birthday.expectations

This is a guest post by Michael Perkins, a fellow blogger and friend. I’ve come to appreciate his ability to see the application of scripture in the small things of life. He authors the site “Untitled” – be sure to add his site your RSS reader.

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Ethan (my son) will turn six on September 17. He is so excited. For the last two months he has been telling me the things that he would like to get. It ranges from a baseball to the moon. Everyday, he asks me, “Dad, how many more days until my birthday?” Ethan’s excitement is contagious. Ethan’s anticipates and expects big things. If I was a jerk I would tell him to drop it. I would tell him not to expect anything. But I’m not a jerk. I love him. I want him to be excited. I want him to expect. I want him to anticipate big things.

Habakkuk 1:5 says, “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

With the busyness of life it’s easy to get down. It’s easy to become complacent and not expect miraculous things to happen. It’s easy to become distracted. It’s easy to lose hope. I believe that God wants us to expect and anticipate like Ethan has for his birthday. He wants to do the unbelievable. He wants to do the amazing.

Believe.  Hope.  Trust.

What are you expecting or hoping for?

them.too

I hate the weather in Colorado Springs. I am so glad we left. When it’s nice, it’s really nice. But the winters are long – too long. I joke about “June snows” being the reason why I wish to never return. But, in reality, it’s the winters. I’m generally a happy person, but I fought depression during every single winter. Depression loomed as a foreboding cloud, pulsing to overcome my spirit. With the Lord’s strength I survived these dreary winters – all except one – my dark night of the soul.

Wearied by the gloom of winter, the weight of my studies, and financial responsibilities, I found myself in a dark place – spiritually. My intellectual-self affirmed my relationship with my God, but I couldn’t sense His presence – at all. It was as if I were in a pitch dark room, so large that no matter how far I walked, I’d never find a wall.

I was at the edge of cursing Him. “I came here for YOU! I struggle for YOU! My family suffers for YOU! WHERE ARE YOU!”

During small group one evening, I shared my months-long struggle. A dear friend, in honest care said, “Herb, I understand that you’re feeling abandoned, but as you share, all I hear is ‘me, me, me’ – have you forgotten about your responsibility to others?”

Silence.

I hid it, but I was angry at him. “You’re my friend,” I thought. “How could you attack me like that when I NEED help?!?!”

10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

My friend’s honest words were the beginning of my recovery. Within all the “work” I had lost my passion for people. The reason God called me to ministry was not for me – it was for “them” – those who did not have a personal relationship with the Loving Creator. God used this dark time to show me what my life would be like without Him – what others are missing. “What about them? You are so concerned with how ‘miserable’ you are – but they live without Me. I love them too, Herb.”

Sometimes I forget that He sent Jesus for them too.

10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

to.the.dawn

The picture attached to this post is of Molly-Grace. She is a Black Labrador – Golden Retriever mix. She was rescued from a very unfortunate situation, one of fourteen dogs vying for survival in poor conditions. She joined our family earlier this year. She is super sweet and affectionate. We feel so lucky to have found her at a pet adoption fair, and we love her a lot.

She’s been with us for several months now, but she is still adjusting. Don’t get me wrong, she is well aware of the very spoiled life that she now enjoys, and she takes full advantage of it. But, she still fears. We often wonder what happened in her life that made her so afraid. Even her nights are restless – she rarely makes it from dusk to dawn in peaceful slumber. It breaks our heart when the effects of fear have their way with her. How long before she no longer fears?

6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.

7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.

8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
(Psalm 4:6-8)

It isn’t easy going through this with her. There are many restless nights and mornings that come too early – but, we’ll be patient with her. Someday, Molly-Grace will no longer fear. Someday she will be able to lie down in peace, falling asleep with peaceful assurance through to the dawn – when she finally trusts in us.

I know this because I was once like Molly-Grace. I was rescued from a life of pain and fear. It took time, but eventually I learned to trust God and the new family I joined. I am thankful that He stuck with me – He gave comfort when I needed it, encouragement when I needed it – always His presence.

He’ll do that for you too.