Exhaustion

My favorite pictue from my cross-country career isn’t even of me. It’s of my best friend Tyler.  He is coming directly towards the camera at full stride.  He is 3 miles into a 3.1 mile race and you can see it on his face.  It’s the longest race on the toughest course, Rim Rock, and it has taken a toll on the man.

That is exhaustion.

That is the word that I finally was able to attach to my situation in life.  I am exhausted.  It seems like since Mom fell in September and went back in the hospital, life has been hectic.  She wouldn’t ever really leave the hospital.  My foot has been broke and I moved.  Now all this hospital stuff and the question is offered: when will it all end? And what was I supposed to learn?

  1. There is more to life than accomplishment.  I will work along time to pay off some medical bills and I thank God for the insurance payment i do make every month.  Still if that was the end game I think I would go insane.
  2. It’s ok to show some emotion.  At 24 I was physically unable to cry.  Since Labor Day weekend, Mom’s entrance into the hospital, simple thing will bring me to tears.   I just teared up at a text my cousin sent.  I’m a mess.
  3. Everything is permissible, but not beneficial.  In times of exhaustion, some will give great advice, others not so much.  Learning to ignore the bad advice or support really takes the pressure off.
  4. Finally, knowing where your good support lies is invaluable.  Not all support is good support.  Some will force themselves into your crisis, ignoring boundaries and your wishes, and they will only add stress and add to your exhaustion.  Others will simply set with you seven days and say nothing, just to be supportive.

Still learning and the list will continue to grow…

The Self-disclosure of God (Part 2)

thNRXMC1ZVWe usually didn’t pray when Mom tucked us in at night growing up, but we started in January of 1991.  I was in 1st grade.  It was the first war that live video was fed from the front lines.  I sat in the living room and watched CNN as scud missiles flew through the night sky and that night Mom led my sister and I in prayer for the troops over there.

I was in 5th grade when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City.  I first heard about it as we were exiting the classroom to go to lunch.  I remember seeing the pictures on TV of the building with a crater in the side of it.

Sophomore year of High School, I sat in Mr. Switzky’s Human Anatomy class.  We were just a few minutes into the class when a school secretary walked into the room.  She made her way to the front of the room.  She whispered something to him and exited the same way she entered.  He sat silently for a moment and then reached up and turned on the T.V. mounted above and behind him.  CNN came on the screen with a smoking tower centered in the picture.  Minutes later, a second plane hit the towers.  Just before we dismissed for the next class (mine was wood shop), the Pentagon was hit.  Then Flight 93 crashed.  I watched, in the woodshop, the Towers fall.  At noon, the TV’s were still on in Ms. Scarborogh’s Mythology class.  By the end of the day, Bloomfield’s Construction Science class, we weren’t watching.  Just before Cross Country practice rumors of $4.00 gallons of gas and draft rumors were swirling…I knew where I was.

Every generation has those moments: Bombing of Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, the ’66 tornado, Columbine.  People knew what they were doing, where they were, and when it happened.

What does one say to a community in crisis?  What is the word that is needed for a nation suffering?

That is what Joel was commissioned to address.  He confronts the issue with this statement:

Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2.13)

It’s comforting.  The people walked away from God.  Verse 12 makes it abundantly clear that their worship and their hearts are not where they should be.  There is a crisis in the land as well.  Locusts have invaded.

What the locust swarm has left
    the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
    the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
    other locusts have eaten. (Joel 1.3)

The identity of the locusts has been debated; whether they were the insects or an invading army.  I think they are best understood as the insect for reasons that are irrelevant here.  Moses alludes to this at the end of Deuteronomy.  The people are getting ready to enter the promised land and God gives Moses a message for the people.  Their first instruction upon entering the land is to have half the tribes on Mt. Gerizim reading blessings for obedience and the other half of the people on Mt. Ebal pronouncing curses for disobedience.  One of the curses reads:

You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it. You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. (Deuteronomy 28.38-39)

The locusts came and devoured all the grain because of the sins of the people.  So what do you say to a nation in chaos?  What do you say to a person in crisis? (I understand that not all crisis’ come because of sin, but we do live in a fallen world)

Message 1: Return to God.

“Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God. (Joel 2.12-13)

The people need to turn back their hearts through confession and repentance.  If comfort and peace can be brought back to a people, to a person, the first step is to return to God.  People are never at rest if distance from God remains.  When crisis comes, it often reveals our distance and our independence from God.  To save our churches, our nations, our families, and our communities, the first thing that needs to happen is a returning to God.  The first word in verse 13, translated as “rend” by the NIV, is the Hebrew word, qara’.  Most often it is translated as “tear”.  It was an act of confession, repentance, and worship.  “Tear open your hearts to God” is the first message gives to the afflicted.

