Gain or Loss

I spent half the month of March on a journey of my mom passing away. I know she’s with Jesus and that brings me great comfort, but I still miss her.

There were so many good things that came out of the two weeks away from home including quality time with both of my sisters and time with my dad. We all had opportunities to say our goodbyes.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve received multiple sympathy cards. Most people write or speak to me, “Sorry for your loss.” And it is a loss.

Yesterday I started thinking about Philippians 3:7: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (ESV) I began to wonder if God had something else for me there.

Yes, earthly gain counted as loss for Christ is God truth. But what if earthly loss counted as gain for Christ is also God truth?

I’m not trying to add to the word of God, rather thinking about my response, any of our responses, to earthly losses of any kind. What are our options?

Wallow in sorrow, despair, self-pity. Plant feet firmly in anger and resistance against God and others. Go to our happy place, AKA, escape and never truly deal with the loss. Just a few examples from an endless list I’m sure.

But what if I take this earthly loss and live it out in such a way to bring glory to God? What if before I respond in my human flesh, I try responding in the Spirit?

I’m trying my best to do just that. I’m hoping that all of us who call ourselves active believers can do the same.
That’s not to say that sorrow and anger and the rest of the grieving process isn’t valid, it’s more to say that we don’t let it consume us.

What current loss are you struggling over? What could you do to make it a loss that counts as gain for Christ?

100% Unscathed

My mom has been in the hospital two times over the last two weeks. My prayers are with her often, as are my thoughts. I know, based on my own hospitalizations, that fear, anxiety and depression can quite easily take over.

Coincidentally, by divine design, I’ve been reading in the book of Daniel. I just read two of the more memorable Sunday School felt board stories: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lions’ den.

Where do these two thoughts meet, you might be thinking. I’m glad you asked. Perish or relish.

When life circumstances bring us to the brink of disaster, to the edge of the precipice, to the mouth of a bubbling volcano, we have a choice. We can dwell on the circumstances only and perish through depression, fear, anxiety, regret, bitterness, etc., or we can relish in our God, in our LORD.

This is easier said than done. Duh.

I can probably count on one hand or less the times when on the brink of life disaster, according to my perception, when I chose to relish instead of perish. Even when we choose to perish, God shows abundant grace. Ah, but when we relish.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego chose to relish in their God and they came out of the fiery furnace, that was so hot it killed the guards who put them in it, 100% unscathed. They had no burns, their clothes were intact, their hair was still there and even the smell of smoke was not on them.

Daniel came out of the lions’ den even without a single scratch.

I want that kind of faith, don’t you? I want to come out of whatever circumstance I find myself in 100% unscathed because of my faith.

What current life circumstance feels like you are on the brink of disaster? How can you relish there instead of perish?

God is faithful and full of grace. Thank You, Jesus.

Zipper Faith

I’ve been zipping a lot, and I mean A LOT, of jackets lately. This happens when you work at a school with pre-schoolers and you are outside with them before, during and after school. I’ve encountered plenty of zippers with problems.

Some are just plain worn out, on jackets handed down from siblings and used repeatedly. Others are smooth and zip easily. Lots of them get jammed by the side material. The most bothersome ones are the ones that zip initially but then split at the base. Even my new jacket did that one day.

So what’s the big deal? What does this have to do with faith?

In my quiet time I sometimes pray the alphabet, which I talked about quite a while back in “God APP.” The letter “Z” is always a challenge to come up with a praise or prayer word for. Many times I use the word zipper. I imagine my journey of faith as a zipper and I want my life to groove in with God’s will as the zipper moves up, as my faith moves up.

The broken zippers lately have me thinking about zipper faith. What kind of zipper is my faith? What circumstances in life cause me to split at the bottom or get stuck on the side? Is my faith right now a smooth kind of zipper or one that has grown complacent and taken for granted God’s zipping of my life to His will?

The zippers that come apart at the base are the most dangerous kind of faith. It is the faith of a person who thinks they are great with Christ, with God, but really are coming apart at the core. The zippers that do that in real life are only fixed by starting over from the bottom with a firm standing. Sometimes, God reminds me of this in certain areas of my life.

What about you? If you had to describe your faith in terms of zippers, how would you describe it?