As Is – No Warranty

3 05 2016

We recently had the opportunity (if you want to call it that) to look for a ‘new-to-me vehicle’. It became necessary because the transmission in our 12-year-old car started to fail. For many reasons we decided to replace the vehicle rather than fix it. So we were thrown into the not always so pleasant process of purchasing another vehicle. One common item that we saw throughout this process (because of the vehicles we were looking at) is a statement in the window that said, “As Is – No Warranty.”

as is

Now we all know what this statement means. It’s pretty simple really. ‘As Is – No Warranty’ means that there are no promises from the dealer to correct, fix, or otherwise repair any defects that the vehicle may have. You, as the buyer, assume all responsibility for the vehicle. I never did like that statement…As Is. It seems so calloused, so cold. It implies that nothing will be done when problems are encountered. And, let’s face it, when a pre-owned vehicle is in question there’s going to be issues.

As I pondered the meaning of what we were getting ourselves into…God started to impress something on my heart. As Is… It leaves you solely responsible for everything. You’re alone and on the hook for any problem, issue, concern, or anything else that may creep in. The cost of any repairs necessary is placed squarely on the shoulders of the buyer. No one else will come running to your rescue. It’s ‘As Is’ – just how you purchased it. Now…for an extra cost you can purchase an extended warranty. This will cover the vehicle for defects, issues, or whatever – of course depending on the warranty you purchase. The more you want covered…the more the warranty costs.

In life there are always issues, concerns, hardships and problems that crowd in. Sometimes it seems that just when one problem is corrected another issue surfaces. We were never promised a life without troubles though. Jesus told us just the opposite. “…In this world you will have trouble…(John 16:33).” Skeptics would call that an ‘As Is – No Warranty’ statement. No warranties of any kind are implied. The world we live in is going to bring about trouble, trials, and tribulation; and you’re on your own when facing all of them. Any solutions needed are up to you to find and implement. No one is going to help you out. Anyone left alone to face a trial or hardship can tell you that the one thing they would have liked is some help in the middle of it. If we listen to the skeptics they would continue to tell us that it’s just how the world is. We will always be on our own. “It’s you against the world,” they declare. “You might as well just deal with it.”

As Is – No Warranty.

The problem with this is the skeptics never read the last part of that verse. Jesus may have stated that we’re going to have trouble…but He never implied that He would leave us alone to face it. Look at the rest of that verse. “…But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” Jesus never stated that we would be alone. He says that there’s trouble coming…but that we don’t have to face it alone. It’s declared all throughout the Scriptures that we’re not by ourselves.surrender

• Deuteronomy 31:6 states that God will not leave us.
• Psalm 23 declares that we will never be in want.
• John 14:27 promises that Jesus will give us His peace.

These are just a few of the many statements that we’re not on our own in life. Life in Christ comes with an irrevocable statement from the Creator of the Universe that we will never be alone. Nothing more is needed. No extended warranties are necessary. All of the benefits of the new life in Christ are available the moment we ‘sign the deal’. In the used car world we will have to deal with As Is – No Warranty…but that’s never the case with life in Christ.

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Show Me Your Glory

21 11 2014

surrenderAs I sit here in Friday morning prayer a favorite worship song of mine is playing. It simply says, “Show me Your glory.” That’s something we all love to say. We want to bask in the glory of the Lord. But have we really ever wondered what it takes? Do we understand the requirements for the glory of God to be revealed?

I’m reminded of when Moses was on the top of the mountain with God. He was there day and night for 40 days. The Bible doesn’t say all that went on but we know that part of it was receiving the 10 Commandments from God. Then there is a conversation that is one of my favorites. It is found in Exodus 33. The conversation starts out with God being fed up with His people. Basically He says to Moses, ” Forget the promise I made to Abraham, these people don’t deserve it. I will make you into that nation.” To which Moses replied, “No. These are your people. How will anyone know that unless You go with us?” Of course this is paraphrased but you get the point. Moses is the only person anywhere in the Bible that talked that way to God and survived. He told God, “No,” and God listened. Jonah did that and was swallowed by a big fish.

