Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Fresh Perspective

With vacations in peak season, we have a wonderful (and, for some, rare) opportunity to "get away from it all." How can we think "outside the box" when we are living in cubes and offices so many of our waking hours?

Last Monday, I returned to work after a week of thinking "outside the state" (traveled in four states) and even "outside the country" (traveled four Canadian provinces). And if the jagged and majestic mountains of Montana don't clear the cobwebs, what will?

It took a few days to stop thinking about the usual details, but when I did, my mind was free to see what's beyond my realm, and to dream of what could be.

Whenever I get away, I notice the creative juices start flowing again. (Does that happen to you, too?) I don't know where it all comes from sometimes. I make new goals and I become eager to put my ideas into action. I see colors more vividly and even my dreams are much more fun!

Getting away helps me gain a new perspective of what life is like beyond my normal scope. Seeing the beauty of God's creation reminds me of how He has every intricate detail under control -- always did, always will! And what a peace that gives me. I remind myself to just stay close, stay connected, to abide in Him and be part of His big plan.

So as our vacation came to a close, with a fresh perspective I began thinking of the responsibilities awaiting me "inside the boxes." I have new energy to approach the challenges, new ideas to implement.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:9 NIV)

Photo: Jackson Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Through the Storm

As we drove through the vast, flat plains of Saskatchewan a couple weeks ago, we saw black storms raging all around us in the distance, yet our road remained clear and dry. We thanked God for lighting our path and keeping us out of the storm, for now. I thought of the storms some of my dear friends are now suffering in their lives. I ache for them as they are overwhelmed by the torrential rains and floods in their lives -- trying to make some sense of the loss of their child, find joy amidst a myriad of health problems, or remain hopeful in a painful relationship.

Then the next morning, the rain was upon us as we drove near Lethbridge, Alberta. By the looks of the weather forecast at breakfast, we thought we would be able to drive through the storm and back into sunshine by the time we got to Glacier National Park, Montana, our vacation destination.

It made me think of how a storm in our lives might make us slow down... or even stop, rather than pushing through. Isn't it our natural inclination to be extra cautious, to hesitate or to fear? But if we would slow down or stop and wait for better weather, we would actually be in our storms longer! Instead, by casting all our cares on Him, we can take God's hand and move through the storm to the clear skies that are awaiting beyond the storm. It was a perspective that gave me hope. Hope I want to pass on to my beloved friends.

A little while later, I opened my Bible. Funny how it was only minutes and the sky turned blue again. I guess we shouldn't be surprised how our Lord calms the storms when we turn to His Word!

Later we saw some of the most brilliant rainbows we'd ever seen. The picture above was taken in the foothills just outside of Glacier National Park. What a beautiful reminder it was of God's promises!

Whether you are in the midst of a storm or are helping others face their storms, take heart:

Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

You came near when I called You, and You said, "Do not fear." (Lamentations 3:57 NIV)

For I am the LORD, your God,
       who takes hold of your right hand
       and says to you, Do not fear;
       I will help you.
(Isaiah 41:13 NIV)

Lord, I pray for all those in the midst of a storm. Would You take each one by the hand and lead them through it? Give them Your peace, Your direction and Your strength to move ahead.