Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Needy

Needy is sort of an ugly word. It usually makes people cringe... much like "clingy" and "co-dependent" do... makes you feel like you just walked thru a spider web and you've got that nasty stuff all over you and you can't get it off.

But I admit it... I'm needy.

I am feeling the anxious stress these days of the very unsettling times that we are living in. And I'm guessing that I'm not alone. No, I'm not worried about the big picture because I know that the future is in God's very able hands. You could call me, in the words of a fellow from Texas by the name of Buckner Fanning, a long-term optimist and a short-term pessimist. That would be accurate. That's me.

Long-term... there is no doubt in my mind or heart that God is ruling from heaven and that He is in control of things. He's not whincing or covering His eyes or hiding behind His throne or losing sleep or wringing His hands or wiping the sweat from His brow or experiencing elevated blood pressure and an increased heart rate or asking frustrated questions or finding Himself confused and surprised or asking out of the game. He's got things covered and there is absolutely no doubt about that.

Short-term... I wonder just how far we may fall and just how difficult things may get and just what it will take for us to realize how desperate we are for God and just how far we have drifted as a nation from the moorings that once anchored our thinking, guided our steps, ensured our security, and steadied our collective soul.

Our circumstances do nothing in the way of offering hope.

From Wall Street crashing to legislators bickering to emergency government bailouts to our crumbling infrastructure to radical terrorists who are hell-bent on killing to foreign leaders expressing their desire to destroy us and to wipe Israel off the map to our mounting financial debt owed to China to Christians being slaughtered in eastern India and all over the world to Russia's resurgence to droughts to rising gas prices to increased gas shortages to a pivotal presidential election to a devaluation of God's Word to a housing market that has stalled... [ please, forward some of the things you see in our country and around the world, things that are bothering you ]

Things don't look all that good right now.

Solomon was right, worry weighs a person down. (Proverbs 12:25) Not that that's new information, just relevant to us in a whole new way lately. For far too long, we have been stuffing our faces with the bread of anxious toil (Psalm 127:2) and we have fooled ourselves into believing that our busyness is not in vain. Like Martha, we are often anxious and troubled about many things... things that don't really matter. (Luke 10:41)

My Bible tells me to not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:6) Oh, come on, are you serious? Nothing? In this world? Do you have any idea what I'm facing? It tells me to cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. ALL of them? Can't I just hang on to THIS one? What about THAT? I can handle it, really I can! No, you big dummy, you can't!!! (Sorry, sometimes I have to talk to myself that way... somehow it helps to get the point across.)

God help us all to pray, to open our hearts to You, to give You an all access pass into the backstage of our souls, to have the courage to tell You what we are really feeling deep within, to express what You already see, to approach You with a zesty boldness, to believe, to really believe that what You say is real and true and that we don't have to worry or spin ourselves into a dizzied frenzy. God help us to really give You our burdens, to throw them off our backs into Your strong hands, to believe in our gut that You care, that You have an eye on us.

God help us. We are needy. You are quite capable.

Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection. (Proverbs 30:5)

Amen.

24 comments:

marie said...

Excellent post! You spoke my heart!
I'm the editor for our little church newsletter and I would count it a privilege if you would let me use this in an upcoming newsletter. Our church website is faithcommunity.net if you would like to visit us before answering. I would, of course, link back to this website.
The Lord has blessed you with the gift of words...thank you so much for sharing that gift.

Everyday Thoughts said...

Thank you for the reminder that in these very uncertain times, OUR GOD REIGNS! Though it may seem like we are left here to "struggle through", God knows our needs and it is through HIM alone we can have "hope and a future".

My prayers are with you and your family daily!

sheila said...

I think that is how it happens, we re-focus on the Lord. How needy are we? Isnt' that what the Israelist did, time and time again? And then is it every facet of our life, family, friends, country? How needy are we? Thanks for your words. I am hungry. Blessed be the name of the Lord. In God's Love, sheila

Cheryl said...

