Monday, August 29, 2022

Sacred Contradictions

'The many contradictions in our lives - such as being home while feeling homeless, being busy while feeling bored, being popular while feeling lonely, being believers while feeling many doubts - can frustrate, irritate, and even discourage us.  They make us feel that we are never fully present.

Every door that opens for us makes us see how many more doors are closed.  But there is another response.

These same contradictions can bring us into touch with a deeper longing, for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy.  Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.'

Henri Nouwen
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Don't you just love how God can flip our circumstances, our trials, our fears, our failures into something that's absolutely out of this world?

Only the Wise One can shake things up so that darkness fades to light, sorrow cascades into joy, apprehension morphs into a holy anticipation.  He has a sacred way of shaping what could have been a disaster into a radiant treasure.

And it's those unexpected gifts, those compelling invitations, that catch us off guard ... and then cause us to smile and nod our heads as we peer through the glass darkly and recognize, once again, His powerful Spirit drawing us closer, closer to Himself.

The thorn becomes the sweetest gift.

The burden draws us to His tender heart.

This, the unexpected gift of contradictions.

Linda

Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father 
of the heavenly lights, 
who does not change 
like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

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26 comments:

  1. I love when God gives those little surprises to us as gifts-expecting one thing, but getting something totally different. And btw: happy birthday last week. I posted then remembered I forgot to say something but didn't want to go through the whole signing in deal again. Hope you had a great one! I hit #70 in October.

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    1. #70 ... mmm. Can you believe this is happening?
      🤷‍♂️

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  2. Love this today Linda. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. I'm glad, Cindy! Hope your week goes well ...
      🌺

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  3. Oh yes, the thorn does become the sweetest gift!

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    1. But oh it's hard to imagine when you're in the middle of the pain, isn't it ...
      💔

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  4. The essence of a silver lining, Linda! Even in sadness, the gifts of God can still shine through with an incomparable light.
    Blessings!

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  5. Studying the wildernesses right now, the place we love to hate. But so much growth and ministry definition happens there—another contradiction that I am trying to honor in my preparation…

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    1. I'm waiting for your book to come out. Really. Any plans in that direction?
      😉

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    2. No solid progress, and wonder how I would ever carve out time for a book if the opportunity ever did present itself. Right now, I am content to keep doing ministry locally, through my blog and newsletter, and walking through open doors. You’re sweet to inquire.❤️

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    3. Always yes to the open doors. We've been surprised where they've led, haven't we.
      🚪

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  6. you know I love Henri. This line jumped out to me and right into my heart: Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.'

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    1. That first paragraph was really powerful to me ... especially in the last few years. Don't you just love when someone is discerning enough to actually put into words what you've been thinking ...
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  7. Such beautiful thoughts, my friend. I think sometimes, we need to shift our perspective to be able to see the good God can bring out of the hard or the negative. Those contradictions can be an opportunity to do this. That's what God's been teaching me, anyway. :)

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    1. Jeanne, you're so right, that shift in the way we view things is so necessary. I've found that hard to do until I've hit bottom ... or find the trauma or trial winding down. Those seem to be the times when I've begged God to 'restore the years the locusts have eaten.'

      He does.
      🦗

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  8. I love this, Linda. Yes, the "unexpected gift of contradictions." Thank you for this reminder. Happy Belated Birthday! I hope it was wonderful! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. I hope your summer has been a great respite and a time of calming peace. I see that you've just put up a post! Yay! You've been missed, girl ...
      🙋‍♀️

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  9. I agree, that's a wonderful quote from Nouwen. And your subsequent reflection also includes thought-provoking insight. This statement of yours particulatly grabbed my attention: "[God] has a sacred way of shaping what could have been a disaster into a radiant treasure." Amen to that, Linda! I've lived long enough to see God work that miracle time and time again! Isn't He wonderful?!

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    1. 'I've lived long enough to see God work that miracle time and time again! Isn't He wonderful?!'

      Yes and amen. There ARE advantages to getting up there in years, aren't there, Nancy ...
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  10. This is beautiful and brings me such peace. Thank you.

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  11. Linda this is such a treasure to read today. Just what I needed to hear.
    Visiting from G&T

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    1. I love what God does! He is our treasure ...

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  12. “The thorn becomes the sweetest gift.” So true, Linda. Randy and I were just talking tonight about how my parents’ last years brought my family together in ways that never would have happened otherwise. Time spent with adult siblings was definitely a gift. My dad, especially, would have been happy about all that relationship building. :-) God knows what we need, doesn’t He?

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    1. Your experience gives me hope that those who are suffering loss will, sooner or later, be able to glimpse the gifts of grace, friend. Those lingering memories of the thorn don't easily fade, do they ...
      🥺

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