What does this have to do with God showing His glory? It has a lot to do with it. This one conversation has several keys to seeing the glory of God revealed to us. One of the first things that I see is in Exodus 33:11. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend…” In order to have a friend you have to spend time with them. That’s the implication here. Moses didn’t go to God and give Him a punch list. He talked to God and listened to what He had to say back. He spent enough time with God that a deep relationship developed. Deep enough that Moses could tell God no and He would listen.

It's about relationship

Another thing that I see is that Moses heart was in the right place when he told God no. All too often we want to dictate to God when and where the glory should be according to our agenda. But this wasn’t how Moses did things. He understood the frustration God was feeling because they had talked. Moses reminded God about His promises and that others needed to see God when they saw His people. I wonder if our desire to see God’s glory is for the same reason. Are we chasing the warm fuzzies or are we hungry for a move of God that reveals to others who He is?

The final thing I see is that Moses always wanted deeper things of God. It wasn’t enough to sit in the Tent of Meeting and talk with God. It wasn’t enough that God listened to the things he said. Moses wanted more. He wanted to really see God. And God’s response to that can be found in Exodus 33:17, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’” What a statement! We know that God knows our name. He knows everything. But this is different. It’s a statement of intimacy of both ends of the relationship. Moses knows God almost as well as God knew him. That’s why Moses could ask to see God’s glory.

So back to the original question. Do we understand the requirements for the glory of God to be revealed? I believe that Exodus 33 details some of those requirements. If I want to see the glory of God then I have to be willing to put the work in to get to know God. It’s a tall order…but I’m willing to do it. What about you? Can you, like Moses, ask God to show His glory to you?





Right Where I Should Be

13 01 2014

Wow…how this month has flown by. We always talk about time flying by. It has certainly been the truth this past week. In case you didn’t know I have the privilege of starting in a new ministry position. I get to serve as the Children’s Pastor at Cape First Church in Cape Girardeau, MO. It is the first time in 20 years of ministry that I have not had to work bi-vocationally (work a ‘secular’ job along with pastoring). It is an amazing opportunity to get up every day and do what I love to do…minister to God’s people.

I have always wanted to be able to do just what I’m doing right now. The thing that really amazes me about all of this is how God works all things out. Paul put it this way, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 — NIV)” I shouldn’t be surprised about it…but I usually am. God has a way of doing things in us, for, us, and through, us that totally amaze us. This time is no different.

I guess the thing that amazes me the most is that God did for me what He has done for so many people we read about. He put me right where He wanted me…even when I thought it wasn’t possible. We read about Moses and how God repositioned him to lead the Israelite slaves from Egypt after running away as a fugitive. We see that He put Esther in the right place to save her people from genocide as the queen to a foreign king. We read of Elijah’s victory on Mount Carmel. All of these people were put right where God wanted them to be when He wanted them there.

Jesus was always at the right place at the right time. He had to go to Samaria one day to keep an unspoken appointment with a woman. That conversation changed not only her life but the lives of her entire village. He amazed a crowd when he called Lazarus out of his tomb…4 days after He was told Lazarus was sick. I heard someone say it like this, “He’s never early and He’s never late. He’s always right on time.”

Not only was Jesus on time then, He is on time in our lives. How many times has God given you just what you needed right when you needed it? Maybe it was some needed encouragement. Maybe it was an unexpected tax refund. Whatever it was God positioned you for the blessing to touch your life right when you would need it. That’s what He did for me. And that’s what He can do for you.

One of the songs the kids sing on Sunday has this line…”No matter what I’m staying right here!” Will you stay on the path God has you on in order for Him to place you where He wants you? Are you willing to walk through the fire and let Him refine you? Will you walk the path God lays out for you so He can place you? It may not be easy. It may involve some pain. But when you get to the place God wants you it will be nothing short of amazing.





It’s All New For All Of Us

30 12 2013

Image Credit: play.google.com

Well here we are again. It’s the end of another year. We see countless end of the year reviews. We see the year in pictures and hear interviews of the most interesting people of this past year. There is an anticipation of what is to come. An excitement of the new things that the next year will bring. At least for most people it’s this way.

There may be some who are reading this that are in anguish, hurt, or pain because of events this past year. The prospect of another year just means that they must work though more of that hurt and pain. Some of my friends are walking though circumstances right now that resemble this. For those individuals a new year is not exciting. There is apprehension and a longing simply to survive. They most likely won’t be celebrating on December 31.