Greg,

The one that really bothers me is the morality of this country. A group from our church went to dinner and then to see Fireproof. Dinner was an eyeopener because it was homecoming and girls that were 14 and 15 were dressed no better than a streetwalker. Everything was on display. It makes me extremely worried for my 8 year old and the pressures that she is facing, because it is already hard to find her decent clothes. That is my biggest fear for the future.

Cheryl

Lee said...

Just to add to your list...hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids living in extreme poverty, no parents, little or no education...a mere 600 miles off the coast of Florida in Haiti. Practically a stones throw from Disney! I prasie God for people like Hal and Chris nungester who founded and operate HIS Home for Children in Port AU Prince, Haiti where our two daughters live until they come home to us in the US.
On teh days that I am feelnig like a short term pessimist, I simply thank my God for every single blessnig I can think of. Sometimes it is something as simple as the ability to use my arms to open my windows to let a nice breeze in. While it can be so easy to praise Him during the easy times we MUST remember to always praise Him in the storms of life. You are a GREAT example of doing that. I love love love the funny things your sweet little Summer says and you give us the privelege of reading. Hang on, my brother. He is there every moment. He is holding you, weeping with you, rejoicing with you, sad with you! Also remember that even when you aren't holding strong to Him, he NEVER lets you go!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comforting words! I needed to be reminded of that today... actually, I need to be reminded every minute of every day. How easy it is to forget God's hands are directing every detail for our good. Maybe it isn't so much about forgetting... but rather simply so difficult to see/believe there is purpose in the pain. That's when the doubt settles in like a dust cloud. "Lord, we believe, help thou our unbelief."

I woke up at 3am a few nights ago, thinking about your blog and about little Lukey. Your handsome boy (with his full head of hair :) is sitting at the feet of Jesus. He doesn't have ANY of the doubts, fears, and questions that you just described in your blog. Little Luke, although only 10 weeks old and had not experienced much of this life, now sees God's plan in its pefection and completeness, from beginning to end. Unbelievable! He doesn't see through "the glass darkly"... rather he sees God's purpose clearly though no glass at all!! God help Greg and Nicol to find comfort in this thought.


P.S. Will both you and Nicol be at the Oct 23 Laban Ministries fundraiser? I thought I originally heard that you, Greg, were going to speak and we would love to hear Nicol sing too! That is... if you are feeling emotionally able to.

Sorry for the long post... I am really not stalking your blog :)

Annise

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your post and check for them daily. You seem to have a way of putting things into words that a lot of us are feeling and dealing with. I am so terribly sorry for your loss and know there are no words I can even offer you....but know this through your loss God is using you to reach other people. You have touched my heart in a big way and helped me see some light in an otherwise dark and difficult situation. Please continue to share your story, I am praying for strength for you and your family. Continue to cling to God He alone is our stronghold.

Denise said...

It is an anxious time, isn't it? This morning I was contemplating all of the worries of the world. When I tired of it, I started to think about the upcoming baseball playoffs. America's past-time. Sports are always a good diversion from the realities of life. So, I turned on sports radio and, I kid you not, they were having a special discussion about the financial crisis and what the bailout package means to every day people. Even ESPN is bringing me down!

Becca Sports said...

Great post Greg. It is easy to get focused on the worries of this world. I wonder though if God doesn't use moments like this to wake us all up. We have become so "self-sufficient" that no one thinks that need God...that is until they are in financial need, terrorists strike as they did during 9/11, or something tragic hits us. I agree with Sheila that we all are a lot like the Israelites. We always think, "man, the Israelites were stupid, I mean God was there for them and providing and they disobeyed Him" and yet many times I know that I have done exactly what the Israelites have done.

Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us to keep our eyes in the right place.

Love,
The Harder Family

daniella said...

AMEN!

P.S. You know you've become one of my favorite bloggers EVER?!!!!! Why don't you join your sister in law and write a book!

Angie said...

I am in a very needy stage in my life as well. Don't feel bad. That is what makes us human, our need to connect.
Ang

Noelle said...

I was going to add to your list:

What about babies having babies? Teenagers killing teenagers. The lack of respect and continuing to go down in every generation!

