peace to you

Two friends who have been a part of our prayer group this past year are moving away. So we sent them off with the blessing I usually use at the end of our communion time. I got it from a blessing offered to David in 1 Chronicles 12.18 ("Peace" here is the Hebrew word Shalom):

Peace, peace to you
And peace to those who help you
For your God helps you


Sent this to my mother yesterday for Mother's Day...



Heather spotted this little guy starting to explore on his own in the woods right behind our place.


a thomas

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God”

Two weeks after Heather suffered a miscarriage, devastating us both, I wrote about something I had learned through the experience. About how God doesn’t promise to always provide ways to avoid such loss and suffering, but promises to provide what we need to continue to love and do good in the midst of such hard situations. During the two years since then, though, I’ve come to realize I need more of a promise than that.

Maybe it’s just that I find it hard to want to “love and do good” unless I see that’s what God is actually doing. And in moments of loss and pain, that’s hard to see. It may be a long time before we see the good that might come through experiences of suffering, so long that we stop even looking for it. I’ve encountered lots of skepticism from Christians about how much influence God even has over painful experiences and situations in our lives. And maybe I’ve thought at times that it’s “holier” to keep doing good regardless of whether God seems to be caring for us (and those we love) very well. But it seems I’m just not that holy. I need to see some evidence that God is in control and that he is doing good for us, that “all things work together for good for those who love God,” or I’m not going to be able to love and do good myself.

Not that I have to see it immediately. I think I can hold out hope and believe for a while. But I have to see something before too long. It’s been a long two years, with lots of pain and fears and disappointments, but now that I’m starting to see and be convinced that this may have been a path to something good (even something “better”) I’m realizing how much I needed that.

Maybe that makes me a Thomas. I guess what I’d like to be is a “believing Thomas.” I want to have faith even when I don’t see it, but eventually I want to see it. I need to.

I’m grateful that Jesus came back to show himself to Thomas. I’m grateful he showed himself at all. It seems to me that the main message of Easter is that God let us see. That God showed us that the excruciating pain and “why have you forsaken me” darkness was not the conclusion, but part of the hard path to Easter morning, when Jesus was not just restored but glorified. That it was not just good but “better,” and not just for the rest of us, but for Jesus as well.