Thursday, June 10, 2010

THE WORD matters...

A few months back I recieved an invitation to spend a week at the beach with an old friend, "D", to celebrate her birithday.

“Read a devotion to the group of us…”

Well that’s easy, I thought after reading D’s invite. I write devotions for a living…of course I am still a starving artist, but here goes…or not. I thought about it for months…I prayed about it, hit or miss…and now here I am about to get ready for it and I got…nothen’. Sigh.

Ocean City, NJ…That’s it!

I know about OC NJ because of D…I know about St. James Place in Ocean City, NJ because of D…some of our happiest memories as a family are here because of D…I even get to have memories of my Dad there.

That first year we came to OC my dad came down to spend a few days. He took the bus to Atlantic City and took a cab to Ocean City to look for St. James Place where we were staying…he didn’t have the address but figured he’d see the mini van and find us. Only a man who had spent his life as an adeveture would have that kind of hutzpa to go to a town where he knew no one and hope he’d find his family.

He found us sure enough and we went to dinner and Dad ordered a beer.
"Yeah, um Dad, this is a dry town. "
I wish you could have seen the look on his face. Priceless.
“What ring of Hell am I on?” He asked. “Why am I here? You need to take me back to Atlantic City right now!”
We didn’t and he survived his three days OC. And I get to have the memories of him sitting on the front steps of our place, playing with his favorite people ever…the grands. That was just about 9 years ago…I know that for a fact and yes, I can tell you what we were all wearing.

So what in the world does this have to do with a devotion…I am getting to it, be still and know that I am the writer! It’s just that I write the way I talk, so sit….

Ocean City was D’s gift to my family. There was no way she could have known it would become our place. That for my family OC means summer is here. She could not have known that it became a comfort in the year after 9/11 to find a place where people still laughed in the sunshine and rested on the beaches. She could not have known that in the year after we lost my dad and MIL that this would be our refuge from our new life, in our new house that still didn’t feel like home, but the beach was still there and Oaves restarunt was still there and the Tabernacle Church was still there and life went on…
Throughout the almost decade my family has made Ocean City our summer place. It does not matter what house we rent or how far the walk is to the beach…the constants remained the same in the equation of time…OC is a stability in our lives.

For me, Ocean City is a reminder that what we share with others affects there lives. Some of our words are so powerful, they can save a life….

I don’t think it is a coinsitence that Jesus is called “The Word made flesh”>>>>He is the “Living Word”…We study “The Word”. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Many years ago I had told my daughter that if a friend asks her not to tell me something and it feels sneaky, that she is tell the friend no. A real friend has no right to put her relationship with me in danger....I had forgotten about that conversation until I overheard her say those very words to a friend on the phone. WOW! She heard me! My words did matter to her and it was another mommy who taught me that when she shared her own words of wisdom, gained from another mom who learned it from another mom...

I had every sense of making this a nice light devotion...until I called D to RSVP for the beach trip. She is in a season and a half of pain, a season of Job proportions.
She cried with me on the phone yesterday and asked where our God is in the middle of a season when everything has gone to pot? Why does He not answer? What if His answer is no? How could things be this bad when she has spent her life serving Him?

I prayed with her but I didn't offer one single pat answer. I didn't fill her in on how to make it all better and to just trust. I honestly believe her life is like a chicken cutlet that has been beaten between two pieces of wax paper. Broken is every protein in her faith. Just broken.

I found it mind boggling that, while others have told her they are praying, in the weeks since her season of pain began, no one had actually prayed WITH her. Our words matter in prayer. They are not empty wishes to a big blank sky.

Over the years I have been friend's with D we have watched friends leave the Lord...not just fall but walk away from Him. Like the Word honestly got choked by the weeds of worry in the world, leaving us wondering if it was ever real at all. How could someone we have prayed with and served with go on to walk away from not only God but her family?

We have watched our friends morn their children's walking away from Him completely...In a lost and fallen world how do we love the broken hearted? How do we minister to the hearts of our friends when our biggest worries are no longer will the kids potty train by kindergarten?

I can only say that I know His WORD does not return void...I know that because He said so and either every word in the WORD is true or He is liar. Nope, I still believe.

What we say matters because what He says matters. He is the THE WORD and He is.

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