April Hope Whispers

God Promises

“For the Lamb on the throne
    will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
    And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelations 7:17

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”

Revelations 21:4

Out of My Hands

“So, when it feels like all of this pain is never gonna end
Brought to my knees by all of these things
I don’t understand, don’t understand
I will let the weight of my fear fall like sand
Out of my hands and into Yours
Out of my hands and into Yours

Letting go of worries I can’t measure
Holding onto truth that’s healing me
Knowing I can trust You is a treasure
With eyes wide open now I finally see…”

Hope Quotes

Hope is the silver shaft of sun breaking through the storm-darkened sky, words of comfort in the intensive care unit, the first spring bird perched on a snow-covered twig, and the finish line in sight. It is a rainbow, a song, a loving touch. Hope is knowing God and resting in His love.” ~ NLT Life Application Study Bible: Zephaniah introduction

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victor.” ~ Fern Bernstein

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Nature Retreat

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity,
to the small things hardly noticeable,
those things can unexpectedly
become great and immeasurable.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

🙂 This month I’m sharing some of my own photos. 🙂

Arrowhead Park is named after a large, arrowhead shaped granite quarry that is now a lake. It’s one of my favorite nature hangouts, and I’m looking forward to visiting it again when it’s warmer. It’s a peaceful place where nature surprises abound.

I love to imagine where seeds will end up. And it renews my longing that in my words and actions I will scatter seeds of love and kindness always.

God Cares About our Hard Questions

I grew up living in fear of God. No, not the fear that means revering Him, but the quaking fear of being pursued by an unapproachable, vindictive God who sought to harm me. I pictured Him as standing above me with a sword ready to strike me down and cast me into hellfire if I stepped even one toenail out of the way of what the church dictated.

I learned not to question God and not to question the ministers who were set in authority over us, because they were God’s messengers speaking for God. Spiritual, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse from a minister locked me in a prison with no way out.

BUT GOD…

Thanks be to God who broke the chains and did provide a way out. It’s an ongoing healing journey, but God has graciously led me to a way of love through Jesus, a love we didn’t hear much of. God is love. He delights to save us, not to harm us. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, and He doesn’t condemn us.

God doesn’t stop loving us when questions plague our hearts. It doesn’t mean we have a lack of faith or are being irreverent if we approach Him with them. He invites us to pour out all our confusion to Him, even though He already knows what is bothering us. He may not always give us answers here in this broken world, but He cares about our questions and uses them to help us in mourning our losses.

We can’t always trace God’s hand in events in this world and in our lives, but we can trust His heart. His arms are always open for us to run into and to be embraced to His heart of everlasting, unfailing love. He won’t always answer our questions, but it is His pleasure to give us grace to hold His hand and trust His heart and His infinitely higher thoughts and plan. He won’t always stop the pain, but He will bring beauty out of it in His way and timing. He won’t always fix what’s broken while we’re on this earth, but He gives us the courage to let go of our plans as we surrender to His control and remember His love never fails, no matter what.

We are not alone when we ask God “Why?”

  • When the Israelites wailed and complained and blamed Moses about their plight, Moses was frustrated and asked God, Why have You been so hard on Your servant?” (Numbers 11:11) It’s like he asked, “Here I am serving You, God, so why is all this happening? Why are You laying such a heavy burden on me?” God answered by qualifying others to help Moses carry the burden. The people were still discontent, but God strengthened him to carry on.

  • David asked, “Oh Lord, why do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1) He was in deep lament over all the sin and injustice against the innocent, the poor, and the helpless. It seemed God was unconcerned and hiding Himself. Though God didn’t directly mete out the justice right then, He did help David to focus on God’s faithful character as the Helper of the helpless. Someday there will be an end to all the oppression.

  • The prophet Habbakuk’s name means “he who embraces.” It was through grappling with tough questions that he came to a firm faith. In the first chapter, he asked God, “Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?” (Habbakuk 1:3) His heart was pained that God wasn’t immediately exacting justice against wrongdoings. He learned that things don’t happen according to our schedule or our plan but only in the way and timing of God.

  • In the anguish of his spirit, Job asked, “Why have You made me Your target?” (Job 7:20) He lost all his children and his possessions. He acknowledges he is not sinless, even though he had a close relationship with God, but he can’t understand why it seems God is destroying him. Though Job didn’t get his children back and He would continue to feel the loss, God eventually gave him more children and more possessions than before. God restored his spirit and gave him grace to go on, and his faith became even deeper through this devastating trial.

  • The most remarkable question of all was by Jesus who took our place and suffered for our sins. In the deepest soul anguish ever, He cried out to His Father, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) He didn’t just “feel” like God forsook Him like we sometimes do. He really was forsaken. For us. Now even when it “feels” like God has abandoned us, we have the steadfast promise that He never will.

God gives us these stories and so many more to shine like beacons of hope that we are not alone. He will always be with us, even when it seems like He’s not.

Why God?

Before Austin sings this song, he shares how God showed him that it’s okay to ask Him the hard questions.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me,
all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.‘”
Matthew 11:28

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

March Hope Whispers

God Promises Us

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life. 
For God did not send His Son
into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him.”

John 3:16-17

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised
Jesus from the dead lives in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies
through His Spirit, who lives in you.”

Romans 8:11

Hope Quotes

“God doesn’t sweep the broken up into a dustpan and discard it. In order to reach the broken in our world, God Himself broke, allowing His own Son to die a broken death on a cross for us. God brings beauty in the broken. God loves the broken. God uses the broken.” – Elisa Morgan

“We can trust that our Painter is exposing us, lifting us onto His brush, placing us in the intense pressure between the bristles and the canvas for something more beautiful that we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).” – Becky Elie

“Your Heavenly Daddy loves to be with you. Not because you are doing anything for Him, but simply because you are His.” – Renee Swope

Nature Retreat

“Stop every now and then.
Just stop and enjoy.
Take a deep breath.
Relax and take in

the abundance of life.”
~ Anonymous ~

Thank you to my brother John
for these stunning photos.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Hummingbird Nest in My Brother’s Backyard
The eggs are as small as coffee beans.
You can see how small the nest is compared to the thorns. An average nest is only 1.5 inches, about the size of a large walnut.
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
Did you know a Pronghorn can run up to 60 mph?
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Old Historic Ranch also at Las Cienegas NCA