Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Post: "Praise God - Even In Your Struggles"

Preparing to go to prison was one of the most difficult times of my life.
Each day found me on my knees,
because I had no answer, no solution, and no strength on my own.

I had caused a drunk-driving accident, resulting in injuries to two people.
This gives the District Attorney grounds for two second-degree felony assault charges:
considered “assault with a deadly weapon,
with reckless disregard to the value of human life.”
And in Oregon,
a “guilty” verdict carries a mandatory-minimum sentence of 70 months,
with the possibility of twice that amount due to two persons injured.

So how do you praise God in this?
How does my wife praise Him?
What does it take to praise God when you lose a job?
Or when your child is diagnosed with a terminal disease?

It is in that moment that I learned to thank God.
Not for what was about to happen,
but for what I could experience beforehand.

It is not the impending sentence that I was grateful for,
but for the days, hours, and moments I had in freedom still.

There was still time to savor with good food and friends,
to suck the sweet nectar of life in closeness with my wife,
to takes day trips to the coast, enjoy new experiences,
and to read together as if time had stopped,
as if anything we did was the most important thing we could bother to do.

It was in the struggle of the moment that I learned to live more fully.

With the upcoming loss of my freedom and time with loved-ones,
I was able to enjoy the remaining time more fully.
It was in the remaining time that I slowly tasted my food.
And it was in the uncertain future that life’s meaning
became both more clear and obscured.

I recently heard that going through a divorce end in one of two choices:
you come out of it better, or you come out of it bitter.

Your future is uncertain, but your “now” is available.
Make it all the more sweet. All the more memorable.
Praise God that you have this moment to share and love others.
And if you find yourself alone, give yourself in volunteering.
Feed the homeless. Help-out at the animal shelter.
Help beautify the park, or sing to those in a retirement home.
And take those memories forward with you,
because in these God has given us something to hope for,
a new beginning in Him that has yet to be written,
no matter what we have to live through first.

May the struggles you face provide opportunities to experience God's transformation.

"Let me use disappointment as material for patience.
Let me use success as material for thankfulness.
Let me use trouble as material for perseverance.
Let me use danger as material for courage.
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering.
Let me use praise as material for humility
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance.
Let me use pain as material for endurance."

- John Baillie

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