Never Messed With

Written by cycleguy on November 16th, 2010

The other day I started reading a book that has been on my desk of “To Read” for a few weeks but since I am generally a one-book-at-a-time type of reader, it sat wooing me.  Since I finished my last book over the weekend (see here), I am now able to start it.  (I was “cursed” with the inability to multi-task and that includes reading more than one book at a time at the office).  Anyway, the book I started two days ago is When God Breaks Your Heart by Ed Underwood.  Ed is the pastor of Church of the Open Door in California and also the author of the groundbreaking (to me) book Reborn to be Wild. This book is about Ed’s battle with a form of leukemia called Sezary syndrome-a type of leukemia that is a late and ominous development of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that results in extreme itching, loss of skin and has the potential for extensive organ involvement.  You can read more here. Sorry if that grosses you out.  The book is Ed’s struggle with the “absence of God” through this whole thing (going on for over 9 years now).  In fact, you can read a little about his struggle here. My post today though is not about his struggle with the disease.  It is about something else he learned.

I will admit that there have been times I have felt that I am being trifled with.  I hope that doesn’t sound too sacriligious to you but I am being honest here. Sometimes I have wondered if I am just a small fish in God’s big pond and that God is just dangling the bait just out of reach.  I flop and struggle for meaning and a sense of His presence in my everyday goings-on, but it seems as though I never latch on.  Truth be told: while I have had some tough times I cannot say that I have suffered as others have-an Ed or a Joni or someone else with a debilitating illness.  But there have been times God has been extremely silent and I have screamed just to touch the hem of His garment.  Been there? Ed has been and is.  Far more than I have.  But I read something he wrote that struck a chord within me.  I am still digesting it so this thought will be incomplete.  Here is what he writes:

Jesus never messes with His followers.

His book is finding its teaching from Jesus and the story of Lazarus.  It appears that Jesus is oblivious to His friends’ dilemma and is just toying with their hearts.  But Jesus is not into those games by messing with our minds.  Or our hearts. Especially our hearts.  And here is the point Ed brought out and what filleted me:

When we begin to doubt His wisdom, we need to think about His glory.

When we begin to doubt His care, we need to think about His love.

Doesn’t sound like much, but give it some thought.  I like what radio Bible teacher, Steve Brown once said, “Never doubt in the dark what God has taught you in the light.”  Steve always closes his program with these words: “You think about that.”  I will borrow that phrase with this post: “You think about that.”  And while you are thinking if you care to share any thoughts you may have I would love to hear.

ATTENTION: As I stated in the last post, AT&T has shut off our internet at the office.  (I spent over 40 minutes on hold yesterday and spoke to one live person within the first 10 minutes.  After that it was some of the worst music ever!)  Long story short, I will approve comments and respond when I get to the house during the day.  Thanks for understanding.

ONE LAST REQUEST: Chad and Terri Dow and their two children, Dalen and Annalei, are part of the church community I pastor.  You can read Terri’s blog here.   Dalen is their “natural” child and Annalei is their adopted child.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) the whole family heads off to China to adopt another child.  You can read about MeiLynn (Age eight) at the family blog and if you go here you can read about their time in China. Would you please pray for their safety, for MeiLynn’s new home, and for the trip to go smoothly?  They will get to meet her next Monday for the first time.  Thanks.


18 Comments so far ↓

  1. Tom Raines says:

    Thinking about it Bill. I can’t imagine what those with these diseases have to endure but am amazed at the strength and power they reveal of God. Yes praying for the family as my co worker is also attempting to adopt from China. Thanks and good luck with AT&T!

    • cycleguy says:

      Ed has a powerful testimony for sure. I sometimes wonder if I would have that strength. My brother and his wife adopted a little girl back in 2003 from China. Hoping your coworker has the chance as well. Thanks Tom for commenting.

  2. Jim F. says:

    I have thought the same thing as you – being a small fish in God’s pond. I think it is about focus and that is really what both Ed’s and Steve’s comment do – they refocus on the important things when we get distracted by the unimportant thing.

