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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in Wait on God (32)


hold fast

In the glorious 80s, I had an XXL white t-shirt with the words “CHOOSE LIFE” in bold pink covering the entire front. This phrase impacted me then as a wee Christian and now in my forties, it comes home to roost. 

Moses uttered these words to the Israelites in Moab at the end of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as they are poised on the threshold of the Promised Land. It is called the Deuteronomic covenant or so Google tells me. And so for thousands of years, these words have been a sign post even to valley girls in the 1980s.

The passage says, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His Voice and hold fast to Him.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I wonder how many times a day God sets before me life and death, blessings and curses. I cannot think of anything I want more than to love Him and listen to His Voice and to hold fast to Him. I want to live. I want my children to live. 

The word for hold fast is one Hebrew word - qbd or dabaq. It means to cleave. It’s the “cleave” of the old leave and cleave verse in Genesis 2:24. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” It means to cling to, stick to, stick with , follow closely, catch, keep close to, join to. 

The joining up in this case refers to the way our body parts are joined. It’s not just two things stuck together like I had thought. It is more like the way my arm is joined to my shoulder. 

Today I needed to be reminded to cling, to cleave, to hold on.

Hold. Fast. To Him. 


interrupt me

Lately I have been struck by the way God enters our world and interrupts life.

Going about our daily tasks especially when routines are not in play like summertime, it's easy to forget God orchestrates our steps.

Some areas of my life are perplexing. I examine them and think this is not the way I thought things would turn out. I'm learning to let go of what I had planned even sometimes what I had hoped in order to grasp what God wants.

So much is packed into those words. Easy to write, hard to live.

The truth is that I am promised nothing on this earth save this moment and God's availability to me in it. And that is everything that I need. My flesh pulls me different directions and says I "need" this or that. But all I really need is God's Spirit in the here and now.

A million times a day I look anxiously about to either the past or future. When I do that, I lose my peace. My access to that peace is in this moment and I trust that He is enough.

Today, like almost every day, as soon as Sam woke up, he joined me on the patio. He asked me, "Do I have swim practice today? Do I have tutoring? Do we have church?" I picked up my phone and showed him the iCal. Two very important words were at the bottom of the screen. "NO EVENTS."

We both took a deep breath and laughed. How will we see God in a day like today? Chip Dodd says that mystery is walking in faith that God is big enough to be in control, and that God doesn't require our help to get the job done.

I can't wait to find out how mystery and "no events" play out in today.


my keeper

A week ago Matt trimmed our bushes in the front yard under a blue sky. As he worked on a tall holly, he discovered a bird’s nest. Quickly he got away from it in hopes the mother would not smell human. Mother birds will abandon a nest if she thinks there is danger.  As he showed us the nest from a distance, we realized that one of the baby birds had fallen out of the nest. The scrawny, featherless bird hung upside down snagged on a limb. His beak moved open and shut as if to cry for help.

Matt tried using a rake to “catch” the bird and push him up to the nest. We finally left him there hoping the mother would return and pick up the bird with her beak and put him back in the nest. 

Today we realized the abandoned dead bird was still hanging there in the holly bush. His brothers and sisters chirped in the nest right beside him awaiting their next meal. 

It’s really a horrifying picture of this dog-eat-dog world. Is there a more dreadful picture of frayed humanity (avianity) than a mother abandoning her child/ren?

If I’m honest, this speaks to a core fear I have of God. Often in the midst of confusion, trials or hardship, I wonder where He is. Has He abandoned me? Will He? When will He?

And yet we have these promises in His Word. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, ‘I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.’”

It’s interesting to juxtapose this promise with the warning. Don’t be obsessed in getting more things, He says. Because when we are afraid, we grasp and grab and search about for guarantees. 

And so in the dark, as I honestly confess my fear, I reach for His hand. And it is there.


tomb: 40 words in 40 days

Holy Saturday is a day of quiet between the death of Jesus and His Resurrection. 

Friday the women waited outside the tomb. Joseph of Armithea had taken Jesus’ body from Pilate and laid Him in his own tomb. Saturday everyone went home to rest on the Sabbath “in obedience to the commandment.” Luke 23:56. For Jews then, the Sabbath was on Saturday.

Rest. Sit and wait. Obey without an indication of what comes next. These are the facets of Holy Saturday. These are the components of living in the now but not yet. 

Perhaps Holy Saturday is a paradigm of sorts to living in this age. Jesus is not in the grave. He is seated at the Father’s right hand. And yet we live in brokenness. Our bodies are racked by disease and and the long haul of aging. Our relationships do not bear the image of the glorified Christ. Our families often lie in ruins.

And yet Christ is at work in our bodies, in our lives, in our families, in our relationships. 

Holy Saturday is the day that Christ descended into hell. Hades and hell tremble on Holy Saturday. And today Christ is at work in the hell of our lives freeing captives, conquering death, opening blind eyes. 

It often seems like we are sitting at the tomb. We are assured of life and victory. Yet we look in and see darkness. We must believe that although we cannot see nor understand what is happening; we know the One who orchestrates our lives. 

To sit by the tomb on Holy Saturday is to wait on God to work and to believe that He will. In His time. In His way. We wait. We are present by the tomb.


darkness: 40 words in 40 days

Clouds roll in over Mt Vernon (home of George Washington). We toured there Tuesday.

Today is Good Friday - the day Jesus hung on a cross and died.

Recently, Lloyd Shadrach preached on this day. It has not left me since. God, he said, is present in our darkest moments.

As I reflected on this truth, it hit me that healing comes when we find resolution in this fact. He did not stop nor prevent my darkest moment. He orchestrated it. And He transcends it.

My first response to this truth has not always been comfort. I've experienced some anger and breathed hard questions. Like why? Exhale. And what now? Exhale.

My arrogance pales in the shadow of the cross when God poured His wrath out on His Own Son.

Lloyd said, there has never been a darker moment than the death of Jesus. Hope died. Perhaps loss is God's way of weening us of false hope.

I have no other hope than Jesus. He is not in the grave. He is alive.

Today I remember the darkest moment when the earth convulsed and the curtain was rent in two. Sin can no longer separate me from my God. The blood has won. Light has come.