Friday, April 08, 2005

Weekly Word for April 8 - 15, 2005

Weekly Word - April 8, 2005

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways . . . That you may live - and that the Lord your God may bless you”
(Deuteronomy 30: 15 & 16)

“Why are some people so mean?” my friend wrote. “Why do they choose to hurt others?“When they search their souls, what do they see?” he continued. As I read what my friend wrote, I thought about his questions, about what made each of us choose goodness, or wickedness . . .

“But if your heart turns away . . . And you will not obey . . . I declare to you today that you shall surely perish.”
(Deuteronomy 30: 17 & 18)

Quite a few years ago, I met my friend, who I will call Jean. She was actually a “friend of a friend”. I would hear about her from others - about her life and her family - until the day I finally got to meet her for myself. I instantly liked her - she was quiet and sweet - and always willing to help. She belonged to some of the same groups that I did - and so I got to see her, here and there.

Then one day, my friend told me about an awful thing that had happened to Jean’s daughter. The little one was only 3 years old, and had been molested at her daycare. My heart broke as I heard bits and pieces of the story. But Jean’s heart was devastated, as she started the long process of police and court proceedings. I didn’t know her well enough to call her, or even write to her. So I soon went on with my own life, of family and church groups. Finally, at one of the meetings, I saw Jean there. She was sitting quietly, and I could see how sad and broken she still was. It was a small ministry group - working on developing a counseling center for victims of abuse. The leader was telling each of us what she wanted us to do. She then turned to Jean: “and you can get all the court information - with your daughter and all . . .” and the leader turned away and continued on. Jean’s face fell and her eyes swelled up with tears. I wondered where the leader’s compassion had gone - - - why couldn’t she see how hurt Jean was? Jean didn’t come back to the group, and dropped out of church. You see, the daycare provider - - - belonged to that same church . . .

“Why do some people, choose to hurt others?“ To this day, I don’t know why Jean and her family went through what they did. I do know that God didn’t want it to happen. But when it did, He walked with her - helping her through it - when others chose wickedness . . .

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16: 33)

A few weeks ago, I sat listening to a young man tell me about his faith. We sat in my living room, surrounded by the decorations of Easter. As he looked around, he seemed to judge the decorations as wrong, as he stated: “well I believe that Easter isn’t about eggs and bunnies - but about church and faith”. I looked at the room, full of colored eggs and bunnies, as well as flowers and all sorts of signs of spring. And I wondered . . .

By loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days . . .
(Deuteronomy 30: 20)

As I sat with my young friend, I listened to him tell me about going to church every day during Holy Week. He then told me about all that he had done with his church, helping others and doing so many good things. He was so proud of all he had done - then we started to talk about his life . . . .

He had been married once before, and now was divorced. It had been a very difficult divorce, with a lot of anger and fighting. But now, he was in a new relationship, one that he felt was good. As I pushed him about the future, and what lay ahead, he seemed to get angry, as problems unfolded. His church had rules about divorce and remarriage. And he didn’t think they would give him an annulment. He was living with his new girlfriend, but didn’t seem to think that was against church rules. Finally, he looked at me and said: Tell me where it says I can’t do what I am doing . . .

By loving the Lord . . . And holding fast to Him . . . For this is your life . . .

Loving - holding fast - I wondered about this young man’s choices. Would he end up hurting his new love? What was in his heart? When he searched his soul - what did he see?

“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel: 16: 7)

When my good friend had written about people who chose to hurt others, about people who were mean - - - I found myself writing back to him about what I thought. I told him I was glad that I am not the one to judge another. None of us can see into another person’s heart. We can’t see the hurts and wounds - or why another makes the choices that they do. We can only look at our own hearts - and ask God - to help us . . .

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5)

This past week, a very great man died. He was Pope John Paul II. He had been born in a small town in Poland - where he learned about life and faith from his father. He grew up during a time when the Nazi’s became powerful and killed so many innocent lives. Wickedness was all around him. And yet, this man chose to follow his faith and continued learning about the Lord and his church, even when it was dangerous to do so. Karol Wojtyla had a faith and trust in God - and beliefs that he felt strongly about. They were beliefs about “choosing life” and standing for what you believed in. He worked to help Jews escape during WWII, and later fought against communism. As Pope, he traveled the world bringing a message of faith and unity, wherever he went. He crossed the boundaries of religion, as well as nationalities. This man walked out his faith every day, holding tightly to the hand of God. He believed that , “with God”, he could change the world; and he did! I believe this man loved God. Even though I am not Catholic, I saw such a strong faith, and know that God loved him and chose him to bring a message of God’s Love to all the world.

In looking at this one man, I know that each of us has choices before us. We can choose to live our lives in faith and love - holding on to the hand of God - - - or we can choose to walk in the hurt - and live hurting others and relying on ourselves . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity - to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live . . .”
(Deuteronomy 30: 19)

What is your choice? It is my hope that you will choose to ask God into your heart - holding fast to Him - so that you too will have Life! When you do, your life will change our world! The choices you make . . . Change lives - forever . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


Post a Comment

<< Home