I know Lee talked about the kids in Haiti but what about the kids in America who are living in severe poverty? I know kids who sleep with winter coats on in the winter. I know kids who go hungry sometimes. I know kids who don't know who they're going home from school to - just depends on what mom is up to. This is happening in our own backyards - not in other countries!!!!

Hope Wilson said...

Isn't it comforting that God desires for us to "need" Him?

Ps. 120:1 "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, & He heard me."

Ps. 121:5 "The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side."

Thank you, Lord...

auntmommie said...

Great post; moreover, we now have only one degree of separation. My husband mentioned to me that he spoke to our good friend and Texan, Buckner, this afternoon!

I blogged on this crisis myself, at xanga.com/swbtsmom. Blessings to all of you!
Sandi
San Antonio

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

God is good all of the time. He's there to catch it all and carry it for us. He's there to remind us that He should be #1 in our hearts and minds. Great post.

Anonymous said...

The Gap

Our daughter, Alexis, died 6 months ago, at the age of 9. A rare medical anomaly, in a heart-rending wrench of our innermost spirit, stole her from us in barely more than a moment. Recently, I was at the beach near our home with what remains of my soul - my son, Ethan. Our new puppy romped with us. Beautiful weather, fresh salt air, gentle clear water and sea lions barking in the distance. Perfect. Walking back, I saw a sharp, rusted metal rod and thought to get it out of the way. As I tossed it aside, it caught my thumb and cut me. Perfect. Every moment of peace we have, cuts. Everything that is, hones what is not.

The gap between those who have lost children and those who have not is profoundly difficult to bridge. No one, whose children are well and intact, can be expected to understand what parents who have lost children have absorbed, what they bear. Our daughter now comes to us through every blade of grass, every crack in the sidewalk, every bowl of breakfast cereal, every kid on a scooter. We seek contact with her atoms - her hairbrush, her toothbrush, her clothing. We reach for what was integrally woven into the fabric of our lives, now torn and shredded. What we had wanted, when she so suddenly took ill, was for her to be treated. We wanted her to be annoyed that her head had been shaved for surgery. We would have shaved ours and then watched her smile as we recovered together, whatever the nature of that recovery. Recover is no longer a part of our vocabulary. Now we simply walk through the noise and debris of our personal ground zero.

A black hole has been blown through our souls and, indeed, it often does not allow the light to escape. It is a difficult place. For us to enter there is to be cut deeply, and torn anew, each time we go there, by the jagged edges of our loss. Yet we return, again and again, for that is where she now resides. This will be so for years to come and it will change us, profoundly. At some point in the distant future, the edges of that hole will have tempered and softened but the empty space will remain - a life sentence. It is not unlike a dog who, suddenly hit by a car, survives. The impact is devastating and leaves the animal in shock, confusion and despair. In time the animal recovers adequately to spend the remainder of its life on three legs. It is not that he is unable, eventually, to function or even to laugh and play. The reality, however, is that, on three legs from here on, every step he takes, every action, virtually every breath reminds him of what he has lost. We are that animal.

Our community of friends will change through this. There is no avoiding it. We grieve for our daughter, in part, through talking about her and our feelings for having lost her. Some go there with us, others cannot and, through their denial add a further measure, however unwitting, to an already heavy burden. This was not a sprained ankle or major surgery that we suffered. Assuming that we may be feeling “better” 6 months later is simply “to not get it”. The excruciating and isolating reality that bereaved parents feel is hermetically sealed from the nature of any other human experience. Thus it is a trap - those whose compassion and insight we most need are those for whom we abhor the experience that would allow them that sensitivity and capacity. And, yet, somehow, there are those, each in their own fashion, who have found a way to reach us and stay, to our immeasurable comfort. They have understood, again each in their own way, that Alexis remains our daughter through our memory of her. Her memory is sustained through speaking about her and our feelings about her death. Deny this and you deny her life. Deny her life and you have no place in ours. That’s the equation. How different people have responded to our loss, or not, transcends a range of attitudes and personal histories. It is teaching us much about human capacity and experience, albeit at a searing price. Parents’ memories of a lost child sustain that life. It should be the other way around.

