Tag Archives: God

Pain is inevitable

This is a repost…from 10 years ago.

Everyone has a time in their life when they experience difficulty.  It might be family or finance, it might be a relationship or regret.  We know it by the emotional weight that lays on our hearts.  Sometimes we see it coming and other times it takes us by surprise.  We usually have no control on it and little ability to change the consequences.  What we have power over is our reaction.

After 30 years of marriage, and 27 years of ministry I can tell you I’ve sat with, and talked with people in almost every difficult circumstance.  The gambler, the adulterer, the runaway, the drug user, the drug dealer, the sick, the dying, the criminal, the victim, the lonely, the overwhelmed.  Most of them felt out of control of their lives and were looking for relief.  They wanted relief from the emotional weight more than anything else.

What strikes me over and over though is that despite the similarities the big difference is their reaction.  Most chose misery, most chose to suffer in their own thoughts and reactions.  But some, not very many, but a few decide that misery is optional.  They might not be happy but in the midst of their difficult days they chose to live life with hope.

The only way I think this is possible is if they have a strong belief in God and His Hand of care.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

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The CSS in Calgary

Wendy took the Canadian Staff Songsters to Glenmore Temple in Calgary, AB for the Stampede weekend.  It was great to be “home” for a few days and to see good friends, be part of a revisit to a place that has such deep personal meaning for us and to share in the music of this great group. The city of Calgary, if you do not know, is alive in a different way for 10 days as it hosts “the greatest outdoor show on earth”.

So here are two videos to show something of that weekend – a couple more will follow – as it allows you to see and sense something of the nature of the weekend and the flavour of the city!

 

The chuckwagon races are a great event and I love watching them. The very first funeral that I did after we arrived in Calgary, in 2000 was a woman who had raised 5 kids – 4 of whom had been born and raised in a sod house on the Alberta Saskatchewan border! Think about what it means to grow your own food, live through a winter on the Prairies and to do so in a sod house! That’s a pioneer and the chuck wagons point back to that time in history which is not that far in the past!

This second video is from Sunday morning at Glenmore Temple, the final number by the CSS and while it both these videos are done on my Samsung phone – provide I think a reasonable representation of the quality of the music.

 

Where does God live?

I am not meaning to sound heretical at all, but having just returned from Alberta and the beauty of God’s creation it is easy to think that if God was choosing somewhere to dwell it might be right here.  The Psalmist often talked about lifting this eyes to “the hills” and in viewing the spectacular features of the geography was reminded that his help came from the Maker of Heaven and earth.  Mountains have that kind of impact upon people, especially when the birds call out, the stream flows by peacefully and the stillness of the moment is not interrupted, as most of our moments seem to be now, by the roar of industrial life.

 

In case I have not been entirely clear, I do not believe for a moment that God lives in a geographical location – far from it. The truth today for anyone who is willing is for God to reside in our “hearts” – that is the center of our being. God’s greatest creation is, of course, you – me – the man or woman made in His image.