It is to both of these groups that this post is directed. No matter our circumstances we all stand on the brink of one year ending and another one beginning. Whether the past year was filled with pain and heartache or full of excitement and adventure it is now passing. The next year is upon us. It is and will be what we make it to be.

Paul, when writing to the Corinthian church, said this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 — NIV)” Now I realize that this verse is talking about living life in Christ. Isn’t life lived inside of time though? Since we all know it is we can apply this verse (the last half of it) to this part of time in our life.

The old year is gone. It’s over. It’s spent. It no longer exists except in our memories. We can’t change anything about it. Sure it held some pain and hurt. If we look closely there were some good times (maybe even great times) too. But all of them are in the past. They’re gone. We have no way of living them over. I know I’m starting to sound like a scratched CD (or corrupted .mp3 or broken record…depending on your generation). I believe, however, that many times we hinder the growth that God wants to bring about in us because we fail to realize that the old is gone. We can remember the lessons the difficulties taught us and cherish the memories…but none of them can be changed. The milk is spilled.

Although the above is true (we can’t change the past) there is something that can be done about the future. We stand on the brink of an entirely new year. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s the same for every person on the planet. The Pope will wake up in 2014 with the same number of days in it you do. “…the new is here!”

Image credit: creativemama.com

Now…I’m not so sheltered to think that we could have hardships that follow us into the new year. We will all have trouble (John 16:33). I’m simply saying that we have a choice how this new year will be lived. We can look back and anchor ourselves to the past. Alternatively we can walk into the new year free to live life as it comes…enjoying the good and conquering the bad.

This coming year is new for all of us. None of us has seen it before. No one knows what it will bring. We all have the same opportunity ahead of us. 2014 is coming whether we want it to or not. It will march into each life the same way and it brings everyone the same thing…a fresh, clean start. How you greet it is up to you.





Really…Don’t Quit

16 12 2013

keep going“Hang in there.” “Don’t give up.” “You’ll make it.” We’ve all heard or said all of these things at least once in our life. I have heard them many times and have said them even more. They’re the default statements to our friends and family when in the midst of difficult circumstances. I really don’t like these statements though. Don’t get me wrong…I always appreciate encouragement…but it just seems like they’re the default things people say.

Most of the time we feel defeated, alone, and abandoned when we’re told these things by the well-meaning. Life has beat us up and we’re on the ropes waiting for the final knock-out blow. The crowd seems to be cheering for ‘the other guy’ and when we look in our corner it’s empty. So what’s the use? Why not give up? We’re done for anyway…right?

Over the last few days I have been listening to Tony Evans’ messages on stewardship. Really they were messages on sowing and reaping (great messages by the way…you should really listen). As he taught, I could tell God was trying to place something in me. Something that I could draw on in the times I’m ready to give up. And then I heard the verse that God had been getting me ready for. Are you ready for it?

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 — NIV)” That verse hit me really hard and it has been rolling around in my head ever since. As I thought about the implications God began to unfold something to me. It is this. Too many people have missed what God was trying to do because they gave up.

One of the things I had to do in Southern California was replant the lawn twice a year. We had to plant summer grass and winter grass. It had to be done every year and I hated doing it. It was a two-day ordeal and things looked horrible after I completed the task. Well…in the beginning it looked horrible. Part of the process was cutting the existing grass down to the dirt so that there was nothing left of the existing lawn. I then needed to plant grass that would survive in that particular season (summer or winter). If you asked me whether I liked how the lawn looked after I was finished with the process I would tell you that it was ugly. Why? Because nothing was there. It looked like a patch of dirt. But oh the joy when I came home from work and saw the first shoots of green grass growing!

Go back to Galatians 6. In today’s society we are accustomed to instant results. We have video on demand, fast food, microwave popcorn, and many other things at our fingertips. Some things though take time. It takes time to grow tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers in the back yard. It takes time for the seasons to change. It takes time for the California Redwoods to grow to their splendor. It’s not instant. There’s a proper time for it to come about. If the tomatoes were picked too soon they wouldn’t taste good.

It is no different in life. There is a proper season for EVERYTHING that comes about. God hasn’t forgotten about us and is carefully keeping an eye out for the proper time..HIS proper time. Sometimes though it depends on us. We have a say in whether that proper time comes about. As much as we don’t want to hear it…don’t quit. Really. Hang in there. Your proper time is coming! God made a promise and He intends to keep it. Just don’t quit.





