my least favorite verses in the Bible...

now that i have your attention...

i always am saying that certain verses, chapters, books of the Bible are my MOSTEST FAVORITEST EVER. but i rarely say that i truly truly wish something wasn't in there (fear of lightning strikes et al.) but it is time to share with you all ( and by "all" i mean the 5 of you and i know my secret is safe because i can name all 5 of you and i know secrets about all of you too) that there are some things that i wish weren't in the Holy Bible...

like this line from a really GREAT flannelgraph worthy tale of three young men and a hot hot time they had together (sounds like the intro to a new mtv show)...


so in our tale the three faithful friends shadrach, meshach and abednego are about to be thrown into a blazing furnace because they won't worship the giant bunny statue that king nubby k. nezzer made for everyone to worship. hmmmm, i think i might have confused veggie tales with the Bible. again. but anyway you know the story. or can look it up yourself. the whole tale is PRETTY AWESOME STUFF but here is the part that i might want to strike out of the tale. the part where the three young men have a chatty chat with the king before they are thrown in...

Daniel 3:17-18

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 

But even if he does not,

we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

"God is able"


"even if He does not".

them are some hard words. 

i happen to like the God of exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine (ephesians 3:20) a lot more than this God who is perfectly able but may not. mostly because i can ask some crazy things. and i can imagine some pretty awesome scenarios. also because i don't like to be told "NO" even when it is for my own good.

i have to remember that He is the "God who is able" AND also the God of "even if He does not". He is able and everything He does is good. and i don't always know what "good" looks like in this present moment. or what "good" will look like in five minutes. but He does. He alone know what is good for now. and forevermore. something to do with existing outside of time. i don't really understand all of that. but i do know that He knows.

so... even if He doesn't not rescue me. even if He doesn't not remove the thorn. even if He does not do what i ask Him over and over and over to do. even if He does not give me what i think is my heart's greatest desire... if that ends up burning off in the fire of affliction. He is still Lord. He is still good. He is still my only Hope and Salvation. He is still loving me fully. even when it is hard. He is the only one with words of eternal life. He is the only true God... even when the answers are hard to understand. hard to accept. hard to see what is going on...

john 6:66-68

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

we weren't promised jetpacks. (that is one of millie's favorite bands "we were promised jetpacks". i like that name. i also want my promised jetpack.) as Christians we were promised a Savior. that is what we have been given. even if we get nothing else (and i do maintain that i have gotten a LOT of other things that i also didn't deserve. things way beyond my asking or imagining) Christ is enough.

Are You good only when I prosper? 

And true only when I’m filled?

Are You King only when I’m carefree ?

And God only when I’m well?

You are good when I’m poor and needy. 

You are true when I’m parched and dry. 

You still reign in the deepest valley. 

You’re still God in the darkest night.

So quiet my restless heart.

Quiet my restless heart.

Quiet my restless heart in You.

Oh let Your will be done in me.

In Your love I will abide.

Oh I long for nothing else as long

As You are glorified...

Mark Altrogge of Sovereign Grace Music

and from a woman who understands more than i will understand about the God of "even if He doesn't" being the same God of "exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine", corrie ten boom...

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick.

"Yes, the Lord will heal me,", Betsy said with confidence. 

She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that.  Yet because of Betsy's death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” 

― Corrie Ten Boom

listening, watching, & waiting...

proverbs 8:34 
Blessed is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.

LISTENING, WATCHING and WAITING. three things that i am not particularly good at... yet, God seems to like those actions...

Psalm 130:5-7 
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
       and in His word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
       more than watchmen wait for the morning,
       more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
       for with the LORD is unfailing love
       and with Him is full redemption.

and listening, watching and waiting... none of those does seem very actiony to me... they seem kind of passive. and passive is not a descriptive word applied to me very often. yeah, you kind of won’t hear that mentioned at my funeral...

one of my heroes in the faith is corrie ten boom. i heard her speak at my church when i was ten years old and the only thing i really remember about the event was that at the end of it i wanted to know God in the way that she knew God. and i wanted to love people the way that she loved people. i haven’t gotten there yet...

i have read every book that she ever wrote and seen the movie of her story (the hiding place) many times. and i love so many quotes by her...