Message 2: Trust God’s Character

As discussed previously, God has made himself known.  He has declared His identity.  In fact, that is what Joel’s name means.  Jo-el means “Yahweh is God”.  And there is the description:

…he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2.13)

The key verse in the entire book by the man whose name means “Yahweh is God” is a vivid description of His character.  When I was going through a particularly dark time, alcohol became the sedative.  It easy the pain, or so I thought.  At least it erased the memories and I could sleep.  During that time the question was posed: “Do you think God wants good things for you?”  My answer was a resounding “NO!”.  Then I began this study.  There are still times where I question whether God does want good for me.  Mom’s passing has been hard.  The foot thing is inconvenient.  There were some reopened ministry wounds and some fresh ones that began last summer.  But restoration can only come if we as a community, a people, a nation, or a person trust in the character and integrity of the Lord.

Message 3: Remember God’s Promises

With God, a promise given is the same as a promise kept.  He has promised to take care of us.  He has promised to be with us.

19 The Lord replied to them:

“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
    enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
    an object of scorn to the nations.

20“I will drive the northern horde far from you,

    pushing it into a parched and barren land;
    its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
    and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
    its smell will rise.”

      Surely he has done great things!
21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
           be glad and rejoice.
    Surely the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
          for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
    The trees are bearing their fruit;
          the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. (Joel 2.19-22)

He promises restoration and then provides restoration.  Once the character of God can be counted on; His promises can be remember.  A promise is only as reliable as the person making it.  God has proved over and over that He can overcome whatever comes our way.  For “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2.24)  He is sending new grain, new wine, satisfaction and protection.  How does one respond: “Surely he has done great things!” (2.20)  He has/is/will bring: rain, abundance, new wine, oil, grain, full-bellies, and repayment for the locusts (23-26).  Joel is switching back and forth in verb tense because with God a promise made is a promise already kept.  To what end:

…and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
    never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;…(2.26-27)

Once God’s character is on display, His faithfulness carries eternal significance.  How do you respond to that: “Surely He has done great things!”…to be continued…

The Self-disclosure of God (Part 1)

untitledSelf-disclosure is one of God’s favorite things in the Old Testament.

Moses is shown “the Glory of the Lord” on Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 33.12ff.)  He is watching the power of God, the goodness of God, the glow of God.  He walked away radiated, with a glowing face. (Exodus 34.29)  What is most striking, is how God narrates the event.  God describes Himself like this:

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…(Exodus 34.6)

This proclamation of identity would stick with God throughout the Old Testament.  I had an identity once.  At a birthday party in 4th grade (I don’t even remember who it was for), I was reaching for something in the pool at a hotel.  The party was at ice cream and cake phase so I had already changed out of my swimming suit.  I fell into the pool with all my clothes on.  I never lived it down.  It came up in 2 different graduation speechs, favorite memories from school portions of yearbooks and school news papers, and one reunion.  I will always be the guy who fell in the pool with his clothes on.  God will carry this identity through all his dealings with man.

It’s fascinating, however, how this phrase is used.

It’s worshipful.  Psalm 145 uses this phrase like a link in a chain.  Each link is a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Verse 1 begins with aleph.  Verse 2, with a bet and so on until verse 8 when chet is the letter that is the letter of focus.  The verse begins with the word “gracious” (chanoon).  It’s just another link in the chain of attributes describing God in this Psalm.  Count the “God is…” statements:

  • “Great is the Lord…” (3)
  • “The Lord is good to all…”(9)
  • “The Lord is trustworthy…” (13)
  • “The Lord is righteous…and faithful…”(17)
  • “The Lord is near…” (18)

David will extol and praise the Lord for all that He is. (145.2)  But it’s a bigger chain than that.  Psalm 145 is also a part of a chain that ends the book of Psalms. The last 5 Psalms all begin with the word “Praise” (hb. hallel).  In the Hebrew text, the Psalm titles are considered the first verse of the Psalm.  So Psalm 145 begins like this: hallelujah.  which translates to: “Praise the Lord”.

David loves this word.  Back in Psalm 103, he writes:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Psalm 103.8)

Here he attributes it to Moses, but until he makes his own purposes for the verse known.  Six times in Psalm 103 he begins a sentence with hallelujah.  I guess if you get stuck on repeat, that’s a great word to get stuck on.  Both are Psalms of Praise.

