My Hope/My Cross

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There’s nothing that makes you appreciate what you have more than when you’ve been in a season of lack.  Like the 3 years I spent in Haiti when I first moved there, we lived in a small town (much larger now), rented a four room house for 6 people with no electricity or running water. There was no indoor plumbing, only a two seater outhouse located just outside the back door. It was extremely inconvenient, especially when the whole family got dysentery. Trust me, all pride went out the door in a hurry when that urge hit you. No cold water to drink, no air conditioning, no fans, no turning on the faucet to fill a pan with water.  We hired ‘water boys’, young neighborhood boys who would carry buckets of water for 2 pennies each from the common faucet at the city market 1/4 mile down the street to fill our 55 gallon drum so we could do dishes and laundry by hand.  Every evening, we’d drive the van or walk to the spring which was located 1/2 mile away, bathe in our swim suits after dark and then go back home, climb into bed and try to go to sleep in unbearable heat.

I hope that makes you feel better about your current situation, whatever it is. I will tell you this, I seldom complain about what I go through because I realize that somewhere in the world, someone is far worse off than I am.  I’ve learned to be thankful! Our central air went out 2 years ago in the middle of summer but we had the money to buy a window unit that keeps the house around 78 in the summer, but best of all, keeps the humidity out. I’m thankful. Running the central air, our power bill was twice as much as it is right now so we’ve decided we’ll just keep it the way it is. We’re thankful.

Walt used to call me a hopeless optimist, but it’s merely a thankful heart. I choose to look at the bright side of things.  I talked with a homeless woman who looked like such a stately woman and asked her story. She had a great job as an executive in a local company when they downsized and she lost her job. When her money was gone and no one would hire her because she was older and over qualified, she lost everything she had and ended up homeless. Everyday she put on her best clothes and heels, walked to the bus stop and looked for work. She wasn’t a quitter, regardless of what had happened in her life, she didn’t allow it to redefine her into a ‘homeless’ person. She looked at where she was as a temporary setback.

How are you looking at your test, your trial? Are you so focused on the bad that you overlook the good in it? Are you setting up house in your current situation, trying to get comfortable cause you know you’ll be there the rest of your life or are you leaving your bags packed, watching and waiting, positioning yourself for promotion? Where you are today is not where you’ll be tomorrow. Keep your eyes open, your ears open, watching for opportunities to share the love of God. When this is over, you’ll probably face more trials. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but if you’re hungry for God and long to be used by Him, that transition and shifting will not always be uncomfortable but necessary to place you where He needs you to be.

Ephesians 6:10-13 ERV; To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Wear the full armor of God. Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.

“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back! No turning back!”

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