Friday, July 17

My Constant, My Comfort

Change and decay in all around I see
Oh, Thou who changest not, abide with me.

As I sang these words for my morning worship, I had a thought. Not anything profound, not even anything necessarily new, but rather something comforting.

God is the only constant in our lives besides change itself. In a world where the majority of people have difficulty with change, possibly even very much dislike change, how comforting to know that there is a God who is ever the same. He is the God who was, and is, and is to come, Eternal Father, the Constant Companion who promises never to stop loving us, never to change.

Healing Prison

On Wednesday morning this week, I was highly upset. Tuesday night I had convinced myself that I would be able to get out of the hospital and back to camp. My heart was set on it. But the next morning when the nurse told me that my hemoglobin had dropped again, I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I was highly upset; I even cried a little bit, foolish as it might sound. I was so frustrated with my body for not recovering quickly, for not bouncing right back. I was so tired of being sick, so tired of just not being able to kick this crazy bug. And I was frustrated with God.

"God, we've all been praying so hard. I don't understand; why do you grant healing sometimes, and withhold it other times? What good is it doing anybody for me to be stuck here any longer? God, why are you saying no to my prayers? Is there something I've done that I need to confess that's blocking me from you? Why do I feel like my prayers are ineffective?"

Thankfully, God knew my frustration and my low spirits, and He sent me extra visitors that day. I've been blessed to have my friends from camp come to visit me every day that I've been in the hospital, but on Wednesday, I had visitors come three different times throughout the day, and it really lifted my spirits.

I didn't actually do a whole lot on Wednesday, except that I spent an awful lot of time thinking and reflecting on various topics. One of the things I thought about was being stuck in the hospital, and how sometimes that's how life is. Sometimes God places us in healing prisons-- situations that He doesn't take us out of that are frustrating, painful, upsetting, but ultimately healing. We don't always understand why, maybe we only partially understand, and sometimes we might not even see how it's healing at all, but God is faithful, God is love, and trusting Him means trusting that He's not going to allow situations that He can't use for good in some way.

I still probably don't know all the reasons that I've ended up staying in the hospital longer than I hoped, but I have figured out at least one. Later on Wednesday, I developed a fever again. And I realized that if I had gone back to camp and gotten a fever, I would have been a little bit scared, thinking that I wasn't responding to treatment after all, or maybe the diagnosis was wrong, and it just would have been a slightly frightening experience. God saved me from that; I was able to talk to the doctor when I got a fever, to be reassured that things were going to be alright. Again, I don't know all the reasons, but once again, through a new experience, God is teaching me to trust. He is teaching me to be still and know that He is God.

Wednesday, July 15

Ever the Optimist

Sometimes I wish I weren't such an optimist. Here's a general scenario, a short vignette of what most often happens:

I have two options- be optimistically hopeful about an outcome, or be groundedly pessimistic. I choose to hope, no matter what the odds. My optimism is dashed against the rocks and hope disappoints.

Sometimes, I've tried desperately not to be optimistic. On occasion, I will try to be reasonable and tell myself, "Kristin, it's not likely. Don't get your hopes up because the chances are slim to none." But all the while I'm lecturing myself in my head, deep down, I can't help myself. I hope.

As far as I know, optimism is stereotypically seen in a good light-- the lighthearted, happy, effervescent twin-- while pessimism is cast out as the gloomy, dull, sober, bad twin. I'm beginning to differ from my previous conceptions of optimism and pessimism. I think both have a time and a place. And I'm really beginning to wonder if optimism is all it's built up to be.

That's not to say that I should never be optimistic. But I guess at the moment I'm just burnt out on hope. I'm tired of being ever hopeful just to be let down. It seems the more I hope, the harder I have to fall back down to reality. I have more thoughts on this particular subject, but I think for now my reflections will stay mine alone.

Having said all that, I do know with certainty that there is one area in which I can ever be the optimist without fear of disappointment. And for that I am incredibly grateful.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. . . And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. . . And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." ~Romans 5:1-5

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. . . Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." ~Hebrews 10:19,23

Monday, July 6

Glorious Displays

I really enjoy fireworks. Dark skies lit up with brilliant bursts of color, unexpected extra explosions of light and sound, and best of all, the deep rumbling of the finale.

On Saturday night, some friends from camp and I went out to see the fireworks over Saranac Lake. It was a fun experience, especially because I haven't been able to see fireworks for the past few years. We enjoyed each others' company and oohed and aahed at the variety of fireworks shot up into the sky.

I stood on the bank and watched with excitement as the finale began. Roman candles spouted off continuously in bright colors while rockets climbed high and burst into showering blues, reds, and whites, echoing across the lake with loud booms you could feel. As I stood there, feeling the rumblings of the explosions, I thought to myself, "If this man-made display of color and sound can excite me, how much more thrilling it will be when Jesus comes."

Think about it. Hearing the loud boom, seeing the bright colors, and feeling the rumble deep inside when fireworks explode seems to set off a little extra adrenaline and you can just sense the excitement of it. But this is not even a mere shadow of what we will experience when Jesus comes in the clouds.

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:11-16

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Matthew 24:30,31


I won't give in this time.
This time will be different.

My words float heavenward
From my upturned lips
As I
Fall down


Satan adds a mark--
Another line on his chalkboard
To testify.

But I,
Through tear-stained face,
Take God's hand to
Stand up


My Judge erases
The Accuser's smirk and my mark
To testify.