Is it easy to trust in God?

It’s easy to trust in God when I really don’t do any trusting. I say, “I trust that God will take care of…,” but I’m really just saying it, not doing it.

When I look back on my life I try to find times when I really trusted in him. Times where I placed all my bets on his power and his grace and nothing else. Times where if he didn’t come through, there was no way out. It was him or nothing.

I wish I had many tales to tell of this kind of trust. But too many times, I do all the thinking and planning and none of the trusting. I leave very little for God to do for me. And he respects me. He never gets in my way.

I say, “I have to trust in Jesus.”

No I don’t. Never do I have to. It’s always up to me.

What if I went to him for everything? What if I really placed all my trust in him?

How many times do I face a challenge or a threat… and instantly my mind races to hatch a plan I hope will be blessed along the way?

What if I stopped right away instead?

And got on my knees,

looked up to heaven and said,

“It’s yours Lord. It’s all yours. All you or nothing.”

trust in the Lord

Image credit: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Alaskan Dude (I cropped the image and added the text.)

Trust Him Today

Why is it that we lose sight of our faith precisely when we need it most?

Jesus said, “Be not afraid” and we tremble in fear.
He said, “I am the bread of life” and we look everywhere else to feed our hungry souls.

What is keeping you from being at peace? Why don’t you do something about it TODAY?

It’s not about emotions…. it’s about making decisions and taking a stand.

Grab your faith with both hands and hold on tight.
Then beat down and kick out the things that are holding you down or holding you back.

Trust Him. He will fight the fight for you.

Pick your battles

We live in a world of conflict. Battlefields are ablaze in many corners of the world. Why? Because we love to make our own wars instead of confronting the truly important battle. It occurs on every scale. We strive for the all important position or salary. We engage in sports, dive into the deep sea and scale mountain peaks. Everywhere we seek challenge but run from the mountains that reside within our soul. The end product is depression and despair; war and famine and a depleted earth – both physically and spiritually.

We create these confrontations because it provides us with some measure of control. We pick the battle. Our will, when exercised strenuously, delivers satisfaction. Maybe it’s just to improve your Sunday sport score a digit or two or maybe we are reaching for a gold medal… either way it is of our own choosing.

We shrink from the true battle, and the assault upon our heart is fierce and ever advancing. Ironically apathy and fear are the tools that pride uses against us. We are afraid to lose. We are afraid to ask for help. We are too proud to admit that we are being beaten down. So we pout at the base of the mountain self-absorbed in our distraction which we inappropriately name challenge.

It is not to say that great achievements in sports, science or exploration are not important. Exercise is healthy. But we avoid mending our inner hurt or committing ourselves to help another while we invest tremendous time and effort in the external life. We build a Coliseum of games while reality is ignored.

The recent PennState football scandal is a perfect example. Many young men came out of the program better persons, and it was once a shining example of morals, virtue and honor. But they didn’t fight the hard fight when it came along. They didn’t engage the battle when it meant true suffering and sacrifice. So they covered up and the whole thing came crumbling down as they built on a foundation of sand in a vain attempt to perpetuate their own glory. Morality must run deep as it lives from the root.

When the scales are tipped against us, that is where the true human battle is waged. While I admire the man who reaches the top of Everest, the man that faces and defeats his inner demons encounters something sacred and flies well over the peaks of the Himalayas.

Identify the true challenge that stands before you. Look squarely upon that cliff face and grab the ice axe of faith. Take that first step, hoist yourself up. Swing your axe in a wide arc of trust in God and you will find that it sticks. You have a handhold, now advance. Move forward with grace and let God give you the legs to climb ever higher.

Jesus could have done it in a way where he was in control. He could have organized and incited his people into revolution. But he chose the higher path. He chose to soar over the mountains and teach a spiritual salvation that frees us and gives our lives meaning. And when things go beyond our understanding, instead of fear, we have hope and clarity.

“Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.”

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”

(from Romans 12 and Isaiah 40)

When’s the last time…

 
When’s the last time
You gave up a bad habit,
Or put down the phone?
 
When’s the last time,
You ignored bad drivers,
Or gave up trying to control?
 
When’s the last time,
You didn’t have the last word,
Or apologized?
 
When’s the last time,
You didn’t chicken out,
Or swallowed down your pride?
 
When’s the last time,
Someone taught you something,
Or you called an old friend?
 
When’s the last time,
You hugged anyone,
Or been on the hug receiving end?
 
When’s the last time,
You heard someone say, “I love you”,
Or spoke this message clear?
 
When’s the last time,
You closed your eyes and trusted,
And let God take away your fear? 
 
You can’t stop time… but you can make every second count.
 

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Sugar Pill

Over the past few years modern medicine has discovered a phenomenon called “placebo drift”. When scientists want to prove whether or not a drug is effective they compare it to a placebo which is a pill that doesn’t have any effect on the body – or does it? It turns out that these sugar pills seem to be increasing in strength, that is, patients in clinical trials are more responsive to fake pills than they were in the past. One possible explanation is conditioning reinforced by cultural norms, popular media and intense pharmaceutical advertising. We believe that just seeing a doctor and taking a pill is good for us, and this belief is so strong that it can improve depression or high blood pressure. Our faith in a pill, even a sugar pill, has the power to heal us.

In the Gospel according to Mark we find the blind man Bartimaeus who receives his sight.  Jesus says to him, “Go, your faith has healed you”. Was the Nazarene on to something here? Certainly. Physicians have always recognized the healing power of suggestion and snake oil. When we believe wholeheartedly we will get better, we get better.

I suffer from allergies and asthma, and over the last few weeks the weather here in Buenos Aires has been getting cold and damp as we head deeper into autumn. This climate wreaks havoc on my respiratory system. Normally when I cough and wheeze I reach for my inhaler. Now I’ve been reaching for something else… prayer.

I don´t pretend that prayer should replace conventional medicine, but is faith in the ethical dilemma presented by Big Pharma and their clinical trials any safer? Jesus used spittle and dirt as his elements of healing. The big drug companies employ potentially lethal substances. Their primary objective is to make money and, therefore, the validity of their studies requires serious questioning.

Still, my training as a physician prejudices my reasoning here. I want the pill or puffer to make me better. It’s quick and easy, but it comes with a cost both monetary and biochemically.

Last night I awoke short of breath with an audible wheeze – classic acute asthma episode. So I prayed for the Lord to heal me. I prayed for Him to mobilize my body’s natural resources to stop the wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. And it worked. I didn’t have to expose myself to any drug, and I saved myself some money to boot. God’s gifts are free.

Some might say that it was meditative relaxation that resolved my symptoms, but my faith in God is what allows me to even begin to believe that a prayer could halt an asthma attack. Meditation alone could help, but faith supercharges all things and might even give sight to the blind.

Side effects? None… except hopefully more trust in God.

I plan on exploring this more and maybe later today I will post the prayer that I pray when I have an asthma attack.

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