Is God Big Enough?

The first week of nursing school and we were a little scared, excited, and hopeful—all at the same time.  Several of my new friends and I gathered around some seniors who would soon graduate and enter the workforce as registered nurses; hanging on every word, listening in awe as they spoke of diseases and treatments that were far beyond our comprehension.  Yet, even as we sat spellbound, longing for such wisdom, they began talking about how unprepared they felt to leave the safety net of our school and enter the world of nursing on their own.  But how could these smart, efficient women doubt themselves?  They seemed so knowledgeable and competent to our untrained minds.

Fast forward just a few short years, as my roommate and I were getting ready to go to our own graduation ceremony, sitting on our beds with those brilliant white caps in our hands—caps that for the first time ever were adorned with the black velvet stripe signifying that we were no longer just students but graduates of the LA County School of Nursing.  Our conversation mirrored that of those other seniors—we felt so unprepared; we didn’t know enough; we weren’t experienced enough; and what if we made a mistake that harmed someone?  Yes, we were excited, but at the same time overwhelmed—the responsibility just seemed too huge to contemplate.

Recently I came across my photo of a giant chair that is displayed in front of a home furnishings store somewhere in New England.  It reminded me of those old nursing school doubts, as well as the many challenges since, when life’s issues seemed beyond me; because as big as that chair is, I know that it’s still way too small for God.  He is sufficient to handle all that concerns me, as well as all that concerns everyone else in the world, without even lifting a finger.  Nothing is too big for Him.

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”  Mark 4:37-41

Yes, who can this be?  If He can calm an angry sea with a gentle command, surely He can calm the storms that threaten to wreak havoc in my life.  Surely He is big enough.  His name is Jesus.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.  Psalm 55:22a

Melodies of Love

“It’s the time of the season for loving.”  The phrase played over and over in my mind like a broken record, and I had to laugh—who’d ever think the LORD would use the Zombies’ song from the 60s—a song that exemplified the “summer of love”—to croon a message to one of His children.

Often, especially when life seems difficult, the LORD comfort’s me with music; sometimes a whole song and other times just a phrase.  While it may be an old hymn or a contemporary worship song, it’s just as likely to be popular music with no seemingly spiritual message; at least not until He sings it to me.

On one occasion, my life was in turmoil and I awoke to hear selected phrases from two songs.  First, “…angels doing cartwheels in the sky…” set to the music of Freddy Hayler’s, Song of Angels; followed by a lullaby, “…and the living is easy…hush little baby, don’t you cry,” from Gershiwn’s Summertime.  Just God’s way of saying, “Relax, calm down, laugh, be patient,” I guess.

On another morning, He professed His love as I heard His voice, sounding remarkably like Nat King Cole, crooning, “I Remember You; You’re the one who made my dreams come true…You’re the one who said ‘I love you too’…Didn’t you know?”   Who ever knew God is such a romantic?

One night I had a dream in which I was surrounded by a bunch of friendly, soft, cute, furry, little smurf-like creatures in a worship service.  I’d never seen anything quite like them before.  There were all ages—one adult especially seemed to be an old friend, and there were lots of babies; even three sets of triplets.  What fun!  As I awoke I heard, “All creatures of our God and King; lift up your voice and let us sing; Hallelujah, hallelujah.”  Hallelujah Indeed!

Another time, waking from a dream involving cars it was, Baby You Can Drive My Car.  How could I not begin the day laughing with “beep beep’m beep beep yea” echoing through my mind?

Six years ago, as I was battling breast cancer and feeling overwhelmed, it was Let’s Get Away From It All, and I’d soon find a quiet place of rest in my LORD.  Or I’d make it through a difficult day and hear, “There She Goes; there she goes again.”

My Father always keeps his eye on me.  Indeed,

I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.   He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

My response is to sing back to him in praise and thanksgiving, “How great is my God; sing with me; how great is my God; all will see; how great, how great is my God.”

Stormy Seasons


It has been a dark and stormy season in my life, yet each time I feel like I just can’t go any farther, the light of my LORD shines through to illuminate my path.

Several months ago, after an unwelcome emergency hospital stay, I was advised to have a major surgical procedure.  Needless to say this was not a concept that I embraced with joy; but finally a wise and compassionate doctor said to me, “Barbara, you’re a walking time bomb—you really don’t have a choice.”  So I reluctantly agreed and scheduled a date for surgery, but once the decision was made I fumed and complained to God almost nonstop.  Then I began to wonder how Jesus could have handled the knowledge of what lay ahead for Him at the cross, even as He ministered to others without complaint.  How did He keep from getting so depressed about His future that He couldn’t function or, at the very least, go around with a grumpy why-me attitude?  Yes, I knew He spent many hours alone in prayer, as evidenced repeatedly in scripture, but there seemed to be something I was missing because no matter how much I prayed I didn’t seem to be finding a lot of comfort.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.  Mark 1:35

And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.  Mark 6:46

Finally one day I “happened” across Hebrews 12:1-2, a scripture I’ve studied more times than I can count:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

But now the phrase, “Jesus…for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” jumped out at me as never before.  Jesus was focused on the joy that was ahead, not the agony.  So I determined that if Jesus is really my example and if my life is really about being conformed to His image, then I’d better just get over it and start focusing on:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

Amazingly I immediately lost the sense of dread and, while I still didn’t like the idea of surgery, I was able to look beyond it.

So now I’m finally about two weeks post-op, yet all around it seems dark and stormy again.  My recovery continues to be difficult and I’m certainly not where I’d hoped to be by now, so here I am “preaching to the choir;” reminding myself once again that I can still trust God, and I’m pressing into Him to try and figure out what it is I’m supposed to be learning now.  But my experience is nothing new.  Over and over the psalmists cried out in their distress to God, and over and over they proclaimed His faithfulness in every situation.  And so once again I too stand in faith on the Word of God.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.  Psalm 37:5-7a

Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.  Psalm 112:3-5