There is another type of Psalm that David wrote.  It’s called a Psalm of Lament.  These are Psalms that are written from deep despair and anguish.  They deal with the dirty issues of life.  He writes in Psalm 86:

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86.15)

It’s honest.  David is piecing together a prayer of quotations from other places: Exodus 34, Psalms 25, 26, 27, and others.  He is lamenting his current predicament.  Which predicament that is exactly is undetermined.  Is it the pursuit of Saul?  Is it the isolation?  Is it the Philistines?  Time and location aside, David prays and worships.  This is the prayer of a desperate man.  The Psalm begins:

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,

   for I am poor and needy.

Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;

   save your servant who trusts in you.

You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,

   for I call to you all day long. (Psalm 86.1-3)

and ends with this:

Turn to me and have mercy on me;

   show your strength in behalf of your servant;

save me, because I serve

   you just as my mother did.

Give me a sign of your goodness,

   that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,

   for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. (Psalm 86.16-17)

David is struggling to put together a few concepts and ideas.  The beginning and end of the Psalm is works-oriented: “save me because I served” (17), “guard me for I trust in you” (1).  In the middle, the Lord is a “gracious” and “compassionate” God.  It’s a question of justice.  Why are bad things happening to a good person?  He’s served and trusted, why are things going badly.  It is the exact opposite question posed in Jonah’s prayer.

Jonah 4 begins with Jonah in a bad place.  Verse 5 let’s the reader know that he went east of the city.  That’s code for “bad times”.  Anyone going east in the Bible is not having a good day.  So he is east.  And when he is east, he prays.

Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home?  That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.   I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4.2-3)

God did not destroy Nineveh for their sins and Jonah is upset.  It’s not that he has been tremendously faithful to God either; but it’s always easier to see the sin in others than in yourself.  Jonah laments about God’s justice.  Why do good things happen to bad people?  Jonah wants the Lord to know that he knew all along that this was going to happen.  So, in what I imagine would be a mocking tone, Jonah quotes Exodus 34.6 and part of verse 7.  Why is it mocking you may wonder?  Notice what Jonah leaves out at the junction of 6 and 7?  The “faithfulness” (’emet) of God.  In Jonah’s thinking: if God is for the Ninevites, He can be for Jonah/Israel.  Jonah is putting God perjury alert.  He is questioning God’s honesty…to be continued…

Vacation Bible School

20180523_124440Praise Day Bible Camp went by smoothly (outside of the Kindergarten kid who decided to jump and land on my foot). I was in charge of the Bible Story.  I recruited three young men to help me out and to make the day go quicker.  I can’t say enough good things about these young men.  Maddix, Max, and Caleb (with no advanced warning mind you) led small groups and Kagan activities, played the part of bouncer, and people listened.  I guess I shouldn’ be suprised that they taught like Maddix’s dad who is coaching his sprinters at state track; they disciplined and crowe control like Calebs dad, a county sherriff; and when they spoke to both students and adults, they listened, just like Max’s father.

“Like father,like son” can be a blessing or curse.  I was blessed today in sharing ministry with good men, because their fathers are good men.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6.4)

Graduation Sunday

20180520_154301I got up to give the sermon today on Graduation Sunday.  We had just honored those who would be graduating.  They were in their caps and gowns.  They stood out because the rest of the congregation didn’t wear their robes.  As I approached the music stand this thought crossed my mind:  THERE ARE BETTER SPEAKERS IN THE CROWD THAN THERE IS IN THE PULPIT.  Let me explain.

  • Carl Brunner is a National Forensic Finalist who is going to Washington D.C. for the National Tournament at the end of the Month.
  • Jama Gleue just won State with his Original Oration.
  • Laynae Beneshek gave the Salutatorian address that was compact, concise, and challenging.
  • Those plus Forensic competitors, John Price and Max Filinger, compose a talented roster of speakers.

I have never considered myself to be a great speaker.  I like teaching, but when it comes to manufacturing emotion and passion, I have never been that confident in my abilities.  I am, however, very confident in our youth and their abilities.  In the graduation reception line, I told them there would be one day where I just cash it in and let them handle the preaching…it may just be my last day on the job when the congregation see’s how good they really are.

The Next Step

The next step is always the scariest.  The next step could be the one where the earth falls from beneath you.

