Monday, September 23, 2019

"we were made to thrive..."

"And though my heart is torn,
I will praise you in this storm..."

My niece, Lily Oyer, offered this beautiful solo of Casting Crown"s "Thrive" at church on Sunday. I asked her if I could share a video recording of her version of "Thrive" here. I love her -- and her beautiful voice.  It reminded me of this post from a few years ago -- I am re-sharing it here below:

It's no secret that I love the inspired music ministry of Casting Crowns. Their recently released "Thrive" CD is a favorite. Earlier this week their lead singer, Mark Hall, was given an unsettling diagnosis and faces surgery soon. The Casting Crowns family has reached out to their church and fan community for support through prayer. It is a privilege to join them in this way.

In a moving post written for the band's website by Mark's wife, Melanie asked,"When it happens to you, where do you turn?" And the band offered their beautiful song, "Praise You in the Storm" as inspiration and encouragement. Both Melanie's post and the song moved me deeply.

The first paragraph of Melanie's piece read: "The call on your cell phone from the doctor with bad news -- that's something that happens to other people, not to us. Our role, for the last 25 years in ministry, is to be there to encourage other people after the call, and to pray with them and try to bring comfort. So when it happens to you, where do you turn?"

Melanie goes on to say, "Mark and I seemed to be in a bit of a fog for several days while the news was sinking in.
Yet the whole time, the verse that kept running through my head over and over was:

"You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in You."
-Isaiah 26:3.

Yes. This is exactly where we turn. We turn to Scripture which floods our hearts with the Word. We rest our thoughts on these promises -- like life rafts in a roiling sea of "what if…" And as Mary Baker Eddy encourages in her primary work on hope and healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, we:

"cling steadfastly to God,
and His idea, allowing nothing
but His likeness
to abide in our thought..."

And then, we return to the Word - again, and again - for Love's timeless encouragement in stories of salvation, parables of promise, reminders of redemption and resurrection, and messages of healing.

And we are each writing new gospel stories of deep spiritual trust in our lives every day. These contemporary testaments of faith encourage others to remember that, as Mark sings, "You [God] are with us…" At times when we might feel as though we are alone in the storm, we can turn to one another for affirmation, and to the Bible for unshakeable precedent-setting cases of God's law in operation -- even in the storm.

At a particularly challenging time in my own life it was Jesus' parable of the house built on the sand that pulled me out of a death spiral of despair. I've already referred to this experience in an earlier post (linked here) titled,""I will give you perfect peace..." As well as in in another post, "A house that will not fall..." whick is linked at the end of that piece. And because of this personal storm, a parable now lives as part of me -- it is no longer "just a parable" -- it is what courses through my being as vitally as air and water.

The alarming "call" can come in countless forms -- disappointing test results, an upsetting report card, a lost job opportunity, a rejection letter, a health crisis, alarming global events, a child's cry in the night...

So, where do we turn -- we turn to Him, we turn to His Word, we turn to one another for encouragement. Our stories of hope and healing are critical to our neighbors and friends. Our testimonies of deep spiritual trust are vital to the body of Christ, in which we share fellowship in faith. And this is where we hear another call -- the call of Spirit urging us to turn to God, to look through the lens of His love. For it is here that, "He saw everything that He had made, and behold it was -- and is -- very good."

We are not alone in the storm. We are never alone. We have the still small Voice of God. We have the Word. We have the Gospel message of "the kingdom of God is within you." We have angels that hover in the stillness.  And we have each other. Our Father-Mother God is with us -- always. He will keep us in perfect peace.

2019 ps:  Mark and Melanie are thriving! 

offered with Love,


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