Jordan Elizabeth Franklin is 4 weeks old today. Can you see the smile on my face? Use your imagination.
I have received very few comments on my blog since before Christmas, and I wonder, does anyone read it anymore? Does it help anyone? Does anyone care? The truth is, people do read my blog. Sometimes they send me private emails with their reactions to what I've written. I appreciate that, but checking for comments is a bit like looking presents under the Christmas tree.
While I was wondering whether I should continue, a sharp thought sliced through my self-pity.
How often do you read God's Word? Uh, every day, at least the verse of my calendar.
How often do you read God's Word and don't pray? Uh, the empty pages in my prayer journal attest to my absence, although now I could use the excuse that my devotional Bible includes a prayer with the readings.
If I wish people would not only read what I have to say, but also talk back, how much more must God feel the same way? He's sent me a letter from His heart, full of longing and encouragement or even reprimand, and He wants me to talk with Him about it. He wants fellowship with me, and when I read but don't pray, I'm ignoring half of the equation.
Encouraged by a friend's example, I started listening to my Bible tapes again this year. I listen a few hours a week at work; it usually takes until August to make it through Revelation.
Of course I began with Genesis. These thoughts jumped out at me:
Did Abraham know that Lot survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?
We read of Abraham's powerful prayer in chapter 18, and of God's deliverance of Lot in chapter 19, but verses 27 and 28 of chapter 19 jumped out at me: Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
Did Abraham see the smoke and assume Lot had died? Did he wonder if even Lot was not considered "righteous" in the Lord's eyes? Did he feel grief, despair? Did he question the effectiveness of his prayer? Abraham became immensely human as I considered those verses. He must have struggled with the same questions that I do. I prayed and it didn't make a difference. Jolene still died. Does God care? Or did the problem lie with me, that improper motives and inconsistent lifestyle led to a failure to pass on the faith to the next generation?
I try to spill out my questions to God, and He sends me reassurances from time to time.
Let's enter into a dialogue about what God is saying to each of us this year.
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