31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 15

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 12th
“Every Little Thing Is Going to Be Okay”

Ruth 1:16b (NLT)“Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

Yesterday’s post in response to the reading selection for December 11th in Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift, talked about God coming for Rahab the prostitute.  Later in Scripture we find out that Rahab marries a man from the tribe of Judah named Salmon, a leader of the tribe.  To me one of the interesting things about Rahab and Salmon is their son, Boaz.

In the story of Ruth, Boaz becomes Ruth’s redeemer and husband.  This son of a former Jericho-ite and prostitute has mercy on a Moabite woman and saves her from a life of poverty, loneliness, abuse, slavery and even potentially death in a land of strangers.  Rahab the former prostitute became the mother-in-law of Ruth, the Moabitess.

And in that one act of mercy and love, the Sovereign God of all creation beckoned a daughter, an alien and a stranger, into His own family.  Love welcomed her in, enveloped her and transformed the life of this young widow.  She left behind a past of despair and death and entered the genealogy of the Redeemer who was still to come.

The genealogy of Jesus Christ was no accident.  The people, men and women, in his lineage were all humans (in every sense of the word) chosen at their specific points in time to carry forth the seed of the Christ, the coming Messiah.  And in every generation, in every life, in every moment God was proclaiming, “Jesus is Coming, Jesus is Coming!”

Can you hear it echoing in your heart even now?  He’s coming for you.  All of you – the good, the bad and the ugly.  In the middle of your own messy, painful Rahab or Ruth story, He sees, and He’s coming for you.  Absolutely nothing, not any person nor any circumstance, is beyond His reach.  Don’t give up, He’s still coming.

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 14

Foster Bible Pictures 0084-1 Rahab Helping the...

Foster Bible Pictures 0084-1 Rahab Helping the Two Israelite Spies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 11th
“A Scarlet Lifeline of Hope”

Joshua 2:1,18 (NLT)1Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, ‘Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.’ So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night. …18‘When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house.’”

I love the story of Rahab, for several reasons.  While Scripture tells us that Joshua sent the spies to scout things out before the Israelites came in and conquered Jericho, I think God had other motivations for sending them.  I realize I am going out on a limb here, but I think God sent those two spies so that Rahab the prostitute and all of her family would be saved from the total destruction that was coming their way.

God looked down and saw a woman in a hopeless situation and right in the middle of her circumstances He showed up to rescue her.  He had already announced His coming to her:

Joshua 2: 9 – 11 (NLT)[Rahab told the spies] “’I know the Lord has given you this land,’ she told them. ‘We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. 11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.’”

She heard Him declare who He was through His mighty acts and she believed.  She simply believed and it gave her the courage to ask for mercy.  With those simple acts of faith a prostitute and her family were saved.  And a prostitute married into the family of Judah and became part of the genealogy of the still coming King, Jesus.

Many teachers and Bible scholars work hard to explain that either Rahab wasn’t really a prostitute or the Rahab listed in Jesus’ genealogy is not the same one as the prostitute in Joshua.  The idea of a prostitute, a dirty, unholy woman being in the lineage of Christ seems incomprehensible to some.

Why do we have to make things fit into our clean, nice, neat boxes marked “Christian” for us to believe they are God?  Life is hard.  People are messy.  Relationships often don’t make sense.  We are broken, some of us are just better at hiding it than others.

We are all the liar, cheater, and prostitute who needs Jesus.  Not only do we need Him, He wants us.  He desires relationship with us.  In fact, He’s died for it.

Do you hear Love calling your name and declaring Himself for you?  Announcing His coming for your heart, right this very minute?  Love is coming, believe it!

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 13

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 10th
“Covenant of Love”

Deuteronomy 5:29 (NASB)[The Lord said,] “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”

Page 89 of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp writes, “The Ten Commandments are more than God saying, ‘Here is My Law for you’ –they are God saying, ‘Here is My love for you.’”

Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, has some interesting things to say about the Old Testament Law that give us perspective from this side of the Cross.  To boil it down, the Law was very good at pointing out that God’s people could not keep the standard (it was right there pointing the finger every time they made a mistake), but it was powerless to help them actually keep it.  In fact, in Romans it says that the Law provokes sin.  In other words, when I hear “Don’t” on some level I immediately want to “Do”.

Paul goes on to tell us that the problem wasn’t with the Law, it was in us.  With our old, pre-Christ, dead-to-God spirits, there was nothing available to us to help us keep God’s standards.  All we could ever do was try…and fail.