We recognize that we have removed to an emotional place where it is often very difficult to reach us. Our attempts to be normal are painful and the day to day carries a silent, screaming anguish that accompanies us, sometimes from moment to moment. Were we to give it it’s own voice we fear we would become truly unreachable and so we remain “strong” for a host of reasons even as the strength saps our energy and drains our will. Were we to act out our true feelings we would be impossible to be with. We resent having to act normal, yet we dare not do otherwise. People who understand this dynamic are our gold standard. Working our way through this over the years will change us as does every experience - and extreme experience changes one extremely. We know we will have actually managed to survive when, as we have read, it is no longer so painful to be normal. We do not know who we will be at that point nor who will still be with us.

There will come a time, quite some number of years down the road, when the balance between the desperate awareness of what we have lost when our daughter died will be somewhat balanced by the warm and joyful memories of what we had with her when she lived. I neither long for nor cringe from that time. It will simply come. We will recognize it - though now it is far beyond us.

So, yes, our beloved daughter is gone - a light in our lives gone out leaving blackness for us, left behind, to stumble through. And, while we understand and deeply feel the meaning of our phrase “Now we are lit by her only from within”, we hope, desperately, that she is wherever the light is. We are trying to understand what this means, as we seek our own way, for the remainder of our lives, to some kind of light. We love our son and are trying to breath.

We have read that the gap is so difficult that, often, bereaved parents must attempt to reach out to friends and relatives or risk losing them. This is our attempt. For those, untarnished by such events, who wish to know in some way what they, thankfully, do not know, read this. It may provide a window that is helpful for both sides of the gap.

This was written by Michael Crelinsten in 2002.

KK said...

Thank you for continuing to remind us who is IN CONTROL. A wonderful post and wonderful reminders of uplifting Scripture. If and when time allows you and Nicol to read, Beth Moore's daughter wrote a wonderful post, "We have a Rescuer", today on her Mom's LPM blog. Praying it will speak to you and your family, as it did to me. Blessings always, Kaye
http://livingproofministries.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I'm going to quote another person who told me:
" To profess concern for people and nation, and then sell both down the river just to make a buck is more than financial fraud--it is treachery for treasure"

For it's certain that the making and use of money has a mission beyond our own interest.

And Billy Graham said "Give me 5 mins with a person's checkbook and I'll tell you where there heart is"

I love your blog! Keep it up! I pray for our entire nation and it's overwhelming at times!

sheila said...

I prayed much for Nicol last night, I do hope she is well in her soul. God grant her peace and joy in the midst of these times. I also prayed for the open house this weekend, praying the ones that will come, will come with the intention of buying. Meet their needs Lord, thank you. In God's Love, sheila

Ashley Beth said...

You were able to put into words what I have been feeling! Thank you for reminding me of the truth of God's word and of His sovereign nature. Blessings....

lillian08 said...

Thank you for this... you spoke my mind and heart very well today!
In these difficult times, I simply reflect on the passage, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you." -- Psalm 56:3
Blessing of hope, peace and love,
Jenny D.

THAT GIRL said...

"My Bible tells me to not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:6) Oh, come on, are you serious? Nothing? In this world? Do you have any idea what I'm facing?"

I feel like screaming outloud to God, "Get me outta here! I'm drowning!" You hit the nail on the head... we ARE needy... but we just continue to press forward, step out of that boat every single day. "Lord, is that you?" And He will answer.

takingheart.blogspot.com

Pipsylou said...

I needed this SO badly today. I was just working myself up into a tizzy over the financial markets and the way the government seems to be encroaching on everything, and it has me completely freaked out.

Add to that worries over our daughter's medical situation and I'm just strung out from stress!

When will we learn that worry does nothing?

I am so anxious to control everything that I lose sight of God's goodness and His grace even in the midst of this.

Thank you for the reminder!

Neighbor Nancy said...

HI, Greg:
I am Nancy, neighbor Nancy to Nicol's folks. I have just read your latest blog about our current events and appreciate your candor. Proverbs 3 seems to go along with how we should trust God with all this scary mess:

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,

14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.

17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;

20 by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;

22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.

23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;

24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

26 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.

Praying for your family....thank you for your blog