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August 11, 2007

Perseverance

Many days, each of us face issues that cause us to doubt our course or our strength. Whether we face physical battles or spiritual battles, something is often "advising us" to give up, to take an easier path.
It has hit home with me especially today (more below), but really, daily. Our work in Guatemala and our efforts at an independent fellowship here in Somerset, have both involved many blessings, but many "failures". Satan is all too quick to point out the failures. If you don't think Satan does this, we should talk. My simple adage is: God is responsible for the good, and Satan is responsible for the bad. This is simplistic, but true on two levels. It is right, in an active sense, much of the time, when we try to live by the spirit; it is right all the time in the greater sense, in a believer's worldview.
God has repeatedly had to remind me that he is still in charge, because Satan makes it so convincing that HE is in charge. Why do I still listen to him (Satan)? Well, Satan is an expert at this; he has been doing it a long time from the Garden of Eden, to the Garden of Gethsemane and on, to the garden at Loma Linda Farm.
When we were returning from Colorado Springs a week ago, we ended up stalled and waiting in the Dallas airport for 11 hours. …not a thing we could do about it. Was it Satan's work? I don't know, but after a difficult day, God reminded me of His presence in THREE ways just as we were finally boarding the plane.
Walking down the hall to the boarding gate, I encountered my friend from Guatemala, on his way to Kentucky. I knew he was coming; I had no idea through which airport or when. He had waited about 7 hours and was getting ready to board. What a welcome sight. Both of us long delayed, but united by the mishap, what are the chances.
While waiting at the gate, I started watching the sunset. What I saw, I had never seen before, an "upside-down" sunset. See the photo. No, it wasn't a "miracle" of itself; it was a miracle of timing. (The photo is attached, but more dramatic moments before.)
I had struggled all day to read CS Lewis's The Problem of Pain. I had struggled because, number one, pain was what I was in, and number two, because I just can't read in a noisy airport. Well, I finished the book while standing in the boarding line, and that WAS a miracle. And God immediately put the "pain" issue in perspective by these three gifts, all miracles of timing.

Today? As we labor and pray on about our efforts for a fellowship group, doubts and frustrations continue to come up. In the past few days I have questioned the validity of this calling. This morning, I asked God for a significant sign of encouragement (and, yes, it is ok to ask …remember Gideon). About three hours later I received an email from my mother. She had spoken to my Aunt Sue on the phone. Now, my Aunt Sue lives in Dalton, Georgia; I seldom see her, but know she loves the Lord. She was reading a passage on this morning and thought of me: II Chronicles 15:7. So I looked it up (you must do the same); now, just tell me, is God good? All the time.
Copyright 2007