trouble

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world, you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33


(blooming quince / Julie Cook / 2018)

As sure as the sun rises every morning, we are each guaranteed, at some point or other,
an encounter with trouble.

Some trouble will be gut-wrenching.
Some trouble will be fleeting.
Some trouble will knock us down.
Some trouble will take us to our knees.
While other trouble will simply be bluesy and lowdown…
soulfully woeful, gritty and dirty.

We are told that yes, there will be trouble.
Not a question of if… but rather a matter of when…there will indeed be trouble.

We don’t know the type nor kind of our troubles, but we know
that troubles will eventually come.

The test of the matter will be how we decide to respond.

How we, if we, opt to get back up.

Hope is found in knowing that we have a Redeemer, a Savior who has overcome
each and every trouble that was, is or will ever be…
We overcome because He has already overcome…

So get behind us trouble…

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:4-5

little flower

“He does not come down from Heaven each day to stay in the gold ciborium.
He comes down to find another Heaven He cherishes infinitely more than the
first, the Heaven of our souls, made in His image,
living temples of the Most Blessed Trinity!”

St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 31
Meditations with the Little Flower


(the blooming quince, a sign Spring is nigh / Julie Cook / 2018

“If a little flower could speak,
it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it,
without hiding any of its gifts.
It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty,
or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,
or the storm bruised its stem,
if it knew that such were not the case.”

― Thérèse de Lisieux

passage of Providence

dscn4787
(the quince are about a month early / Julie Cook / 2017)

“In a clock, stop but one wheel and you stop every wheel,
because they are dependent upon one other.
So when God has ordered a thing for the present to be thus and thus,
how do you know how many things depend upon this thing?
God may have some work to do twenty years hence that depends on this passage of providence
that falls out this day or this week.”

Jeremiah Burroughs

Costly Justification

“It is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

RSCN2711
(flowering quince / Julie Cook / 2016)

‘It is costly, because it costs people their lives; it is grace, because it thereby makes them live. It is costly, because it condemns sin; it is grace, because it justifies the sinner. Above all, grace is costly, because it was costly to God, because it costs God the life of God’s Son—“you were bought with a price”(1 Cor 6:20) and because nothing can be cheap to us which is costly to God. Above all, it is grace because the life of God’s Son was not too costly for God to give in order to make us live. God did indeed, give him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship Vol 4 pp 45

We have honed our craft both you and I….
As we have become that which we justify…

For within each justification lies…
the crime,
the hating,
the sentence,
the lying,
the hurting,
the bombing,
the cheating,
the policy,
the stealing,
the taking,
the death,
and even the murder…

Echoed are the causal observations…
“Twas a crime of passion”
“It was a justifiable homicide”
“It was taken in order that they could eat”
“It was hidden for their own good…”
“It was stolen in order to pay…”

There are…
The interestingly tragic assisted suicides…
The abortions due to untimely pregnancies…
The surreal justifiable shootings…
The acceptable culture of death…
The wars to end all wars…
The nuclear deterrents….

Every human act can be justified into being correct…

It was…
the right decision…
a necessary evil…
the only option…

How quickly it rolls off the tongue, as it slips easily from consciousness.
There is no remorse, no guilt, no real sorrow…
because it was something that had to be…

The justification of and for every action and reaction of mankind…

And yet how does one justify the free offering of ones only child…
In order that others may live…

One word….

Grace….

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—-not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

footnote

Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure unfinished masterpiece.
Vladimir Nabokov

DSCN2632
(the quince are in bloom / Julie Cook / 2016)

A footnote…
an afterthought,
a lesser thought,
an added thought,
another thought,
an annotation,
an aside,
a reference,
insignificant,
not as important,
less than,
in addition to….

That is what the link below represents.
A mere blip on the radar to a previous story.
A footnote, a follow-up, a recap…

The lead-up stories blanketed the various news agencies last week…
Both liberal and conservatives bastions of all things newsy…each covered the story.
Not, mind you, the televised nightly news, but the cyber newsies had it covered.

Would they or wouldn’t they…?
That was the big question…the lone elephant in the room…
What would it take…?
How best could it be presented…?
What would they say…?
How would the acknowledgement, by the most powerful nation in the world,
play out with the current horrendous level of persecution?