It’s Not The Answer I Wanted

20 11 2013

There’s a line from one of the kid’s songs in church that has been stuck on my mind. It reads, “God answers prayer 3 ways, Yes, No, or Not today.” As I thought about that God started whispering something to my heart. I could tell He was asking a difficult question. “Will you still follow Me if I tell you, ‘No’?” So I started letting my mind ponder the question. And we all get the benefit of that pondering.

Image Credit: wikimedia.org

My kids ask me questions all the time. It seems that of these questions, many times it’s questions of, “Can I have something?” or “Will you do something for me?” As a parent I sort of expect these questions. They’re a part of life and of parenting. Your kids grow to expect that they can ask anything of their parent(s). We see the same example in Scripture. God tells us over and over that we can approach Him with our requests.

  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 — NIV)”
  • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 — NIV)”
  • “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 — NIV)”

There is always a look of expectancy when my kids ask if they can have something. I can see it in their eyes. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “You’re the greatest dad in the world. I’ll love you forever if you grant this request.” There are many times I grant the request. Sometimes, however, the answer crushes their hopes. It’s the answer they were dreading…”No.” Suddenly they are faced with the reality that what they were hoping and waiting for is not coming.

If we’re honest with ourselves we’ll admit that we do the same thing to God. We happily and boldly approach the throne and present our request. It’s wrapped up in prayers, praise, and petition. Sometimes we put a bow of thanksgiving on it for good measure. Then we wait expectantly saying, “You’re the greatest God in the Universe. I’ll love you forever if you grant it.”
We love the ‘Yes’…but what happens when we get the other answers? We are faced with a choice at that very moment. Will we allow resentment to creep in or understand that we don’t see the entire picture?

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, faced this very thing (see 2 Corinthians 12). There was something that he desperately wanted God to say, “Yes.” to. It was so huge in his life that he asked 3 times. Every time God’s response was the same. No. This great apostle was denied a request. Instead he was told that God’s grace is sufficient to get him through (2 Corinthians 12:9). He was forced to realize that he needed to rely on God for the strength to endure it.

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It should be the same thing with us. All too often we fall into the rut of using God as a supernatural vending machine. When God pushes us to rely on Him (by saying ‘no or wait) we get frustrated and upset. Instead we should be rejoicing because every parent knows that ‘No’ means something better is coming. A child asks for a toy on December 1 and the normal response is, “Wait…Christmas is coming.” Remember that “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him…(Romans 8:28 — NIV)” Don’t be disappointed when you hear God say ‘No’ or ‘Wait’. Though it may not be the answer you were expecting remember that He will walk through it with you. And something way better is waiting for you down the road.





Today is the Day

18 11 2013

What a weekend! It went by faster than I could have imagined. Not just because I’m getting older but because it was packed with stuff. We’ve all had weekends like that. Last weekend was the Extreme Kids Retreat at church. My daughter went and I volunteered to help. I actually got to lead the worship Friday night and taught the first session on Saturday morning. It was a blast! Seeing kids having fun worshiping and learning about God does something in my heart. I start to understand what Jesus meant about letting the children come to Him. There were no reservations about jumping around, making noise, and just being real in church. I think the adults could learn a few things from them.

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Then the alarm went off this morning. Ugh…Monday. Why does it have to start so early? Why can’t the weekend be longer? I’m exhausted! But it’s a new day. I was reminded of this again this morning as I got up and drug myself to the shower to try to wake up. God was tugging on my heart…trying to teach me something about the dreaded Monday morning. “Today is a day I have made,” He whispered to my heart. But it’s Monday. I have to get up and go to work. It’s early. I would rather stay in bed and sleep. I worked for You all weekend. Can’t you hear me whining in my best selfish-6-year-old voice?

But as He always does…God worked on my heart and reminded me of something. He reminded me that every day is an opportunity to experience His presence. It was a great weekend. Children’s lives were touched by His Word and through worship. But that event has passed. This is a new day with new opportunities to touch God’s heart again.

