Do It Again, Lord! (Guest Post by Cynthia Hyle Bezek)

I am delighted to host Cynthia Hyle Bezek as today’s guest writer! Cynthia’s greatest passion and privilege is to help ordinary men and women connect with an extraordinary God through prayer. Leading people into satisfying, two-way, relational, personal conversation with God is the aim of whatever she does, whether as an author, editor, prayer leader, speaker, teacher, mentor, or prayer retreat leader. The following is reprinted with permission from Let’s Talk: Deepening Your Relationship with God Through Prayer.

Desert Sunrise I

Do It Again, Lord!

by Cynthia Hyle Bezek

Sometimes I get annoyed with Bible people. Like this morning. I was reading in Exodus and getting really excited about God. He parted the Red Sea for the Israelites—incredible to imagine! And then when the Egyptian army tried to follow, the waters crashed down on them and they all were destroyed. What an amazing rescue!

Is it any wonder the people rejoiced and worshiped? Moses led them in a song of praise to the Lord. And then his sister, Miriam, led all the women in a joyful dance before the Lord. As I read, the people’s joy nearly vibrated off the pages.

“I will sing to the Lord. He has won a glorious victory!”

“The Lord is my strength and my song. He is my Savior. This is my God, and I will praise him, I will honor him!”

“O Lord, who is like you? You are glorious because of your holiness and awe-inspiring because of your splendor. You perform miracles!”

“Lovingly, you will lead the people you have saved. Powerfully, you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The Lord will rule as king forever and ever!”

(excerpted from Exodus 15, God’s Word translation)

But a mere two verses later, I got pretty upset with the whole lot of them. For Pete’s sake, they act as if God had died! True, they’d traveled for three days in the desert without water. That’s a problem. But instead of asking God for help, they griped about Moses. Instead of trusting God to provide for them as He had done not even 72 hours earlier, they whined: “What are we supposed to drink?” (verse 24).

I paused from my Bible reading. “I cannot believe these people!” I said out loud.

Really? a Still Small Voice asked in reply.

I realized I’d been busted. The Holy Spirit was gently pointing out how much I have in common with the Israelites. Immediately I thought about a situation that I’m struggling with. It’s a genuine problem, no less real than the Israelite’s need for water. And I am utterly incapable of solving this problem. If I think about it very long—like more than about three seconds—I am very likely to gripe and whine, just like the Israelites did.

The irony is, like the Israelites, I have also experienced God’s deliverance in desperate situations. I can name at least three examples of God’s loving intervention, working things out in ways I never would have imagined, and never could have orchestrated on my own.

Still, I forget. The new crisis looms in front of me, and I forget the victory song I’d sung just a few days earlier. Or I doubt. Sure, God delivered me before, but who says He’ll do it again this time?

Either way, my responses are not pretty.

God, I don’t want to be like the Israelites, I told Him this morning. You have delivered me wonderfully before. You have walked through fires and floods with me on other occasions. You have never abandoned me. You have never failed me. I am sorry I forget. I am sorry I doubt. Please help me to remember Your deliverance. And please deliver me again.

It’s a full 15 hours later, and God has not answered my prayer yet. He has not led me to water as quickly as He did the Israelites in Exodus 15. I’m still waiting for His deliverance. But however long I have to wait, I want to do it with faith, not doubt. I want to hope in the Lord. I want to trust that He will help me—as He promises always to do when I call on Him. So that has been my prayer throughout today, and probably will be for days to come: Help me to remember, Lord—and please, please do it again!

Looking back

Photo credit (bottom photo): Susanne Nilsson via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo credit (top photo): TLV and more via Flickr Creative Commons

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Migraine Vision

Things look different when
a migraine is behind the eyes
drawing unconstricted blood pulses,
a pointillism of pain overlaying
everything.
It explodes the world
out of proportion
making sunlight a knife;
music, a hammer;
warmth, a tightening vise.
But it always keeps
this one cry
in sharp, accurate focus,
pulsing:
God
help me
God
help me
God
help me

The Mercy of Horizon

What a mercy to have a horizon—
that faraway line reminding me
while my head is in the clouds
that earth and soil are under my feet
and everything is not sky. The horizon

is horizontal only because of my
smallness. In fact, it is a curve beyond which
my hands cannot reach, my eyes cannot see.
It is a great circle inscribed where the heavens
and the two-dimentional place of my perspective

intersect, a reminder that God is always
more than I know. What a mercy to have a horizon
that hides (for now) what is past the threshhold—a mercy
because the knowing, the sight, might be more than

my easily blinded eyes can bear. A mercy because
if I see too much, I may not have faith enough. Funny, too—
without the horizon that limits knowing
there can be no azimuth,
no arc to give direction, no reference point
from which to measure a navigating angle.