The announcement was to come Thursday.
Yet here it is now Sunday…and nary a word has been seen nor heard…
There has been no real reporting of the results…
That is…until late this afternoon…

It was during a quick tour of the various cyber news sites, scanning the top stories of the day…
The he said, they said, she said, no they didn’t say stories…
And there it is was…
Off to the side on one of the more “conservative,
or controversial sites depending on your point of view…
in a column reserved for annoying advertisements and the stories of the bizarre…

The White House refuses to acknowledge that the systematic torture and killing of the Christians in Syria is genocide….

Yet how odd it is that the White House now happily recognizes and “approves” of Iran and its continuing development of nuclear weaponry…
plus is now readily paying out 1.7 billion dollars to Iran for “debt and interest”….

What’s wrong with this picture…?

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4799285801001/white-house-refuses-to-acknowledge-genocide-of-christians/?intcmp=hpvid1#sp=show-clips

Waiting

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

Wait on the Lord” is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”
― J.I. Packer

DSC00759
(a few rain kissed quince buds waiting to bloom / Julie Cook / 2015

We are a waiting people are we not?
It seems, since the beginning of time,
We, humankind, have waited.

We wait for birth
And we wait for death
Living, falls someplace in between

The Israelites waited and wandered,
Wandered and waited for years. . .
As it seems they continue waiting. . .

We Christians wait. . .
We wait for answered prayers,
We wait for signs,
We wait for good,
We wait for justice,
We wait for peace
We wait for the final judgement

Society waits. . .
It too waits for justice
For peace,
For answers
For change,
For better, never worse
For instant
For perfect

I wait. . .
I wait for the happiness of those I love
I wait for a closer peace
I wait for answers
I wait for direction
I wait for truth
I wait for righteousness
I wait for healing

Waiting
Through the yearning
Through the tears
Through the frustrations
Through the anger
Through the impatience

Tempering the anguish
Trying not to dwell
Not to obsess
Fighting the whys
the why nots

I cry out in the silence
How much longer oh Lord?
Can’t you see?
Do you not know?
Why don’t you do something?!
NOW!
Do you not care?
How can you let him hurt?
Please
Hear me
Do you hear me?
Please

“Wait”
is the single reply. . .


Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalms 27:14

Battered yet undeterred

“Out of defeat can come the best in human nature. As Christians face storms of adversity, they may rise with more beauty. They are like trees that grow on mountain ridges — battered by winds, yet trees in which we find the strongest wood.”
Billy Graham

How nice to meet someone so undeterred by things like. . .reality.
The Lorax

DSC00689
(the first post freezing quince bloom–looking worse from winter’s wear / Julie Cook / 2015)

The Psalmist cries. . .
“Hear me oh Lord. . .”

Cries of anguish, pain, sorrow, emptiness, suffering. . .

The Psalmist also speaks of joy. . .
Joy is longed for and joy is infectious. . .
Praise and alleluias are easily multiplied. . .
Everyone wants in on happy, joy, uplifting, good, glad. . .

It is, however, to the other. . .
to those deep groanings of the suffering soul and spirit. . .
the laminations, the cries, the wailing, the tears, the sorrow. . .
of which, alone we will all eventually find ourselves.

It is a dry place of solitude, oneness, singleness and loneliness
It is a place that is gritty, dirty, uncomfortable
It is the furnace ready to refine. . .

Yet this place of isolation,
this place of misery,
this deeply troubling place of peril
and of anguished sorrow. . .
is also the place in which character is forged.
It is the place where the knowledge of self is realized–
for good or for bad. . .

Crisis crashes down upon crisis
Weary roads traversed
stop and go, stop and go
wills are battered
hearts are bruised
bodies fail
sewage spills forth in a torrent of rage
as money flees through the broken glass

Personalities clash,
while the like minded work in tandem
Step by step, one foot forward
Sinister lurks in the shadow, composing its agenda
Controlling, one way, the only way
Demanding will not yield its way
Selfish will not have the last word

Having been hit broadside. . .
Blindsided by mayhem, confusion and hatefulness
Caught in a place of no control and no return
Nearly broken, battered, hurting. . .
yet decidedly undeterred. . .

A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.

Psalm 37:10-15

DSC00692