However, Believers, with our new, Christ in us, alive-to-God spirits, we have everything we need pertaining to life and godliness.  God has given us new hearts and has even written His Law ON our hearts.  Christ in us empowers us to live as children of the living God.  God has taken up residence in us to do what we never could apart from Him.

Prior to the crucifixion of Christ, God’s people had an external righteousness that depended on what they did.  Believers in Christ have the righteousness of Christ, not based on what we do, but who we are.

So why the Law?  If Christ in us the hope of glory is what God desired all along, why were there 2000 years of Law?  Why all the frustration of never being able to 100% measure up and meet the standard?

Because just like in the Garden it’s about God pursuing a relationship with mankind.  It’s a Love story and you can’t just skip to the end.  Just like us, He wants to be chosen.  Two thousand years of Law created a lot of longing and desire in mankind’s heart for not just a remedy, but a Savior and a relationship.  He wanted us to know for certain that apart from Him we could do nothing.

On page 92 Ann continues, “God gives the commandments to us—and God gives God to keep the commandments for us.  God gives us the love at the top of Sinai, and He staggeringly keeps our commitment to love at the top of Calvary.”

He’s been pursuing us, His beloved, since the beginning and even the Law proclaimed Advent.

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 12

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 9th
“Never Undone”

Genesis 50:20 (NLT)“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

The words above were spoken by Joseph to his brothers toward the end of his story.  At the point where he could look back over his life and see how a beautiful tapestry had been woven out of a  lot of really ugly thread.

Where are you in your story right now?  Are you in a place others intend for harm?  Are you hated, persecuted, and misunderstood by those closest to you?  Are you misrepresented by others?  Has the presence of God in your life caused your own pride to swell?  Are you in bondage in some way, not free to move about on your own?  Have you been falsely accused?  Are you far from home, alone in a place where you don’t know the customs and don’t even speak the language?  Do you have a dream deep in your heart that’s buried under lots of rejection, confusion, fear and doubt?  Do you have a sense that there’s more to your story, but you feel so far removed from the main plot that it hurts too much to think about?

At one time or another we’ve all been able to identify with one of these situations, if not all of them.  That’s why I love the story of Joseph, it’s so RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE.  Ultimately, Joseph delivered his entire family and preserved the clan that was going to spend about 400 years in slavery while they became a nation of people.  A nation of people God has used to demonstrate His Love to the world.

A nation of people who would welcome their Messiah and hail their God in the Flesh King…oh wait…that’s not how the story goes.  The delivered nation didn’t welcome their Deliverer.  The saved didn’t welcome their Savior.  Instead they become the haters, the persecutors and the misrepresenters.  They falsely accused and even followed through on their murderous plot –even Joseph’s brothers, or at least one of them, drew the line at murder.

But when it looked its darkest and the slain body of the Word made flesh was sealed in the tomb, the stone was rolled away and Salvation emerged – it came for all the haters, persecutors, misrepresenters, liars, and murderers – for me.

When things looked their worst, Love conquered sin and all things worked together for good.

Right now, wherever you are in your journey, all of it, every single bit, God intends for good, for you and others.

Can you trust Him?  Will you stop grasping for control and demanding rights?  Can you say, “Amen” and extend your arms to receive Love?

He intended it from the beginning.  He saw all of your days before there was one of them and He’s been coming for your heart in every single one – even in the hard and the ugly ones.  Every moment is Advent.

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 11

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 8th
“The Stairway of God”

Genesis 28:16 (NLT)“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”

Just before the verse above Jacob had the famous dream often referred to as Jacob’s Ladder.  On page 68 of The Greatest Gift, Ann writes, “Sometimes you’re just the most tired of trying to be strong.  You have these Jacob dreams, and you dream of what might be.  And this is the dream that comes true—that makes all the stressed things come untrue:  the real amazing dream is there are no ladders to climb up, because Christ came down one to get you.”

So much of life seems to be about making something of ourselves, making a name for ourselves, staking our claim, leaving our mark.  Right before this passage in Genesis 28 Jacob had made a bold move in making a name for himself.  He had deceived his own father into giving him a blessing that belonged to his older brother.  Earlier in Genesis he had talked his older brother into giving him his birthright (that’s Bible speak for the lion’s share of his father’s estate) in exchange for a bowl of beans.  Not that everyone else in this little drama was completely innocent: his mother had instigated the trickery of his father and his brother could’ve made his own bowl of beans instead of giving in to Jacob’s extortion.  Can anyone say, “Codependency?”