We live in a culture that waits for the weekend. Monday is a day to be dreaded and Friday is a day to be celebrated. Sunday is spent worrying about how we will make it through another jam-packed week of work to the weekend. We have our head down and our ‘nose to the grindstone’. The problem with that position is that we miss the scenery that God brings into our lives. We want to relax so much that we miss the moments that could take our breath away — no matter what day it is.

shine-through“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 119:24 — NLT)” You were expecting that verse at some point, weren’t you? It’s the verse that God reminded me of this morning as I tried to wake up — hitting snooze on the alarm dreading the start of Monday morning. As I drove to work though my perspective began to change. I thought of the things that God did in the lives of the kids over the weekend. I thought of all the things that God COULD do in my life and the lives of others through me today. Suddenly I wasn’t dreading the start of the week. Although it’s Monday morning…it could be a good day because God made it. And anything that God makes is good (see Genesis 1).

Newsong sings one of my favorite songs ever, Red Letter Day. It talks of making each day a Red Letter Day because in today’s Bibles the words that Jesus spoke are emphasized in red ink. Essentially they are saying that today is going to be a day where Jesus speaks. I want every day to be that way. I don’t want to wake up one more day dreading what’s coming. Instead I want to let Jesus speak…to me and through me. I will rejoice in today because God made today.





Worth The Wait

5 11 2013

I hate waiting. Well…most of the time I do. We live in a ‘give it to me now’ culture where everything seems to be instant. Technology is speeding along and whisking us away in its wake. We have On Demand video, instant mac-and-cheese, and drive through convenience stores. Amazon lets you shop for anything you want without leaving your home. Walmart is installing self-checkout lines so you don’t have to wait in the checkout line. No one likes to wait for anything any more.

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My kids are the epitome of not waiting. They ask me something and my response is, “Let me think about it.” Five minutes later they’re asking if I have made up my mind. They don’t want to wait!

On the other hand it seems like all God does is make us wait. Why can’t God figure it out? Why can’t He see that’s not how it’s done anymore. We don’t wait. We want what we want and we want it NOW! But is that the best thing for us? Not always. There are times when waiting is best. Waiting for a baby to be born is best. Waiting for cookies to bake is best. Waiting for the dough to rise is best. It’s not easy…but it’s best.

No one gives us a better example of waiting than David. The Psalms are packed with instances where he was in the middle of something and called out to God…and waited.

  • In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3 — NIV)
  • Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. (Psalm 38:15 — NIV)
  • I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1 — NIV)

We need to take a lesson from our kids. We make them wait for things that we place into their lives. It teaches them appreciation for things. It teaches them patience and hard work. It builds character. All the things we learned about parenting we have received from our Heavenly Father. He is trying to instill the very same things in us.

I get it…we don’t like it. On the other hand if we got everything we wanted when we wanted it there would be no trust in Almighty God to provide for us. We would not have the realization that what we wanted was not good for us at the time. The lessons that we needed to learn before receiving the blessing would not be learned and the point would be missed.

One day in prayer I was telling God how ready I was to move into the next phase of ministry. I was earnest and sincere. God’s answer was plain. “No you’re not. If you move now you will not survive it.” I didn’t realize how right He was until years later when I was in the middle of a ‘church firestorm’. As the senior pastor it was my responsibility to deal with it. Had God not made me wait and develop things that were needed I would not have gotten through it.

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God is not making us wait to torture us. He is developing in us what is needed to shine for Him. He hears every prayer, every request, everything that we ask. Sometimes He makes us wait for the good things. In those times, though, we need to be like David. We wait patiently for the Lord because he ALWAYS hears our cry and when He answers…it will be worth the wait.





I Should Have Known

22 10 2013

I learned something this week. Yes…it’s still possible for me to learn new things. I learned that I’m not nearly as adept at riding a scooter as my 15-year-old son. I have the wounds to prove it. I’d post pictures but they’re not for the faint of heart so I’ll spare everyone. As I try to mend my wounds and care for the bruises I received I look back at what happened with the clarity that I should have had in the first place.

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It’s funny how, after something happens, we can look back on it and see the warning signs that should have caught our attention in the first place. They were so obvious. How could we have missed them? Well it’s like everything else we do at times — we saw them but ignored them. I knew better than to try to ride a scooter that was thinner than my size 10 foot. I should have stopped when my kids encouraged me to ride down the concrete and asphalt hill. I should have known that I couldn’t control a vehicle that I had to bend over to ride. I should have known…

Isn’t that like life though? We see something that we want to get or want to do. We know better but we ignore the warning signs. They’re all there, screaming at us to stop, look around, and assess the situation before we jump in. Instead of doing that, though, we just jump. Sometimes it’s at the urging of friends or family. At other times it’s because we just want something. When it happens, though, pain is in the future.

