Because Life can only be lived a moment at a time.

Waiting for Rain

"God guards those who turn to him.  The pounding you feel does not suggest his distance, but proves his nearness.  Trust his sovereignty.  Hasn't he earned your trust?"
Come Thirsty: No Heart Too Dry for His Touch by Max Lucado

I am a work in progress.  I'm sure all of you, dear readers, have realized this by now.  I go back and forth over the fence between the woman God created me to be and the slothful soul who'd rather play computer solitaire and eat waffle fries.  For instance, sometimes I write regularly with single-minded determination and other times I'm as focused as a cloud.  Since I haven't written here in about a month you can guess on which side of that equation I've been residing.

I'm always seeking out assistance in this journey and that's why I started attending a Bible study for women at our church over a month ago.  We've been reading and discussing the Max Lucado book quoted above.  I've learned as much from my classmates as from the text.

Last week we talked about two chapters: "Angels Watching Over You" and "With God as Your Guardian."  In the latter chapter Lucado deals with the ancient quandary of how to hold fast to your faith in a loving Creator even as His creation seems to be turning against you.  Illness.  Unemployment.  Homelessness.  Children gone astray.  Spouses simply gone.

Lucado maintains that such struggles strengthen our faith, just as a silversmith's endless hammering brings out the beauty in an ingot of silver.  He summarizes his illustration with the quote above.  When one woman mentioned it the second sentence jumped out at me, even though I had underlined it earlier:  "The pounding you feel does not suggest his distance, but proves his nearness."

If we're not being pounded does that mean God is distant?

Is it bad for things to be good?

The consensus of the group was that I shouldn't worry about it because trouble is surely on the way.  Don't fret because you'll feel the strike of the silversmith's hammer soon enough.

But I don't want to endure good times; I want to enjoy them.

I agree that just as muscles grow when challenged by resistance our faith grows when challenged by adversity.  Bad news sharpens focus and clarifies perspective.  And we might as well look for a silver lining, since here on planet Earth things go wrong on a regular basis.  As Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NIV)

As a Christ follower I give thanks every day that He has overcome the world, that in Him my life has an unchanging, eternal center.  But I don't think acknowledging the world's woes means we have to walk under an umbrella on a sunny day.  I don't want to be Eeyore, the gloomy little donkey created by A. A. Milne.

Rather, I think living in the moment requires that I receive what God is offering with open hands.  He might reveal something wondrous, like a butterfly landing on my cap or a granddaughter landing in my life.  Or He might allow something dark to enter my world, such as illness or loss.  Walking with Jesus means accepting His plan, one moment at a time.

I'm a work in progress, traveling toward a destination described by Paul:

"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV)

A Hallmark Moment

Sticks and Stones