But still, as Jacob was on the run from his brother’s anger he lay his head on that rock, slept and God extended Himself to Jacob in that dream.  God came to him.  Why?

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Why would God honor a liar, a deceiver with His very own presence?  Because that’s who needs a Savior.  Because that’s the Savior I need.Right there in the beginning God demonstrated His desire to rescue all the liars, deceivers, sick, broken, the self-righteous and self-made sinners because our way NEVER works.  Jacob could never have built a ladder to heaven (remember the Tower of Babel?), he could never make himself righteous enough for God no matter how many birthrights he stole, no matter how hard he pretended to be the first-born son.

I could never make myself righteous enough and all of my pretense of being the good first-born never fooled Him.  Just like Jacob, even when I didn’t know I needed one and when I deserved it the least, He extended Himself to me and to you.

But The Ladder He extended to us wasn’t a dream.  He is reality: The Way, The Truth and The Life.  We can stop making a name, we’ve been given one – Beloved.  We can REST in who we are and not rely on what we do.

He’s been coming for us from the beginning.  Every moment is holy.  Every day is Advent.

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 10

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 7th
“God Provides”

Genesis 22: 9 – 14 (NLT)  – “When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.  At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Yes,’ Abraham replied. ‘Here I am!’ ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ the angel said. ‘Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.’ Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.  Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’”

Yes, God provides.  He always provides just what we need, exactly when we need it.  And right in that moment on Mount Moriah God provided the Photo Credit: Sophie Poperam that Abraham and Isaac needed.  One of the things I find so striking about this scene is that it doesn’t appear that Abraham is busy telling God what he needs.  He is faithfully walking out what God has told him to do.  Period.

When I say Abraham is faithfully walking this out, let me be clear…Abraham is not desperately clinging to a predetermined outcome or expectation.  Long before God told Abraham to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:2), God had made him a promise that He would make him a great nation.  God later confirmed that Isaac was the one through whom that great nation would come, not Ishmael.

So on the way to Mount Moriah to follow the instructions to sacrifice Isaac it would have been really easy, and some would argue justifiable, for Abraham to remind God of His promises and demand that He provide a different sacrifice, and to argue a case for why it would not be right to sacrifice Isaac.

But Abraham wasn’t attached to the outcome on that mountain.  He was attached to His God, the One who is Love, and the relationship he had with Him.  Abraham didn’t demand that his son be saved because Abraham and his son were already saved by trusting God.  In fact, Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham knew God was able to raise Isaac from the dead.

When Messiah arrived on the earth as the Babe in the manger, most missed Him because they expected the Conquering King.  When God’s chosen people crucified their own Deliverer it was because He didn’t live up to their expectations.  Instead of clinging to their relationship with God and receiving Who He provided, they rejected Him.

In the Advent that is EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. are you willing to lay down your own expectations and outcomes, even if they seem good and right, and receive the Provision of Grace and trust the results to Love Himself?  Even if it comes wrapped as a Babe?  Even if it never looks like you’d hoped or expected?

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 9

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Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 6th
“Laugh!”

Genesis 21:6-7 (NLT)“And Sarah declared, ‘God has brought me laughter.  All who hear about this will laugh with me.  Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby?  I have given Abraham a son in his old age!’”

I love that Sarah laughed when Isaac finally arrived, when the long, dark wait for the promise was over and the gift had finally come.  It had been 25 years since the initial conversation when God had promised to make Abram a nation. Twenty-five years and a lot had transpired since: Abram had relocated with his wife and servants to a land of strangers; he had lied to a king; he had separated from his only other family, Lot; he had rescued Lot and defeated three kings in battle; he had met the mysterious Melchizedek; and he had tried to gain a son on his own terms, through Hagar; he had cut covenant with God, but it took 25 long, difficult years of waiting and believing for the Promise to arrive.

The Promise arrived and they named him Laughter.  Isaac was the big exhale of relief after a long, difficult wait.

Have you ever had that experience of being in a very tense, stressful, maybe painful, difficult situation and something happen and you just burst into raucous laughter?  It’s like a catharsis, a release, a restoring of the balance.