Genesis 15 records a conversation between Abram and God.  Abram is getting up there in years.  He is somewhere between 75 and 86 years old (Gen. 12.4; 16.16) and he has been on a journey.  He has been given the promise that his descendants would be “a great nation”, but that was many years back.  Is there an expiration date on the promises of God?  That would have been in the back of my mind.  But Abram now gets told that he will have a son, from his own lineage. (Gen. 15.4-5)

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Gen. 15.6)

Abram “believed” is in the Hebrew Hiphil tense meaning “caused to believe”.  Abram was convinced.  He seems like a man who can think differently about situations.  Later his name would be changed to Abraham (this is how he will be referred to from now on). This is how I reconcile the strange verse in Hebrews 11.17-19:

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned [gk. logizomai] that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from the dead.

The idea of bodily resurrection, let alone individual resurrection, would have been a revolutionary concept.  Abraham is an outside the box thinker.  He has convinced himself of God’s faithfulness to his promises.  Abraham takes the first step out of Ur on faith.  The next step is into the nursery with his son Isaac.  The next one is the first step to ascend the Mountain to kill the one walking behind him.

So what’s the next step on the journey?

Is it salvation?  It’s graduation Sunday.  All across Kansas, students will be turning their focus to college by 3 p.m. Sunday.  Thirty-two thousand students will walk across a stage towards a diploma this weekend.  A year from now, 60%, or 19,000 of them will walk away from their faith.

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Rom. 4.2)

Paul writes in Romans that it was salvation that Abraham stepped into in faith.  It was right-standing with God that Abraham walked into by trusting God.  The question had been posed: “was Abraham justified by works?” (2)  Could he have saved himself?  To that Paul points to the faith of Abraham as he argues in the previous paragraph:

For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. (Rom. 3.28)

Abraham is Paul’s case study for justification by faith.  In a world where love and trust are performance based, the idea of salvation in exchange for faith is a tough sell.  Maybe that is where it should start?

Is it Spirit-led?  Maybe salvation has happened, but “life” isn’t happening.  The Galatian Church was struggling with the same issue that plagued the Roman Church: “What saves a man?”  Was it “faith” or “works”?  Must the faith be followed by action?

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. (Gal. 3.6)

There is a difference between surviving and living.  That is what living with the Spirit brings.  Paul used Abraham as an example of salvation by faith alone in Romans; in Galatians, Abraham is an example of a Spirit-led/fed life.  He precedes the quote of Genesis with this question: 

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Gal. 3.5)

His answer: Abraham believed.  Great things happened because Abraham had faith.  He pairs this with another Genesis quote a sentence later:

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you!” (Gal. 3.8 quoting Genesis 12.3)

Being in-step/taking the first step with the Spirit changes lives.  It empowers middle schoolers to raise money to buy freedom for modern day slaves.  It challenges women to serve by making blankets for sex trafficked victims.  It encourages men to step up, step out and lead other men in study.  Is the next step, the same step Abraham took in Galatians; one of believing in a leading Spirit.

Is it disciple-making?  When writing to people scattered all over the Roman world about living as a Christian, one man wrote this in response:

Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. (James 2.23)

It was in the same context as other uses. It was a debate about faith vs. works.  James chimes in from left field.  He brings up Abraham but honors him for his action.  Check out the question he poses in verse 21:

Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did…?(James 2.21)

And you gasp!  Isn’t this the exact opposite of Pauline theology.  In Romans and Galatians, Abraham was righteous because he believed; however, James understood him as righteous because of what he did.

James is a book of activity.  Your faith must be animated, according to James.

  • “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” (1.22)
  • “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (1.27)
  • “What good is it, my brothers and sisters if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save them? (2.14)
  • “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (2.17-18)
  • “Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (3.13)
  • “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (4.17)

James has an agenda.  While Jesus was on this Earth, he doubted.  Now that Jesus has ascended, he is leading a church and a following of people trying to live like Jesus.  His advice:  live like Abraham.

First things, first:  salvation.  Second things, second:  letting the Spirit sanctify and animate.  Finally, we must discipline (notice the “disciple” in that word) our lives to that of Jesus.  Verse 22 brings the argument together:

You see that his [Abraham] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete [gk. teleioo] by what he did. (James 2.22)

The greek word translated “made complete” and its cognates aren’t rare in the New Testament.  James, however, only uses the idea 8 times in his book (teleios-1.4 [2x]; 1.17; 1.25; 3.2; teleioo-2.22; teleoo-2.8; telos-5.11).  The idea is that “the goal has been reached.”  It is the ending, not the beginning.  James understands that “what he did” (21) was the goal in mind (22) when the “belief” began (23).  Faith comes first, but isn’t finished until follow through.  Belief is where it all starts but it isn’t done until action takes place.  Do I have to be in church every Sunday?  Do I need to pray every day?  Do I need to study my Bible?  Can I drink alcohol?  Do I have to tithe?  All these questions are questions of works.  They are actions that are to done.  We are saved by faith and faith alone; but, a part of faith is “the doing” of something.