David did this. He ignored the obvious signs and stayed in the palace when he should have gone to battle with the troops. “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army…But David remained in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 11:1 — NIV)” He should have been with the army. He should have been leading. He should have…well, you get the picture.

The first thing that happened to tell me that things were going bad was the rate at which I picked up speed. Things started happening really fast at that point. The front wheel started to shudder and things were going to get really ugly, really fast. The next thing I remember is sliding on the asphalt and having part of my forearm and knee sanded down to lower layers of skin. As I laid there I thought, “Why did I try this?”

Unfortunately I have done the same thing in life. I ignored the warning signs and find myself lying there in pain. Fortunately God doesn’t just leave us there to wallow in misery. His grace and mercy are such that, though we do really dumb things, He helps us back up after we fall. He did with David. If you keep reading through the Old Testament you will see that God constantly compares other kings to David.

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“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God…(Psalm 40:3 — NIV)” He puts a new song in our mouth…one that bypasses the guilt that we can and do feel when poor decisions are made. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3 — NIV)” He picks us up and bandages the wounds and continues to walk with us. The pain that they teach is invaluable experience that He writes on our heart.

As my forearm heals from its sanding down it serves as a reminder of something not to do. The wounds God binds up may be healing but they also serve as reminders of when I should have known better but didn’t. I’m just thankful that He loves, heals, and teaches me in spite of my mistakes.





We Don’t See The Roots

17 10 2013

Last night we were talking about Joseph in my men’s group and it got me thinking about something. The discussion centered around when Joseph was thrown in prison for making a right decision. You can read the story here. Now most of us can see the injustice of what happened to Joseph. So it stands to reason that we could ask why it happened.

questionWhy? It’s a question that we learn to ask at a young age. Both my son and daughter went through the ‘why stage’. Everything I requested of them was met with the frustrating question, “Why?” So I learned every parent’s answer to their young children, “Because I said so!” Unfortunately we carry that tendency to ask why into our adult life and feel that we are owed an explanation to the frustrations it brings. Many times, though, we never get it and we shake our fist in demand that our question be answered.

If we look at Joseph, though, we never see that he asked why. He had a valid reason to. He had made the right decision. He stood with integrity. He ran from evil. So why did he end up in prison? In our own life we may have done the same things. Our integrity prevails and we are passed over for a promotion. We are faithful to our family and it is still ripped apart. When these things happen our mind (and sometimes our spirit) screams, “WHY?!?”

As I listened to the discussion God dropped a picture into my heart. In my mind’s eye I could see a seed that sat underground. As it began to grow the first thing that happened was the root system was established. I was beginning to understand. Before a tree grows into a majestic sequoia it must put out roots underground that can support that growth. Before an apple tree can bud and produce apples its roots must be healthy enough to allow the fruit production. The growth of the roots happened underground out of sight. Without the root, though, there’s no fruit.

When I lived in Southern California we had to scalp the grass every summer. This is the process of cutting the grass down to the dirt and re-seeding it with grass that can withstand the sweltering desert heat. For weeks I would water the lawn and nothing happened. No grass was growing. Well…not that I saw. The roots had to grow first so that it could support the blades of grass that would sprout up providing the lush, green lawn. Without the roots growing first we would never see the grass.

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Paul talks about this very process to the Ephesians. “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, (Ephesians 3:17 — NIV)” We’re rooted and grounded in love…God’s love. And the circumstances and situations that come about in life are establishing things in us that will support the growth that God wants to bring. Without the prison Joseph would have never gotten to the palace. We can say the same thing. Without the difficulties we would never be rooted in God enough to support the places He wants to take us.

So instead of asking why I’ve started asking what. “What do I need to learn?” “Where are you trying to take me?” These questions are more appropriate to what’s happening because God doesn’t waste anything. Just like in Joseph’s life he brings things about (or uses things that happen to us) to take us from the prison to the palace. Just remember that we can’t always see the growth of the roots. But if you see the tree know that the roots are there supporting it.








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