Monday, April 23, 2012


I have always been a planner. I remember planning my life when I was 5. All the plans I made were those I thought, in my 5 year old brain, would bring me happiness. I was going to be the First Lady (because that was as close to a queen you could get in America!). I was going to have 2 kids; a boy first so he could protect his younger sister. Those were my plans. Not a lot of detail but enough to send my imagination soaring on summer afternoons.

God makes plans for us too. In Jeremiah 29: 10-12 God lays out the plans he has for the children  of Israel. He says; “10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

These promises were given to people about to lose everything. Their country, the promised land, the temple, everything because of their rebellion and disobedience.  Yet God was giving them a promise. He was giving a promise for generations to come. For those who would be born during the exile. He was reminding  them of the promise that he would fulfill.

The Character of God never changes and his plans for us never change. But the interesting  thing about God’s plans is that he never says that they are to make us happy. God is much more concerned with our holiness than he is with our happiness. This truth is the reason God allows us to suffer and go through hard times.

God allows us to suffer financial ruin, relationship strain, illness, and the death of loved ones all so that we will run straight into his arms and allow his strength to carry us through. His plans are for character building, relationship building, trust  building and our utter reliance on Him.

God is more concerned with our character than he is our comfort. His plans for us always include those lessons that will shape us into who we need to be for eternity. God’s focus is eternity. He isn’t worried about what is temporal.

Over the last year I have watched God’s plans in my life.  What I had planned for my happiness, he stripped away and revealed His plans for my character and my holiness. These included stripping away relationships. Removing the mask which I had become so accustomed to but which was slowly suffocating me. Taking away the security I held so dear to teach me whom I should be relying on. And finally, reminding me that it is only through His grace and mercy I call him Father. In the last year I have learned what it is to be completely broken before God. And I have watched as he chipped away the plans I held onto for so long.

I have decided to rest in the fact the God knows the plans he has for me. They  are plans for hope and a future. They are plans for a new prayer on my lips. They are plans for holiness and character for eternity. These are not what I planned when I was 5 but they have always been His plans.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Have Seen The Lord!

Daybreak was still a few hours away. She woke, if you can call the restless hours she had laid upon her bed sleep, dressed and prepared her small satchel. The oils, spices and cleaned strips of burial clothes packed securely. A light tap on her door brought her companion. She picked up the bag and opened the door. The morning air brought a hint of the warmth of day.

They spoke few words as they headed to their task. The sadness that cloaked their hearts seeped out into their words. Their task was not one they looked forward to. As they traveled and spoke they remembered the stone. How would they move it? It was so large. Perhaps someone would be there to help.

The first rays of sunlight had just broken the horizon when the earthquake stopped them in their tracks. The second one in 3 days. Terror seized their hearts. But they had an important task. They wouldn’t be stopped by an earthquake. As they approached the garden the scent of the early spring flowers reached them. The garden was beautiful.

The tomb stood open. The large stone moved. She stopped, then lifting her skirts ran as fast as she could, tears streaming down her face. She reached the upper room and flung opened the door. “Peter!” “John!” “He’s gone! They have taken him! He’s Gone!”

Watching the men run from the room she paused to catch her breath but soon found herself running back to the tomb. She arrives as they are leaving. Their disbelief replaced by resignation. Too consumed in conversation they don't see her return.

Walking up to the tomb she bent to look in. A blinding light flooded the darkness. Blinking at the light her eyes begin to focus, not on the strips lying on the shelf, but on the two men seated. Their voices full of compassion they asked, ”Woman, why  are you crying?” Didn’t they know? Who were they? Where had they come from?

“They have taken my Lord!, And I don’t know where they have put him.” With these words out she began to sob. The weight of sad from the last few days crushing her. Covering her face with her hands she turns to leave.

“Woman, why are your crying?” The voice sounded so familiar. “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Sobs coming harder now. She is doubled over as the sobs rack her body. “Please,  just tell me where he is.”

“Mary.” A single word. Her name. Spoken by the one who had saved her. She had heard it when he had cast out the demons. Heard it when she served meals to the twelve. She thought she would never hear it again and yet she just had. He had spoken her name! Her hands flew off her eyes and she gazed at him.

“Teacher!” She rushed to him, Fell at his feet reached to touch him. “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

Her sorrow replaced by sheer joy and happiness. She had seen him. The excitement bubbled up out of her! For the second time that morning she lifted her skirts and ran to the upper room. Bursting into the room she exclaimed, “I have seen the Lord!” I have seen the Lord!”

Mary could not contain herself. She told everything that had happened to her.

I have seen the Lord and my life is not the same. I have seen the Lord.

I pray that this Easter you will take the opportunity to See the Lord and, like Mary, once you have seen him you will be unable to contain your excitement.