One of my favorite films and books is A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. It was the thrill and art of fly fishing that first pulled me into this story. However, as I got older, I began to appreciate how the author would describe his family. Maclean would include both joyful and difficult stories about his family. It was a reminder that our family has a huge impact on our lives; and let's face it, there is nothing like the holiday season to remind us of the value and imperfections of our families.
So, here we are in this season of thankfulness, yet how do we have gratitude for our imperfect families?
If we could have coffee today I’d say, “God isn’t afraid of the dark.”
He isn’t scared of the secret places in our hearts. The ones that haven’t seen daylight for years. The kind with the locks on the doors. The sort that we don’t talk about.
In Luke 5, we find Peter after a long night of unsuccessful fishing. The nets had come back empty time after time.
In Luke 5:4, it says, "...[Jesus] said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.'"
One more time, Peter. That was Jesus’ request.
Recently I spoke in my home church. We don’t meet in a traditional building, so when I arrived early I was greeted by a team hauling out chairs. After the second service another team started to stack those same chairs onto a trailer.
I was privileged to serve that day — as I spoke to a crowd sitting in chairs placed by unseen hands.
Ken Miller says that when he was a boy, he was intrigued by a cucumber that his uncle kept preserved in a bottle on a shelf.
The intriguing thing about this cucumber was that it was way too large to go through the very narrow neck of the bottle. It was a mystery. But his mother finally explained that when the cucumber was very tiny, it had been passed through the narrow neck and allowed to grow while still attached to the vine.
I realized something the other day. My wife likes to follow certain photographers on Instagram, and occasionally, after the kids go to bed, she will show a photo to me and say, "Look at this one... I really like this one." The photo could be an image of a waterfall, an incredible sunset, or billowing clouds. She loves clouds.
I finally began to realize that it was after the most difficult days that she looked the longest at those beautiful images. Her soul was searching for beauty. We all search for beauty and have been since Eden. If we are honest, we might say our souls crave it.
Years ago, when our kids were little, the comet Hale-Bopp appeared in the northwestern sky. Every night for two weeks we all bundled up and stood outside gazing at its dusty white tail glowing against the night sky.
On one of those comet nights my husband cleverly maneuvered our daughter’s bed 180 degrees around so she could look out her bedroom window at Hale-Bopp before falling asleep. I remember standing silently in her doorway, charmed by his efforts to enhance our child’s encounter with this spectacle.
Do you ever wonder if God can use your life?
I once struggled with this. I thought I had to be a certain way. Maybe a little more outgoing. Perhaps a lot more talented. The thing is, Jesus didn’t wait until I felt confident to invite me to walk with him or to do works in his name.
In 1787, after a long hot summer of debate in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, delegates from the 13 American colonies approved the final draft of the United States Constitution.
When George Washington, the chairman, declared the document adopted by the delegates for ratification by the colonies, it is said that Ben Franklin stood up and said to Washington: “Throughout these months, Mr. Chairman, I have listened to the arguments pro and con while my eyes constantly looked up to the top slat of your chair back, where there is carved a sunburst. I have wondered during these days whether that sunburst represented a setting sun or a rising sun. With the adoption of this Constitution, I am now persuaded it is a rising sun.”
If we could have coffee today I'd say, "God cares about your tears."
Psalm 56:8 says, "Put my tears into your bottle; Are they not in your book?" If you could read a record of your tears, what would it contain? You probably can't even remember each one you've shed or why. But it seems God does.