Listen as Wisdom calls out!

“…I was there when he established the heavens,
when he drew the horizon on the oceans.”

(Proverbs 8:1,27 NLT)

Two Hundred Meters but No Closer (What Fire Can Do, Part 2)

The quarry we considered
an eyesore—the ugly
scar on the mountain,
the depreciator of real estate
resale values—bought
time for the firefighters
to bulldoze a line and keep
our houses from turning
to ashes.

God in heaven, my Father who cares for me, is there anything I consider ugly and unwanted that you intend for my protection?

*****

The view from our driveway on June 26, 2012:

Our hill before the fire

About an hour and a half later:

Less than 2 hours later

When the fire reached the quarry, it had to go the long way around to get to our street. It got as close as 200 meters from the houses, but thanks to the quarry, the firefighters, and the mercy of God, the fire stopped there. After the fire:

After the fire

Related post on something unwanted that actually protects:
The Protection of Illness

Like the Sequoias (What Fire Can Do)

Eleven days before the wildfire crested
the ridge I see from my front door,
we were tourists at Sequoia
National Park and learned
that when fires were suppressed,
the Sequoias stopped reproducing.
But when fire spread,
so did the seeds. Those giants
of the forest would die
without the heat
of fire that dried their cones
to open and drop thousands
of seeds that can only take root
on fire-cleared ground made fertile
by the ashes. For the
generations of giants
to multiply and thrive, fire
is required.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-4)

Prayer suggestions for evacuees of the Waldo Canyon Fire:
Safety of firefighters and emergency workers.
Peace, protection, provision for evacuees (currently about 32,500).
Followers of Jesus in the area to shine His light and seek His guidance.
Many to draw near to God.
Unity and service in the Body of Christ.
Love one another and our neighbors as ourselves.
God’s glory in all things.
Rain.
Less wind.
Not my will but Yours, O Lord.

Family update:
We are safe and housed. Status of our home is unknown but suspected to be unburned at this point.
*THURSDAY UPDATE*
The city released a list of streets where houses have been burned, and our street is not on that list. Thank you again for your love and prayers.

If you have seen in the media photos/videos how high the flames and smoke plumes have been, know that God’s unfailing love and faithfulness are ever higher (see Psalm 108:4). Thank you for your love and prayers. We believe God will bring great good, much good, out of this tragedy. God loves you. Turn to Him.

Tomorrow Won’t Fit into Today

Writing a story is like living one; you can’t
force future moments onto the current
page. You can grasp a dry towel with
moistureless hands, but no water will come
of your wringing, and your skin will chafe.

Soak the cloth
first,
and wait.

I believe a writer can make writing happen, sit down and stir from grass or leaves or snow. But I also believe it takes time to write. Each book I’ve written, in some sense, could not have been written before its time. The white moths were not ready to rise…

There is no hurry. The things we cannot write about today, we will surely find we can write about tomorrow. We should not worry about the process, but simply trust it and move on. After all, we contain fields upon fields of stories we’ve rehearsed over time. We must recognize that these are the ready ones, the now-stories.

– L.L. Barkat, Rumors of Water, pp.152-153

(For the T.S. Poetry Book Club (hosted by Lyla Lindquist) on Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, by L.L. Barkat. Read Lyla’s thoughts and find links to other book club participants here.)

Where Light Shines

IMG_4257

After all,
there’s no such thing
as a sharply defined
horizon line. Tomorrow
is always blurry.
When I can’t see ahead
too clearly, perhaps
it’s because God is
shining His light more
brightly right here.

IMG_4234

(Photos are part of this set on my flickr account, submitted for this month’s “contre-jour” PhotoPlay at The High Calling.)

(Also linking with Ann Voskamp this week as she hosts a community of those who share about “The Practice of Faith.” Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read (on Wednesday) more posts on Faith!)