In Hebrews 11, what some have called the Hall of Fame of faith, Abraham is admonished for three things.  Each is preceded with these words: “By faith…” (Hebrews 11.8, 9, 17)  He left Ur and followed.  He stayed and made a home in the Promised land.  He was willing to sacrifice Isaac.  He was commended for all these things.  Rounding out the section on Abraham, the author of Hebrews writes:

Abraham reasoned [gk logizomai]  that God could even raise the dead…(19)

Logizomai is the same word translated “credited” in every one of the passages above.  It was “credited to him as righteousness”.  God counts righteousness to Abraham all because Abraham counted all on God.

Easier said than done right?

An Unhappy Mother’s Day

Mamă-şi-fică-în-apus-de-soareTread carefully this weekend: it’s Mother’s Day.

I have spent many years trying to figure out what this day meant.  Is it a celebration of all women, young or old?  Is it just for women who have children?  I have been in churches where scenes were made because deacons have tried to honor all women.  I have been in churches where women being honored took offense because people have asked when they were “due”; implying that they were pregnant.  One must tread lightly.

The worst, though, is the predicament of Hannah.  In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah has desired a child.  Her husband’s, Elkanah, other wife, Peninnah, kept giving him son’s and daughters, but Hannah was unable.  Peninnah saw the wound and kept opening it through mocking and provoking.  Elkanah continued to spoil Hannah, but without result.  She prayed and prayed and prayed for a child.

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” (1 Sam. 1.10)

Hannah prayed year after year for children.  Year after year the prayer returned unanswered.  So for years her bitterness increased.  Literally the Hebrew word is mar, from where marah comes from.  The place where the Hebrews could not drink the water in Exodus 15.23.  The thing about bitterness is that it doesn’t heal itself.  The Dead Sea is the way it is, is because water flows in, evaporates, and then leaves the salt.  There is no healing.

Not only is she bitter, but she is weeping.  Back to back this Hebrew word is used: bakah.  There are only 4 other places in Scripture where this word is used back to back with itself: Isaiah 30.19; Jeremiah 22.10; Lamentations 1.2; and Micah 1.10.  Isaiah uses it in the negative, referring to the understanding that Judah will weep no longer because of God’s quickness to assist them.   The rest are not so positive.  Jeremiah reminds his people of the great weeping that will come with exile.  Lamentations, also from Jeremiah’s pen, recounts the weeping of the once great city that has now fallen, Jerusalem.  Micah wants the people to know of the coming judgement and the feelings that will come with it.  There will be “weeping and weeping.”  The picture becomes clear:  the best word for Hannah is one of exile.  Her inability to have a child, puts her on the outside looking in.

“I am deeply troubled…I have been praying here out of my great anguish [siach] and grief [ka’as]” (1 Sam 1.15-16)

She is worn out.  As time goes on, stiffness ensues.  I remember getting out of bed and walking out of the house before it became a 20 minute stretching routine.  Hannah claims that she is: “a woman deeply troubled” (hb. ‘isah qeshat ruah ‘anoki).  Ruah is the Hebrew word for Spirit.  Geshat is the Hebrew word for stiff (a favorite word of Moses for the Hebrew people).  It’s a stubbornness.  She has been at it for years and the flexibility is gone.  Stiffness has set in.  She is so tired that she just needs come home and crash on the couch!  Its fitting that the word “anguish” (siach) here is the same word that Job uses when he seeks rest: “…my couch will ease my complaint (siach)” (Job 7.13)  Hannah needs to crash on the couch and get her feet up.

Finally she is ready to do something about it…but cant.  I have had a walking boot on for about 6 months.  If I have to tell the story of how it happened one more time, or get asked when it comes off, or have another person mention it; I’m going to explode!  The last word in the passage above is translated as “grief” [ka’as].  It’s used earlier in the chapter, verse 6, of the continual prodding by Peninnah (translated there as “provoke”).  She has hit wits end.  The continual nagging by this burden has taken its toll on her.  Every stroller she passes; every minivan door that opens; every facebook post is a reminder that she is inadequate in this area.

THAT IS SOMEONE IN THE PEW NEXT TO YOU THIS WEEKEND!  Every time a special day is celebrated…the scab/wound is reopened.  One in 8 couples will struggle with infertility.  According to the American Pregnancy Association, anywhere between 10-25% of pregnancies end with miscarriages.  Be reminded and be aware that Mother’s day wont contain a picnic for everyone.