I’m celebrating today. I’ve been working on a couple of surprises for you for a long time. They’re finally ready and I’m excited to offer them to you!
But I’m celebrating for another, unexpected, reason too. When I started this process, I didn’t foresee that this process itself, and the timing of it all, would be yet another place where I myself would glimpse the love and the wisdom of God, and take another step deeper into trust.
More on that in a moment. First, the surprises.
One is a newly designed website to replace the one that was falling apart by inches. I pray that this online space will be a place you can find encouragement and hope in the midst of whatever life may hold as we listen to God’s heartbeat together. As we’re discovering more than ever, the only place we can find true security is in God’s love.
I hope that each time you visit the blog, the new logo will remind you that God’s heart beats with a sacrificial love which meets and holds us both in our joys and in our most desperate places.
The second surprise is a Bible study: When Life Falls Apart: Relearning Trust in the God of Mercy. Though I didn't know it at first, I began to write it soon after I returned home from Afghanistan, too sick to continue my medical work among the people I loved. In the pages of my journal, I wrestled with how to trust God and offer myself to him again when I’d already done that and life had fallen apart.
It then became a Bible study to share with others, and a number of individuals and groups have used it in its earlier form. (If you’ve been around here for a while, you may remember it under its previous title. I called it “Rational Worship” then, because, in the original Greek, Romans 12:1 tells us that offering our bodies to God as a living sacrifice is our logikos—logical, reasonable, carefully thought through—act of worship.) I needed to learn all over again why it was logikos to trust this God.
Here's where it gets even more interesting. About a year ago, it seemed it was time to update the study and offer it again. We all face times in our lives when a loved one dies, a marriage crumbles, a career falls apart, or for whatever other reason it feels like life is falling apart. And we all need to be reminded in those times who God is and what he is like. We also need a safe place to wrestle with our questions, bringing our confusion to God. I hope this study offers both.
But I didn’t know when I began to revise this study a year ago that it would be ready in the midst of a pandemic when so many parts of the lives that we've been accustomed to feel like they're falling apart.
Nor did I know a year ago, when I was struggling to piece together a functional website, that I’d eventually get to work with a wonderful web designer, and that this new logo and website would also be ready just at this time when we most need to be reminded that God’s heart beats with a love for us that is stronger than death.
Neither did I anticipate that when I returned to update the study, God would meet me again in it. I was doing it for you. God, it turned out, was also doing it for me.
So here it is—God’s gift to me, my gift to you, and, I dare to hope, something that will also become a gift from God to you as you bring your whole self with whatever you’re feeling and let God meet you in it.
You can learn more about the study here, and for the next week, you can download it here FREE. You’re also most welcome to share the link with anyone you think might be interested. Share it on facebook. Invite a friend to download a copy and work through the study with you. It’s yours to spread for free as widely as you want to this week.
With my love and prayers,
P.S. If, like for so many of us, concentration is difficult for you during this time, you may prefer to skip the more in-depth group study portions for now and just savor the brief daily reflections. The study works great that way too!
P.P.S. I've not braved Instagram until now. But it feels like time to venture over there. Come join me at https://www.instagram.com/hearingtheheartbeat/ or https://www.facebook.com/hearingtheheartbeat/ as we keep finding ways to listen to God's heartbeat together.