Monday, November 28, 2016

Are We Strong Enough

In a past post "The Trial of Abraham" I talked about what Abraham must have felt as he was asked to sacrifice his son.

"Such must have been the case with Father Abraham.  A prophet of God.  One of the mighty and great ones that walked on the earth.  He was obedient to all of God's commandments, yet he was asked to do hard things.  Things that would probably shake most to the very core.   Can you imagine being asked to sacrifice your only son.  Especially when you felt to the very core it was wrong   I cannot imagine the pain Father Abraham must have felt.  Do you think that perhaps as he was walking he questioned the Lord in his heart.   Do you think he pondered all the good he had done and possibly wondered why he was asked to do such a thing.  Thoughts must have crossed his mind like,  I am a good man.  I have done all I could to obey.  And then other thoughts like,  If only I had been better or I must not be good, and even,  Does the Lord love me.  How could he if he asks things that break my heart and the hearts of those I love".

Recently I was once again reminded of this great story, but this time my thoughts turned to God and what was going on in his mind, not that I know that, but it is interesting to ponder such things and I find great strength in maybe gaining a little understanding in His thoughts and plans for us.

In the story we think often of what Abraham went through and seldom think about what God must have thought.  I was thinking that God in his defense,  not that we have to defend God, but sometimes we often wonder how he could ask such hard things of his children.  I came to the understanding that the reason he asks hard things of his children is that he knows us.  Take Abraham for instance.  I am certain that God knew him and knew of his strength and conviction way before he even asked the question he already knew what Abraham would do.  He knew what Abraham didn't know yet.  He knew that Abraham had the strength to do hard things.  I believe that God does not just randomly place hard things on us to fail.  I believe that he already knows how strong we are and just how capable we are in being able to do the hard things he asks of us way before he asks them of us.

God already knew that Abraham and his son could do it.  Abraham and his son didn't realize it yet, but they came to understand that they could do hard things, something that God already understood about them and knew.   He did not set them up to fail, he never does that and never will.  He will never give us more then we can bear or take on.  Yes it seems like it's unfair and impossible,  but we, like Abraham have to trust that God knows best and move forward understanding God does not give us impossible tasks to perform.  God already knows we can do it and already has given us the strength and power to succeed.

We are all faced with seemingly impossible challenges.  We often question God's wisdom in placing them on us.  We often wish for lighter roads and easier task, not taking into consideration that God knows us personally and his design is for us to succeed not fail.   He already knows we have the power to do so.

Now you might be asking,  "If that is the case, why do I fail so often."   The answer is not God's lack of belief in us, but our own lack of believing in ourselves.  Our own failure to understand our potential and strength.   After all we are created in his image and have been sent to earth to succeed, not fail.   His design is not one of failure, but one of success and happiness.   As we learn to trust his belief in us and learn to trust that he believes we are strong enough for the things he asks of us we can  achieve great things.

No matter what the trial, no matter what the test,  he believes we can do it.   His belief in us is perfect.

I was thinking the other day about hard things he has asked of me and I had a strong feeling that he asked them because he knew I could do if I wanted to.  One of the hard things I felt that I was asked to do was start this blog.  It has been one of the hardest things I have done.  The judgment's that have come have been at times painful and hard to handle, but I take great strength in knowing that God does not ask us to do things we cannot do.   That does not mean it won't be hard, difficult, easy, and yes sometimes out right impossible.    I take confidence in knowing that God knows me and when he asks he already knows that I can do it.

Father Abraham was a man of strength and power.  His power came as he learned to accept the understanding that God knew him better then he knew himself.   As we learn to trust in that all trials and difficulties can be overcome and we can gain a greater understanding that God knows us and trusts in our strength to do hard things.

No matter what your trial,  no matter how hard it seems, take comfort in knowing there is a God and he knew before he placed the trial in your path that you have the strength to do it.   God knows you and knows you can succeed in all things.  Life is a journey,  hard, difficult, yet filled with joy and we come to understand we have the strength to do hard things.

Enjoy the Journey

Monday, November 14, 2016

Courage to Connect

Often times we go through life lonely and alone.  Both have different meanings.  Lonely to me is when we choose not to connect to those around us when we feel drawn to them.  Alone is when we are surrounded by people yet we don't let them in our hearts or lives.

Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone and feeling connected right off.  I am talking about that connection where you feel it and something stirs in your heart.  I have to admit that for a long time those feelings confused me.  Especially when it was another man I felt that connection for.  It would leave me wondering where it came from and if it was appropriate or not.   On rare occasions the feeling has even brought me to tears.  What I mean by that is the feeling of being connected to that person was so overwhelming and powerful and stirred my heart so profoundly that it actually brought tears to my eyes.  

Over the years I have learned to understand and accept those types of experiences and even more important I have learned to act upon them.   The important thing to say here is that as I have learned to act upon those feelings  my life has been changed in remarkable ways.

As a young man I was fearful to act upon those feelings.  The fear of rejection and misunderstanding was to powerful for me to move or open my heart up to accept those feelings.  After all we live in a society that is not really good about connecting.  We live with our walls up and rarely take them down.  We allow superficial relationships to develop, but rarely allow others in the deepest parts of our hearts.  The fear of rejection is huge and to be transparent and vulnerable is not considered a strength, at least to most,  and especially among men.

Relationships are hard to say the least.  But some of my most prized relationships are those that happened when I was instantly connected to the person.  There is more to it then we understand, but I believe deeply that those connections started before we even came here.  When I have acted upon those types of feelings the end result every time is a good wonderful friendship.  Perhaps the reason is that the friendship was already started and we are just picking up where we left off.  Many have had the same experience of meeting someone and the friendship is so natural and easy that it leaves you amazed.   Often times we have to work at building a friendship, and I do love those friendships, but the best are when it just comes naturally.   When you already know the person and what is really great  is when the feelings are mutual.  Often times we don't understand, but after we talk and get to know the person we find out they had the same experience we had.

Funny story about that is over the years I have become comfortable with connecting and when I feel that deep connection I act.  A while back I was traveling and was at an event.  I walked into the room and had that overwhelming experience.  My heart stopped and I walked up to the man and he reached over to shake my hand.  I took his hand and pulled him up and hugged him and told him we were going to be best friends.   He was a little shocked to say the least, but after he got over the shock it was ok.  We are best friends now and I am so grateful to have him in my life.  So grateful that I was able to follow my gut feeling.  His friendship is a great blessing to me.  My life has been spiritually blessed from his association.

Life is a challenge, and one that we don't have to take on alone.  It is a challenge to take a chance, but when we take chances great things happen.  I have to say that most of my deep meaningful friendships are because one of us took a chance and showed courage to move beyond the wall of comfort to connect.   In each case once one of us got beyond the wall we have established wonderful friendships.  Not the pat on the back kind, but meaningful, transparent, open friendships where one really feels loved and accepted.

It takes a huge amount of courage to connect.  It takes courage to overcome the fear of rejection.  It takes courage to not worry about what people will think.  It takes courage to be open and transparent. It takes courage to reach out, step out, and open up to accept others into our lives and hearts.  It takes courage to connect.

I have heard over the years that we are considered lucky if we have one good friend in our lives.  I think that the human heart has an unlimited ability to love,  there are no limits on how many people we can let into our hearts or how deeply we can love them.  The only limits are the ones we place there out of fear and misunderstanding.    For me,  I will continue to take down my walls and let others in that special place called friendship.  After all life's greatest blessing are the three " F's".  Family, Friends, and Food.

Enjoy the Journey
Your Friend~Brad