“Discernment is God's call to intercession, never to faultfinding.”

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still”

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

and until this week, i never knew how corrie (can i call her that?) had spent the last years of her life. i assumed she was speaking, leading many to the LORD, and telling of his miracles in the concentration camp...

but i was mistaken...

here from this book review on amazon of “five silent years of corrie ten boom” 

Then Corrie suffered a stroke. Hospitalization followed; physical therapy; then long, loving hours at home. Corrie regained a little mobility for a time -- until the next strokes hit. But the ministry that had touched millions continued as Corrie communicated through her eyes, through elaborate guessing games with those around her, through silent intercession for people God brought to mind. She never regained her speech.  The details of these years will move all who loved Corrie ten Boom. They will encourage those involved with the elderly or handicapped -- and those who are themselves bedridden -- that God is at work mysteriously in and through even the most incapacitated. This book attests to the truth Corrie loved so dearly: that, in spite of everything else, Jesus is always Victor.For those five silent years of imprisonment, Corrie's spiritual depth offered mute testimony to her ongoing trust in her heavenly Father.

REALLY?!?!??!?! “mute testimony”?!??!?!?! God wanted her silenced?!?!?!?!? you have got to be kidding me...

but God doesn’t see things the way i see them. He doesn’t do things the way i would do them...

(from sacred parenting by gary thomas.... which i would recommend for EVERY PARENT to read for mother’s day OR any day...)

The Bible doesn’t explain why God sometimes fails to act in the way we want Him to act. Instead, it focuses on how WE are supposed to act in the way God wants US to act. God, as our superior, has initiated our relationship, and as the revealer He can choose to explain- or not explain- whatever He wants. However much this may keep us in the dark about some questions. One of the more practical teaching i ever received came from my theological mentor at regent college, j.i. packer, who noted, “the Bible doesn’t answer every question that men and women ask of it.” there is nothing to do about this truth except receive it.

LISTEN, WATCH and WAIT... i wish i could have watched corrie ten boom live out those last years of waiting in silence for the LORD. i wish i could have heard the things He whispered to her in those long quiet moments.

most likely they are the same things He wants to whisper to me IF only i would be about the serious action of LISTENING, WATCHING and WAITING. listening for His voice above the thousands of other sounds i attune to daily. watching Him work instead of seeing what i think i need to do (or what i really WANT to do). waiting on His timing instead of pushing my agenda onto everything and everyone...

and isn’t LISTENING, WATCHING and WAITING what our kids ask us to do all the time? “listen to this mom”, “watch me momma” and “wait for me, i am coming too”... i can’t tell you how many times i have heard those phrases. usually as i was watching everything BUT my child and pushing them to keep up with my agenda and my timing while chatting on my cell phone...

so this weekend i will LISTEN, WATCH and WAIT. i will WATCH rosie play her last soccer game of the year. and i will WATCH millie try on dresses for her 8th grade dance (where i will be chaperoning and WATCHING everything from the lens of my camera since i am the photographer for that event). i will WAIT patiently for her to find the right dress. i will LISTEN to maxx talk about what happened at school. i will spend time WATCHING to see how God is working in my children’s lives... and in my life... and i will WAIT on His timing for things, even when i want things changed NOW.

and to tell you the truth what bothers me the most isn’t the thought of corrie ten boom lying in that bed silent for 5 years when she could have been chatting with me on the phone or blogging her experiences so i could read more and more of her wisdom...

what bothers me is that a God who would choose to silence her voice so that she would be able to do nothing more than LISTEN, WATCH, and WAIT... 

could choose to silence mine...

and what bothers me about that is that while my words tend to be good and edifying and point to a God who is Supremely in control... the example of my lack of listening, watching and waiting tell a far different tale.

corrie’s five years of watching and waiting told a tale of a Savior who is victorious. she told that story with words first and then for 5 years with her listening, watching ,and waiting...

with my words taken from me... would my listening, watching, and waiting show that my hope is in Christ alone, that full redemption is found ONLY in Him?

psalm 31:15 
my times are in Your Hands...