Nothing Can Separate

Nothing Can Separate image

 

“We know that all things work together for the good

 of those who love God

—those whom he has called

according to his plan.”

Romans 8:28

 

In the context of talking about the impossibility of ever being separated from God’s Love  for those who love Him, we see this beautiful encouragement.  It helps to put everything that happens in our lives into God’s Perspective.

He called your name.  He called my name.  And since we experienced  His Call …. perhaps a whisper…. He has been working out the Plan into which He has written our names.  We can be sure that it’s allgood.   No mistakes on His part.  Nothing missed or forgotten.  Nothing random.  Nothing too messed up for Him to weave into His Plan, and create something even more amazing by using the flaws He lovingly works into His Artistry.

He has Called your name, because of His Love for you.  He has chosen to weave you into His

Plan . . . for Eternity.

Whatever our pain . . . loss . . . failures . . . tragedies . . . His Plan has not changed. Set in motion before this world existed, His Plan moves forward.  And, oh so patiently, He has chosen to weave us, flaws and all, into His Masterpiece.

And someday, we will see the unveiling, including our own beautifully flawed piece, of what He has been creating.  It will be finished.  And all we who love Him will see . . . and at last understand.

Good News

My beautiful young language tutor was helping me during my first visit to the refugee camps.  Suddenly, the busy room emptied.

Leaning in, she whispered, “Are you Christian?”

I nodded hesitantly.

“You know Jesus?”

Another nod.

Eyes sparkling, she whispered, “Tell me!”

As the Story of Jesus unfolded, there were many tears.     Why?

“Your words bring God so near.   We only know Him as far, far above us.”

Taking her hand, I prayed, “God, please come near to Aisha.”

One year later, she told me, “Every day we (family) pray that prayer.  We like this very much.

Come Closer…

toa-heftiba-270811-unsplashI leaned over his little sleepy form to kiss him good-bye.  My time in the desert was coming to an end, but his would continue for another week.  For the first time, my child’s children were meeting the S** refugees who have become so much a part of our family’s life.

He stirred, and opened his eyes.  “Won’t you come under my blankie, Omi?”  How could I resist?  Rubbing his back, his big dark eyes soon closed, and it seemed that he had fallen asleep.  I quietly began to move off of the simple mat, only to find that his little fingers had entwined into my scarf.

“Won’t you come close, Omi?” he whispered as he pulled me near. “Closer….closer…”

Each time I would move, thinking he had fallen asleep, he would whisper, “closer….closer…”

The sweetness of that one little word…that invitation…that request…brought tears to my eyes.   How precious to be asked by this dearly-loved little one to be near…to be close.   I love to be close to him.  But his whispered invitation made it all the more precious.

God, is this what you long to hear on the lips of your children?  On my lips?  In my whispers in the night?  In the darkness?  When I’m not even fully awake or consciously intentional?  That kind of spontaneity from my heart?

Shepherds First?

“Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem.

They were taking turns watching their flock during the night.

An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them.

The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified.

The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you,

a message that will fill everyone with joy.

Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city.”Luke 2:8-11

In the West, we don’t really “get” the shepherd concept.  Shepherds are not in our frame of reference or experience.  But in the Middle East and North Africa, “shepherding” is

the ancient foundational occupation, and woven within the fiber of much of the Bible.

So, what is it about shepherdsthat God would bring them into the Story of Christmas as the first ones to be told by the angels that Jesus, the Messiah, the Promised One, had been born?  In human logic, it is confounding.  But it wasn’t the first time, nor the last, that God chose shepherds to be part of His Plan.  (Abraham, Moses, David,…)

Shepherding is a 24-hour, thankless job, dealing with truly “dumb” sheep that need a lot of care and attention.  Shepherds know the sky…using the stars to keep their sense of direction when far from home in open fields with their flocks for months at a time.  Sleeping with “one eye open” for any preying animal or thief.  It’s a lonely life.  They were some of “the least of these” in society.  They were not people of influence.

But they knew what it meant to “lay down one’s life for the sheep.”

So that night, as the world slept in their houses under sheltering roofs, something was going on in the Heavens that had never happened before nor since.  A Plan that had been in the making since (and before) Creation was dramatically unfolding, as the world slept.

The stars were pinpointing it.  The angels were announcing it.  God had put Himself into the smallest, most vulnerable human form to come to the earth so that mankind could have a glimpse of Him in a way we could begin to understand and know Him.

Perhaps the shepherds were the only ones attuned enough to hear.  Paying attention enough to see.  Humble enough to listen.  The Shepherd of all shepherds had come to a stable used to shelter sheep and other animals.  Perhaps shepherds were the only ones courageous enough to walk through the night and step into a dirty, smelly stable.  Whatever the reason, on that night of all nights, the shepherds were first to come and see….to come and worship the Good Shepherd when He arrived on this dark earth.

And I wonder . . . what would I have done?