Twenty-one years ago my family and I had to walk through what for me was one of the most profoundly painful weeks of our lives.  Under a set of very tragic circumstances my sister died and we had a funeral the week before Thanksgiving.  I can’t describe to you the weight of grief, confusion and pain that engulfed us all.  It felt like all of life had stopped, we were trapped in suspended animation together, and none of us even knew how to take the next breath.  We just let others tell us what to do and we kept shuffling through the process of a funeral.

The morning of the actual funeral a very kind, older gentleman (probably well into his eighties) named Vance arrived in the limousine to take us to the funeral home.  Vance had requested to personally take care of my family because he knew my Mom.  I am not sure he usually drove the limousine (foreshadowing).  So eight of us piled into the car, my husband sat in the front seat and I sat in the middle with my parents and some other family members got in the back seat.  Three more family members got into a van to follow behind us.  And that’s where things got complicated.

As sweet Vance turned left out of my parents’ neighborhood onto an EXTREMELY busy four-lane road, he pulled into a lane of ONCOMING traffic and threw up his left hand in front of his face as if to say, “Stop” to the traffic barreling down at us.  He was trying to get traffic to stop and allow the other family vehicle behind us to pull out as well.  He was trying to maintain the procession.  In the South a procession for a funeral is almost mandatory…like waiting until Easter every year to wear white shoes and not wearing them one minute past Labor Day…processions for funerals are required.

As I saw what was happening all I could think was, “There’s going to be eight more funerals this weekend because we are all going to die right now!  At least we’ll all go together.”  No one else in the car seemed to move or flinch so I just held my breath, closed my eyes and prayed.  Once we were all safe again I just forgot about it.

That night as we all sat around pretending to eat dinner, we were really just moving food around on our plates, my husband said, “Did anyone notice anything when we pulled out of the neighborhood this morning?”  Then my Dad (who was born with the most wonderful smart aleck gene and a fabulous sense of comedic timing—I am very much like him) said, “Yeah, I thought we were all going to die or at the very least they were going to have to hose out the car because I’ve had diarrhea for three days!”  With that all the tension of the worst three days of our lives broke with laughter and the slow process of healing began.

On page 50 Ann says, “God brings the weary woman laughter.  Laughter is a gift—oxygenated grace.”  I know that a birth and a funeral are wildly different, but for everyone life is filled with hard things, even when they are good.  Birth is hard on a woman’s body in her twenties, I can’t imagine what it was like for 90-year-old Sarah.

God comes for us in the middle of the hard things, in the middle of life and death and gives us “oxygenated grace.”

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 8

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Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selections December 1st – 5th
Additional Reflections

At this point I’ve read through five days of Advent readings by Ann Voskamp in her latest book, “The Greatest Gift:  Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas.”  So far we have encountered Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abram, in some of the most profound, history-altering moments in Scripture.  I keep wondering about their perception of these moments as they moved through them.

I suspect that none of them understood the reverberation their life-altering moments would have throughout all of history when they actually walked through them.

Did Adam and Eve understand that when they ate the fruit, that every human after them, save One, partook of sin and death?   Did they understand the full extent of the curse until years of toiling with the earth and birthing babies had passed?  Did they know that one poor decision would result in separation from their eternal Love?  Did they even know there was life outside the Garden before they were put out of Eden?  Did either one of them wake up that day and think, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this day,”?

When God told Noah to build the ark, what was he doing?  And when he spent 120 years building the ark did he realize he was partnering with God to save a remnant of all of humanity? Did he even possess any carpentry skills?  Did he know that thousands of years later a special sign and promise God made to him would speak love and hope to every other person whose ever seen a rainbow?  Did he know millions of children (young and old) would smile with wonder every time they see the colors of Love displayed in the sky?

What was Abram doing when God came to him in the land of his fathers?  What about the day God made a covenant with him and he believed and was counted righteous?  I don’t know, but whatever he was doing, he probably did it almost every single day.  Did he wake up one of those mornings and think it was somehow special?

I think all of these extraordinary moments in Scripture people were right in the middle of the day-in, day-out, ordinary moments of their lives when God decided to show up.  Just like us they had jobs (so to speak), kids to raise, laundry that needed washing, homes (tents?) that needed keeping, and people that needed caring for.  And when those extraordinary moments arrived and passed, just like us, I am not sure they understood the full scope and importance of what had transpired.  In fact, I am almost certain they didn’t.  Why? Because most of the time we don’t either.

The extraordinary dressed in the ordinary.  God wrapped in humanity.  All of our moments are holy and extraordinary, because He comes for us, extends Himself to us in all of them.  Even when we think we are just folding the clothes, making dinner, or driving to and from work, He’s coming for us.  Can you feel it?

