His Peace Must Be Chosen

jordanEver heard psalmists and David Crowder sing unabashedly of God being “everything they need” and wondered, What on earth are they talking about?

Me, too.

One of the chief comforts of Scripture when we are disappointed, discouraged, or heartbroken, is that the Christian’s highest goal is not that dream or achievement or milepost you’ve fallen short of, but knowing God. Making him your peace, your joy, your contentment, your soul’s richest food and water. He, the Bible tells us repeatedly, is the only thing that will truly ever satisfy.

But you might have noticed it doesn’t just drop in with the mail.

Where is it then, God? Where are you?

Or as a friend put it recently, “Why can’t I appropriate for myself what God has promised me?”

We know God is faithful. His side of the deal is inerrant and unfailing; there is no lie or failure with him.

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Is God Opposed to Your Dreams?

soldierAs I was wrapping up Air Force basic training (never have seven weeks passed so swiftly and so slowly), one of the final bureaucratic details was the chance to tell the Air Force our preference of first posting, for them to promptly ignore.

We were given a “dream sheet” on which to list eight desired destinations. We could select a base, state, region, or country.

Some of us got an insider tip: wait until tech school to file your sheet. For whatever reason, sheets filed there tended to be actually seen by someone, whereas those filed at basic vanished into the same black hole that has probably consumed all my socks.

So I waited until tech school, filed my sheet, and waited with bated breath for my posting. The sergeant announced them weekly from the podium outside the dorms, usually triggering jeers of fake sympathy for anyone getting “Why Not Minot?”

Finally, my turn came. I got a posting in the…half of the country I’d requested.

Wrong border, though. 1,500 miles away.

Did the Air Force just not care?

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“Your Prayer is Awaiting Moderation”

Brandon J. Adams

waiting“Your post is awaiting moderation” is something we bloggers see a lot.

When we comment on someone else’s blog, depending on their settings, our comments have to wait for their approval before they’re displayed.

Ever felt like your prayer is awaiting moderation? in heaven? For, like, decades?

Prayers have four answers: Yes, wait-then-yes, no, wait-then-no. In descending order of fun.

I once found it tempting to think that at least “wait” didn’t mean “no”. But I then found that…no, that’s not how it works. Sometimes he has us wait – for years – and then says no.

And that’s rough.

It’s one thing to get a “no” right off the bat. At least you can deal with it then, get past the disappointment. But years of waiting and then a no? It feels almost cruel. Hopes gotten up and then dumped.

We can dodge these unpleasant truths if we want…

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When God Shreds a Millennial

Brandon J. Adams

porkA few years ago, I stood in my church’s kitchen combing through massive chunks of steaming pork, to be sold heaped between buns as  a mission fundraiser.

As I coaxed the juicy meat into smaller chunks, I was disappointed.

I’d recently been pulled out of a couple ministry opportunities at my church. I’d been assured that it wasn’t about my heart or competence – just other things going on.

The struggle in my heart was real. Sin kept whispering at me, You wanted to do X and Y and here you are in the kitchen, holding a fork. The Spirit in me wasn’t that stupid. I knew it’s not about me. I knew ambition is unholy. And I was more than happy to be doing my part in the mission. But sometimes lies can feel overwhelming, especially in an incumbent climate of fear and self-criticism. A gale against a fragile…

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The Miracle in the Mirror

This is Mike’s best work. Amazing testimony of a self-determination expired and a life salvaged.

New Hope for Dry Bones

I started writing yesterday and I painted a pretty bleak picture. I used to sit around feeling sorry for myself that I had reached such a low place in my life. I was to the place the widow was, use up what was left and die.

From yesterday:

“So I went into Celebrate Recovery and I had nothing. I didn’t even have sticks to build a fire. I was starved and full of death. I was broken and beaten and empty. The extent of my journey has left me in pieces. I was trying desperately to pull them all together and make myself into something more than a pile of useless trash.

Then I was asked to share.”

I’m not writing to say that Celebrate Recovery is THE answer. It is merely where I found my answer and continue to find it every time I attend. God has many ways…

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When You Dislike Being Needy for God

mistLong ago, I listened to a remarkably holy man, a cancer patient, sharing a conversation with God.

It was a naked, piercing, and heavy testimony of the “when you’ve finally just had it” variety. During a morning quiet time in his big easy chair, he is praying and listening for God and suddenly (for are not these things rather sudden?) just explodes into venting about the story God is writing for him. It’s not just the disease. It’s the ongoing changes and the endless appointments and the constant vigilance and the social misunderstandings and the lack of closure and the shame and fear that attend. All his anger and helplessness and isolation explodes before the throne in frustration. He lets God know.

And the man described hearing God reply, “I understand you don’t like the story. How do you feel about the Author?”

Ugh.

It cut me to the quick – one of two things he said that did so. Not a pleasant reveal, but an unmistakably holy one. A divine refocusing.

For though I dared not compare my life’s difficulties to cancer, the question was stil one that I had not wanted to face. For I could tell you exactly how my journey (e.g. my family history, my weird and glitchy personality) has made me feel about God.

The other thing he said was:

“I could just hear the clarity coming to myself, and I finally said it: ‘What I really don’t like is, I’m now living a life where I need you, God, on a day-to-day basis, just to get through it. And I don’t like being desperately needy for you, God.'”

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Thankful For My Life – 12/26/02

Years ago, Interstate 10 tried to kill me. It had an accomplice…my own stupidity.

Fortunately, God was bigger than even that dynamic duo. And his deliverance left me wondering just how much room we have to complain to him over suffering.

Brandon J. Adams

Many of us speak of our first car with fondness. I am foremost among them, but not for the reasons you’d think.

It was the day after Christmas, 2002. I was driving my Dodge Intrepid down Interstate 10 from Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, where I was stationed, to visit my grandfather in Tucson. A nap attack arrived – I swear it’s always around 1:35pm – and I figured I could fight the fatigue and keep driving. Older and wiser now, I advise thus: pull over and nap. It only takes twenty minutes to reset your body.

That day, somewhere north of Casa Grande, I nodded off. The freeway curved to the right; I did not. The rumble strips woke me up and I swerved hard right to correct – too hard. The back end of my Intrepid swung out left and took the rest with it. I remember only skidding into…

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