As a parent, I try to be fair and generous with my children, but just the same, there are times when I say "no" to their requests. And not just the kind of requests that are foolish, extravagant, or ultimately harmful -- sometimes I find myself saying "no" even when what they're asking of me is harmless or even potentially beneficial to them, just because I'm too tired or don't have the money or simply don't feel like it.

But God is not like that. Here's why... )

I say this for my own benefit more than anyone else's, because I've just had some disappointing news about something that means a great deal to me, and it's all too easy to ask why. But I know that this is not the end of the story, or the whole of it either. And since it wasn't very long ago that a similar disappointment turned into a triumph I could never have foreseen, I am choosing to wait and trust God in this matter, too.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

***

On a tangentially related note, I told [livejournal.com profile] jamesbow I would write a review of his new book Fathom Five, and I still intend to. But a new deadline has come up, and right now I don't have the time to give his story the careful attention it deserves. So, until I can compose a proper review, I'll just say that it's beautifully written, with emotional resonance and an intriguing, well-executed plot, and that you should go read it (and the previous book The Unwritten Girl, which I reviewed here, as well).

And now it is dinner time.
A friend sent this to me a few days ago. I don't think either of us had any idea how soon I would need it.

Lord, Bless My Enemies )

Amen.
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A lot of my online friends have been going through some really rough, horrible experiences recently. Some of you are struggling with depression, others with profound self-doubt and anxiety about the future, others with grief, still others with abandonment and betrayal... and then there are those who are experiencing physical pain as well, sometimes on top of one or more of the aforementioned emotional stresses.

I confess I'm not very good with knowing what to say to people who are hurting -- sometimes I'm not even a very good listener. I'm a bit like the stereotypical male in that I always want to fix things when people tell me about their problems, and if I can't do that I feel useless. But I know that's not the right approach when someone is right in the middle of a bad situation and needs a shoulder to cry on. By God's grace I hope to learn better how to just be there for my friends and listen to them sympathetically, without always feeling the need to offer advice (unless it's asked for -- and sometimes I know I'd be wiser to keep my mouth shut even then). I hope you'll bear with me when I mess up in this regard.

Right now, I just want to say to all of you how sorry I am that you're feeling this way, and that I'm making a list of your names and needs so I can pray specifically for each one of you. I know that many of you don't share my particular spiritual beliefs and convictions and so you might not find this of much comfort, but I believe that each and every one of you is a precious soul made in the image of God, and that no matter how worthless or rotten you may feel, you have infinite value in His sight.

I also believe God has a purpose in every one of your lives, even if neither you nor I knows what it is or can see the road ahead clearly just now. And most of all, I believe that God loved you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for you. You are not junk, you are not a waste of space, you are not worthless, even if other ignorant human beings may treat you that way.

I can say from my own experience that you are a tremendously intelligent, clever, articulate and talented group of people, with skills and gifts that I truly envy admire. I wish I could vid, icon, fic, write poetry, argue a point, or come up with witty remarks half as well as many of you can. I may not have commented on some of your creative or thoughtful posts, but rest assured they were seen and appreciated, and I'll try to be more responsive in future.

Heartfelt *hugs* to you all.
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