Monday, January 11, 2010
That got me to thinking about God's work in my life. God is working in every area of my life at the same time. And He's working in every area of everyone else's life while He's at it. And somehow he has the skill to account for the intersection of all these lives He's trying to shape, using each encounter, each situation, and each person as a way to shape the next.
What a marvel God's work is in my life, and that he can use my life to help shape the life of another person. That's exactly why He has the rights of the potter over my life--to shape it as He deems best. It is not mine to shape, it is mine to be shaped. Lord, help me to be pliable in your hands.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
This is a picture of our family on the top of Mount Vitusha in Sophia, Bulgaria in 2003. It has been a long time since I've seen that much snow. In fact, I would have to go back to my childhood in Michigan, when snow came all the time and piled up into big mounds. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to play with the kids in the snow, just like I used to.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Monday, February 9, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I'm sure God didn't ask the Israelites to collaborate on his transition plan; they would never have agreed to the terms. A new Pharaoh, who did not know Joseph, ascended to the throne and things became very difficult for God's people. Here's how Exodus 1:11-13 describes it, "So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly."
Rather than making things easier, God allowed them to become much harder; the people labored to build cities under increasingly difficult standards. There are at least two parts to this story that deserve reflection:
- God allowed the Israelites to endure increasingly difficult times, but he did not allow the difficulties to wear them down or thin them out. In fact, because of God's providential care for his people, the added difficulties caused them to increase in strength and thrive all the more. It's certainly not the way they would have chosen to thrive, but God used it nonetheless. And there's at least one reason I think God chose to prosper his people that way.
- God used the difficult circumstances to prepare the people to leave Egypt. If the Israelites had prospered in Egypt, they would never have left. As it was they whined (what the Old Testament calls grumbling) about the favorable conditions in Egypt—as SLAVES!
What does that mean? It means as long as I know I'm where God wants me to be, I can trust that he will provide the added strength I need to prosper me through the difficulties. I can trust that He is using those difficulties to prepare for the journey to my next destination. I can rest in the knowledge that He has a plan and has the understanding, power, and patience to make it a reality.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was working the FDA in Dallas sometime in the late 1970s. I’d been sent to Hidalgo a little border crossing near Harlingen Texas. I was sampling strawberries during the day then bundling them up and putting them on a plane at the Harlingen airport. One night I got to the airport and I noticed two Mexican nationals at the Southwest ticket counter. The older Mexican was in a wheel chair. They were having a problem. I asked the counter clerk what the problem was. Turns out they had flown for Mexico City to Harlingen but didn’t have a ticket to finish their trip to Houston. They had money but it was pesos and no one would take their pesos. I was done working so I thought I’d try and help them. The guy in the wheel chair had polio. I had a mild case of polio when I was in 5th grade so I had real empathy for this guy. Neither Mexican spoke English and I didn’t speak Mexican. I had the counter clerk tell the younger Mexican that I would take him around and try and find someone that would exchange his pesos for US currency. I started right at the airport with Mexicana Airlines, the Mexican National Airline. They WOULDN’T take the pesos!! I was incredulous. At that time the peso was fluctuating a lot no one wanted those pesos. I took the guy into Harlingen to every business that I could find open. No one would take those pesos. At this point you are maybe thinking I was being some kind of saint – I wasn’t. All along I had the cash in my pocket. At that time the government gave us a cash advance for our room and board. I had the whole thing right there in my pocket. Finally I couldn’t stand it. I took the younger Mexican back to Mexicana Airlines. I told the lady behind the counter that I would make the exchange. I asked her to calculate the exchange rate based on today’s exchange rate pesos for dollars. I can clearly remember after I exchanged my dollars for his pesos that I had $8.00 American left. I gave them to the two Mexicans so they could get something to eat. Now I had a pocket full of pesos and I owed the motel. We didn’t have a credit card and I didn’t have a check. That night I didn’t sleep. I was at the Harlingen bank when they opened. I rushed in and handed over the pesos. All along I was praying that God would let me have enough money to pay for the motel room, I could eat when I got home. That particular day the peso’s value was up and I actually ended up with $20 more than I had given the two Mexicans. All along God was prompting me to make the exchange. I was too much of a coward to do it until there was no other option. You might think I am quicker to listen to God, I’m not. But I’m working on it.