Category Archives: Life

Lord, I believe but…

IMG_1955Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief! Perhaps the most honest words ever uttered.

I want to believe completely. I want to be certain. But certain would mean that I have absolutely no doubt. None at all. Nada. But the truth is, I do have doubt — at least a little doubt — daily.

I mean, what can we really know for sure these days? Even when there’s overwhelming evidence — eye witnesses, testimonials, on-the scene reporting, and confirmation by multiple sources — someone will inject a tidbit of information (is it dis-information?) which calls it all into question. Suddenly, I’m beating back the doubt that creeps in under the door I slammed shut and thought I had securely sealed.

How do I know who to trust or what to believe? I ask myself because, after all, this is really a personal matter. That’s when a voice from long ago rings in my ears. Mom prepared me for moments like these. When I found something hard to believe or when words directed at me felt hurtful, rude or unkind, she’d say, “Consider the source.”

Consider the source. From whom do the words come? What do their actions tell you about what they say? Mom didn’t tell me who to doubt or who to believe. She offered me a gift of much more value: she taught me to how to perform the trust test. Got doubts? Consider, not just what they say, but what they do, which shows you who they really are. Don’t just take them at face value.

Now God I could take at face value, but as I have not seen God face to face, and since God told Moses “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live,” (Exodus 33:20) I’m thinking life is going to have some doubtables. I am expecting there will be plenty of opportunities for my very human self to consider the source and still be left with uncertainty. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!

Can I hold on to belief AND doubt and still live?! I mean, holding two apparently contradictory things together without resolution is exhausting! The more you bring them together, the more they repel one another. Here, take Matter and Anti-Matter and see if you can get them to talk things out.

Some days, belief and doubt feel very much like matter and anti-matter. I can’t even bring them into shouting distance without risking blowing myself up. How can I possibly hold onto two completely competing realities and live?

Yet, sometimes the hardest questions have the simplest answers.

Wayne, a man of deep and abiding faith in God, showed me this as he shared the story of his last moments with Jane, his beloved wife of fifty-one years. * She had nearly reached the end of her brave battle with cancer, and, knowing that time was short, Wayne sat by her bedside reading silently from  Acts Chapter 2 . “Just as I looked up, Jane passed from this life.” he said. “In that moment, I felt both the deepest sadness and the greatest joy.”

The  deepest sadness and the greatest joy, I thought. What could be more opposite; yet, what could be more true?  Two competing emotions in the same place, at the same time. No overlap. No dilution. Full force. Mighty power.

 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ~ Acts 2:17-21 

What a mighty wind of hope even in the deepest despair. Sadness and Joy, Heaven and Earth… Somehow, belief builds a bridge.

So, as I dive deep into my days where conflicting opinions, different understandings, and sometimes even belief and doubt both compete for my allegiance, I am buoyed by the story of this couple, the faith they shared, and the moment that will linger between them until they meet again.


they meet again. God knows that this tiny little “if “occasionally arises in my very human mind because I don’t understand how two people can be reunited in heaven after both have become the dust of the ground. So, I’m left to consider the source.

Who could have scripted a moment like this? Who could have invoked such words? such thoughts? such emotions? Where has humanity witnessed such a moment? a moment where Great Joy met Deep Sadness and turned tears of despair into shouts of joy?

Could it be that such a source is doing it still?

Every time I admit my doubt to God, He injects a tiny glimmer of consider this that I could never have imagined and thus invites belief to take its proper place again. God doesn’t expect us to be doubtless, just faithful.

*Wayne has kindly and generously offered his permission to share his story here.


What if our lives came with an owner’s manual?

IMG_8856If automobiles come with an owner’s manual, surely there must be one for me. No responsible manufacturer would slap a human together without an owner’s manual. Let’s see. Here’s what’s listed in the Quick Reference for my Ford Escape.

Instrument panel/vehicle display … For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. ~ I Corinthians 13:12

Steering … While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” ~ Matthew 17:5

Navigation Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, ~ Jeremiah 11:4

Sync with my cellular … But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:6.  

Remote Key entry/ AKA “intelligent access” … But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, ~ John 1:12

Windshield Wipers … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”~ Revelation 21:4

Spare tire and tools … In this life you will have trouble I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” ~ John 16:33

“Comfort settings” … Comfort my people, Israel Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. ~ Isaiah 40:1

Fuel/Refueling/Transmission … God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. ~ Gen 1:29

Temperature/climate control … Do not let the sun set on your anger. ~ Eph 4:26

Lighting/Interior Lights/High Beams … I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, the eyes of your heart so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints. ~ Ephesians 1:17-18

Safety restraints … Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Brakes/ Traction control …  I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. ~ Psalm 16:8

Towing/Carrying a load … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:30

Roadside Emergencies … Call to me and I will answer you. ~ Jeremiah 33:3

Vehicle care and maintenance … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31

Extended Warranties Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5

Cruise control … I can’t find this one in the manual. Perhaps the manufacturer intended for me to keep my eyes on the road and my mind alert for break lights ahead, lane closures or construction zones.  “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. ~ Matthew 16:24

Ironic, isn’t it, that after a basic driver’s ed course and a few hours behind the wheel, we just step on the gas and learn how to break in order to take the curves without crashing.

What if we read The Manual?

Poetic Justice … you can take it with you

Journalism reports yesterday’s news.
Like the weather,
it needs no re-cap.
No sense keeping that around.

Fiction tells a good story.
Entertaining, but unless
those characters make a home with us,
one and done.


Poetry bears telling and re-telling,
reading and re-reading.
Poems speak newness,
reading into us, as we are new.
The one we are (the me who reads)
is new, with each reading.

peotry words

Yesterday’s poem
holds no sway over today’s me.
Perhaps, a look and see
at how it affected me.
How I landed there. then.

But today lifts off into a new wind,
under new weather conditions.
Today the poem is a completely new flight.
New flight plan, same pilot.

There is no quenching living words,
they continue to speak:
to draw the heart out
to fill the soul up
to still, no activate, no ignite, no…
distill … can’t make up my own mind,
must let it make itself.

These are powerful words that propel me:
to places I’d never go otherwise,
with people I’d never meet otherwise,
that I came to the poem,
and it met me there
but didn’t leave me there,
didn’t leave me at all.
It stayed.

What is a poet
but one who lives a life that speaks?
Your life speaks.
It’s poetry
as you write it —
see how it changes you,
as you write
and they,
as they read.

Write that.

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