to experience these things, maybe it’s time for you to do so as well.