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 7

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The Greatest Gift
Reading Selections for December 5th
“Living by Faith”

Genesis 12:7 (NLT)“Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’  And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.”

Have you ever wondered why God chose to appear to Abram?  For that matter, have you ever wondered what was so great that the Creator of the universe chose to speak to, appear to, or even work through ANY of the people recorded in Scripture.  Let’s face it, there’s only one Perfect man who ever walked the earth and it wasn’t Adam, or Noah, or Abram.

All we really know about Abram before God appeared to him is that he must have been a descendant of Noah and he’s from an area of the world that over time has developed a reputation for being opposed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  That’s it.  Nothing distinctive.  Nothing special.  Nothing particularly godly.  He was just a man.

So why did God choose to appear to him?  Why did God promise to bless him and all the nations of the earth through him?  Why did God transcend the heavenlies and insert Himself into time and space to appear to just an ordinary man?

Because that’s the nature of unconditional Love, it truly has no conditions.  Which means it is wholly dependent on the person who loves, not the recipient of that love.  Abram did absolutely nothing to earn Love coming down in person, extending Himself to him and then choosing to bless him.

And we don’t either.  Christ comes to us in the middle of all of our humanity and if we will allow Him, joins with us and takes up residence in us.  And this was His plan from the beginning.

I love these Old Testament pictures of God extending Himself to man long before He literally did it through the Babe in a manger. The entire Bible is Advent – God coming for us.  What occurred to me as I was reading this passage in Genesis was that the Bible records history from a certain perspective.  It doesn’t record every single thing that’s ever happened since the beginning of time.  What about all the other ordinary people God came to, spoke to and blessed?  What about you and me?

31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 6

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The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 4th
“Rise”

Genesis 6:6-8 (NLT) So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.’ But Noah found favor with the Lord.”

Put yourself in Noah’s sandals for a moment.  Imagine living in a world where man has become so evil that God is sorry He created him (and her).  The Creator, the One who had created an entire world to express the essence of Himself, Love, was so sorry He had made man that He was willing to destroy them.  If the state of the world was heartbreaking for God, think how hard it must have been on Noah to live in the middle of it every single day.

But Noah found favor with God.  The Hebrew word for favor has in its root the idea of God bending, stooping in kindness, extending Himself to man.  God came down to Noah and extended Himself out of Love and compassion to Noah.

Do you know what the favor of God looked like to the human eye?  It looked a whole lot like Noah’s circumstances went from bad to worse.  When God flooded the earth with His grief over sin, Noah’s human frame was caught right there in the midst of it.  He had a front row seat for the destruction of humanity (except for the handful of family on the ark).  And while it rained for forty days and forty nights it appears from Scripture he was cocooned in that ark for a lot longer than that…maybe about a year.  Let me remind you, he was in that ark with a remnant of animals and a remnant of people (given evidence after the flood, the remnant of people didn’t seem to be of stellar character).  Five minutes after God closed the door on the ark I would’ve have been climbing the walls!

I don’t know about you, but if I had been in Noah’s position I might have really struggled with the idea of what it means to have the favor of God.  But that’s what happens when we judge eternity by our circumstances.  Life viewed from our position on this spinning globe does not afford us the correct position to judge our circumstances as good or bad.

As bad as things looked, Noah couldn’t have been in a better position or safer hands, even though it literally looked like his world was falling apart with the rocking of that ark.  Day after day on that boat, with every rise and crest of a wave, he probably felt like he was coming unglued.  And if you’ve ever spent even a brief time in tight quarters with your family in a stressful situation, you know he wasn’t the only one coming unglued.

But having the favor of God, having God come stoop right down to his human level wasn’t about his circumstances.  It was about a relationship with the living God IN his circumstances.  It was experiencing a new level of trust and belief in the only sure and safe thing there is, the God who is Love.

On this side of the cross of Jesus Christ, we have the favor of God and we miss the point when we waste time judging the good and bad in our lives.  Right now in the middle of where you are, can you throw wide your arms, letting go of expectations and outcomes in a fallen world, and simply receive Love Himself?  Can you trust Him implicitly even if your circumstances never change or, like Noah, actually get worse?  Can you simply trust He’s coming for your heart in EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that comes your way?  He’s bending low, stooping down, bringing all of Himself to you right this very minute.