During the development of the launch vehicle program I worked on at NASA, we ran into an issue on how we were going to safely transport the Upper Stage from its manufacturing facility in south Louisiana around the coast of Florida to the launch pad. The vehicle was going to see much different environmental conditions during transport than what the rocket was designed to see during launch and flight.
We brainstormed lots of different ideas on how to properly (and cost effectively) package the vehicle for shipment on the barge. In those moments, all ideas are brought to the table, no matter how crazy they may seem initially. However, eventually those ideas must be sifted through reality to determine which idea is workable.
There always came a point where it mattered which idea we would implement. Not every idea would be pitched to the chief engineer because not every idea was equal.
Last week was a very difficult week for me personally. It felt like the perfect storm where all things surrounding me had spiraled desperately out of control. I fell into despair and wondered where God was in the midst of each of these situations. It was a very dark place for me, and for a time, I forgot that our battle in this world is not against flesh and blood but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12). We are in a spiritual battle and I failed to recognized that I was standing in the line of fire. I was listening to the lies of Satan about me and about each of these situations, and it felt overwhelming and depressing.
And as I cried out loud, “Please help me God, where are you??” I saw Him reveal Himself in four specific and clear ways throughout the week, even in the middle of my despair. I won’t share about each of them because some are very personal to me. But I did want to share one amazing way God touched me this past week. God led me to a particular sermon by David Platt that I desperately needed to hear.
In Matthew 18:21-22 Peter asks Jesus about how often he should forgive someone who has wronged him. Peter thinks he’s going above and beyond when he was willing to forgive someone seven times. But Jesus blows his mind when He says, “Not seven, but seventy times seven,” which basically means always. Always? Forgive? I’ve recently found myself asking this very question. “Lord, how many times must I forgive this person??” And the answer comes back to me from this passage: “Always.”
If we’re all really honest with ourselves, this has got to be the hardest part of living the Christian life. Forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do, especially when the person has not even asked for forgiveness. But it is something we are commanded to do because our own forgiveness is at stake – whether there is an apology or not. Jesus always connects our forgiveness of other people to the forgiveness that we hope to receive ourselves. In the Lord’s Prayer it says, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
That’s a tough verse to read. Is my forgiveness really conditional on how well I forgive others?
A Day at the Clinic
A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine messaged me that she wanted to get more involved with the efforts to end abortion. She is an amazing prayer warrior and such a Godly woman so I was thrilled she wanted to know how to get involved, and more importantly, how her church can get involved. We need more churches actively fighting to end abortion. As I heard one woman say, “Christians are the reason abortion still exists.” That is so sad yet so true.
Christian individuals and Christian churches must take action to abolish abortion. However, too many are absolutely silent on this issue! They may say they are “pro-life” because they support pregnancy centers, but they won’t openly expose the evil truth about abortion. And it takes addressing both sides of this issue for us to abolish abortion and save the lives of the innocent unborn.
I shared with my friend several different ways she can get involved in the fight to end abortion.
I have been reading through a book with my children telling the life stories of great heroes of the Christian faith. It has short biographies of people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Bunyan. This week we have been reading about the life of Peter Cartwright. He lived from 1785 to 1872 and was a traveling minister as this fledgling nation began to move westward.
Oftentimes there weren’t enough townspeople, or even enough of a town, to support their own church minister, so ministers would “ride the circuit” where they would travel around the area holding tent revivals and church camps. Peter Cartwright was known for being bold in standing firm on true biblical doctrine, even confronting the stereotypical charlatans trying to dupe people out of money by peddling a false doctrine. But more importantly, he was known for speaking out against the institution of slavery.