He Held My Hand

My friend.

We had walked together for what seemed like so short a time, and now he was dying.  Cancer had come back with a vengence and he was hurting so bad.

I had an accident the day before and my hand was broken.  I was in pain myself but nothing compared to what he was going through.

So, as he was dying, he asked to take my hand, to hold on to his friend for a little while and ease the pain a bit.  With each wave of agony he faced, he would squeeze so hard.  Then he would release as the fury of that silent monster would abate.

And I took the pain.  Not because I’m a hero, not brave, not strong.  I took it because he was my friend.

I look at my hand from time to time, seeing the flaws in the healing, knowing my hand was never the same again.  And I realize that’s why God put us together, all of us.  When we hurt, we often cause pain to others, we create deformities, broken places.  But it is our honor, our priviledge to share in these sufferings.  It is not the time to isolate, to reject, to protect yourself – barring the abusive relationship to be sure.  As we are hurting, we share in the pain, allowing ourselves to be hurt.  Yes, laying down our lives.

It is how we see Jesus.

“All Things Work Together…”

What a crock!

I know it’s scripture but, seriously, what a crock.

Raised in an abusive, dysfunctional home.  Molested as a child, repeatedly.  Bullied, ridiculed, demeaned.  Rejected by many that I needed, really, truly needed to be loved by.  Marginalized by the church as a rebel.  Looked down on for how I question things, the questions that I ask, the inherent flaws that must be present in a person who questions God.  Every time I asked for something, it either came across as being arrogant, thinking I deserved it, or as weak, lacking confidence.  So many opportunities stripped away, even when I had the necessary skills, the drive to do what needed done, all because of some ambiguous, not-the-right-fit kind of reason.

“More than conquerors…”

Really?

Broke all the time.  Can’t sell a book.  Can’t buy a full-time ministry position.  My job doesn’t like me.  I can’t get promoted.  I’m not even sure my wife and kids like me most of the time.

Now maybe, no one who reads this can relate to what I’m saying.  But, I bet, if you look down deep, everyone one of you has had questions, doubts about the validity of the two scriptures that I quoted.

Is God working all things together for my good?

My heart breaks over the abuse of children, sex-trafficking of people, slavery, bullying, loneliness.  I can’t see a person sitting alone in a room without wondering what’s going on inside them.  When I hug the son of a single mom, I want them to know that they are loved, they matter, they are not rejected.  When I pray, I hear the voice of my Father, my Daddy as His great, loving heart weeps over the brokenness of this world.

Through addiction and defeat I have seen the power, the relentless juggernaut of God’s passion for the healing, restoration, discipline and release of His warriors.  I have tasted His desire for all people to be free.  FREE!  Not bound by rules and decrees.  Not robots with mindless movements and subjugated wills.  FREE and ALIVE human beings.

And I have found freedom.  I have come to see the walls torn down, the strongholds broken, the infections lanced, drained and healed.  I have seen my heart of stone restored to a heart of flesh.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

It is true.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

IT IS TRUE!

All because HE LOVES US!!