    Good thoughts.

    Good Luck with AT&T.

    I have friends who adopted a child from China – it is an awesome thing and an awesome story. Praying for a wonderful and safe trip them.

  3. Ed Underwood says:

    Hey Bill–I sure appreciate these kind words about When God Breaks Your Heart. I do pray that your readers will find some comfort in the principles that surface from John 11. Thanks. Ed

    • cycleguy says:

      You’re welcome Ed. I am really getting some good stuff from it. I am hoping others will check it out. Thanks for coming by. Always an honor.

  4. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,

    It is difficult to understand God in the hard times. We think that God should always make our life easy. This was Job’s dilema in his terrible situation. I think in some way this was Jesus’ dilema hanging on the Cross. ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’

    At times like these we do feel very small in God’s big pond. We do feel that the bigger plan overrides our needs with God and that God is distant and too preoccupied to know what’s going on with us or to pay attention. that we don’t really matter that much.

    I think after all the wisdom of the day was spoken by Job and his contemporaries, Job came down to this conclusion ‘though he slay me I will trust in him’.

    He then seems to come to this amazing understanding of things after bringing his case before God and ends up confessing his ignorance and improper accusations against God. Job is rewarded and compensated 10 fold later. Sometimes we question whether this would be enough. God knows.

    We are here for 70 years. Eternity is ahead, we have to remember that we are going to a place that we don’t fully understand right now, God does. We have to trust that.

    I love the quotes you have provided above in your blog site for today. They are awesome!
    I think these quotes are worth memorizing.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are right Linda. Times do get tough. I am continually amazed (and shouldn’t be) how truly awesome God is and how much He comes through. Glad you like the quotes and wish I could take credit for them. 😛 Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. Jason says:

    Absolutely I have felt as if God has been jacking me around in this life. I described it as Him giving me a “walk on, non-speaking part in the play of life.” I felt as if He would build me up to something I’d see as great only to let it fall apart at the last minute.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve said “I don’t see how a God who claims He’s love can do something like that.”

    Now, having gone through one of the darkest seasons I’ve faced (and thankfully one of the shortest, thank you God) I can see that He’s always there working and His glory is what’s important.

    Still, in the back of my mind, I’m asking Him to finally throw a few blessings my way that I’ve been asking for since the Clinton administration. 🙂

    • cycleguy says:

      Jason: I suspect many of us have been through that but we can also say with certainty that we/I have found god faithful. Thanks for the comment.

  6. jasonS says:

    That’s a really important topic very succinctly stated. He doesn’t mess with us. He is always our Helper and Deliverer. He prunes, yes, but always for greater growth. Love this post.

    Thanks Bill. And praying for the adoptive family going to China. Definitely something close to my heart!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for the prayers for the family. I know they will appreciate them. I also know that adoption is close to your heart. 😛

  7. I think we are on the same path today my friend.I am pondering the same things. I hear you. You encourage me.
    So glad I know you, love ya too!

  8. Michelle says:

    Bill I can certainly relate to that feeling of being “played with”. I wonder at times if I am just a pawn in a game that God is playing. I am short sighted. I can’t explain what God is doing, but I don’t have his knowledge and wisdom to see that He is just. I have only been shown a certain amount of wisdom, by God’s grace because He didn’t have to show me any, and I don’t know it all. I can’t see the entire picture. So its a constant battle to not feel that way for me. To feel like I’m just here to be some kind of game piece in god’s game. It’s hard and I wish I could just automatically always think the best of God. I am working on it.

    • cycleguy says:

      Michelle: Been following your blog for so long and still just don’t have the right words to say or know what to say. Except you are in my prayers and thoughts. I am glad to hear you are working on it and not giving up. never give up…please! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  9. Kim says:

    Definitely have been there – feeling lost and wondering why me?

    That simple phrase of Ed’s says a whole lot.