Questions and Lessons on Faith

In my lifeftime, I have had questions about faith, God, His will for my life, and the big one – why does God allow suffering in the world.  It is hard to reconcile the loving God with the violence, starvation, hatred, and desperation found around the world.  I, as well as many others, question how can God allow this to happen and yet expect me to only believe in His love and blessing.  Andrea Palpant Dilley, author of Faith and Other Flat Tires: AMemoir Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt, travelled this path as well.  Dilley had been born into a missionary family who served as Quaker medical missionaries in East Africa during the first six years of her life.  By age twenty-one, Dilley was facing that road of doubt over the dysfunctionality of the church, the perceived silence of God, and the age-old question of suffering.

Faith+and+Other+Flat+Tires+Sample+Chapter

This story is her story.  Her story of doubt, questions, searching, and her journey of being a Christian refugee.  Her journey is similar to many others including myself.  She pushed the limits of what she had held sacred, she clung to the fleeting security of men, and she questioned everyone about their faith.  This story is also about her journey back to the security of God and the outpouring of His blessings.  I found her book to be truthful and upfront about the struggles of many to reconcile the church, God, and the world – especially the younger generation.  Her chapters are not too long and keep the reader interested in the next marker on her journey – whether that marker be an obstacle or an insight.

If you are facing that rough road of doubt, or know someone who is, then this book is for you.  I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and I would like to offer it free to a reader of my blog.  Please leave a comment on my blog and I will choose a winner using Random.org.

Author’s Web Site

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Let Us Not Forget

I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me.  I climb upon my soapbox every time something  breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy.  Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear.  The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting.  Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing.  Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.

In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life?  The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure.  Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover.  Good things, all.  Inspiring and helpful and memorable.  But life changing?  Yet truly life-changing events do occur.  Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life.  Between despair and hope.  Between ignorance and understanding.  Between death and life.”  I can tell you that this book IS life changing!

Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out.  However that is not what Jesus called us to do.  Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed.  Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken.  Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision

The Art of Waiting

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, waiting means to look forward expectantly.  Psalm 27:14 tells us to, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  However waiting on the Lord can be hard because we relate waiting with being still and inactive, to be wasting our time even sometimes.  Taryn Hutchison learned and exhibited valuable lessons about waiting in We Wait You Waiting on God in Eastern Europe. Taryn was a missionary serving with Campus Crusades in Eastern Europe – Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, etc. during the last ten years of the 90s.

Hutchison began her journey with a year-long commitment and ended up falling in love with the country and peoples of Eastern Europe. She began her journey in Austria at a hostel prior to receiving her assignment. Hutchison explains that the one place that she feared going to the most was the one place that God sent her and she cried out to Him for strength and grace. What she received was a group of friends and guardians that turned her one-year assignment into a life-long love of the country and peoples as well as a ten-year commitment.

Hutchison’s journey was not an easy coast. She was robbed several times, stalked by an admirer, detained by officials, and experienced difficulties when moving from Romania to Hungary and again from Hungary to the United States. Waiting on God to provide what she needed each day opened up opportunies to see the people that He loved and sent her to to demonstrate His love. She also saw the patience and acceptance of people who had waited 45 years for the United States to save them from the harshness and depravity of the Communist Regime.

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program and would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about Campus Crusades, missionary work, or Eastern Europe.

Author’s Website