Friday, July 27, 2012

A Drink of Water

I made a big mistake this morning.  I forgot to get a drink of water before I went out to walk.  Walking two miles first thing in the morning when you are already dehydrated from sleeping seven or eight hours is not a good idea, to say the least.  Around the third lap I began to feel thirsty.  By the fifth lap I was feeling rather light headed.  By the final round I was definitely ready to go inside and get a drink.  The funny thing is, that's not the first thing I did.  I sat down and took off my shoes, looked at the time and went in to turn off the alarm first.  It was on my way to the alarm that I remembered my thirst.  I turned it off so that it didn't go off and went and filled a glass and drank it all.  I felt much better afterward.  I looked at the clock again and went in to waken Michael.
What struck me about this was the fact that I felt so VERY thirsty while walking, but as soon as I got back inside I didn't feel so badly anymore.  I neglected my thirst even longer due to the fact that I stopped thinking about it.
This is the way our spiritual lives tend to go, is it not?   We waken with a fresh new day before us, but if we are not careful to be deliberate, we do not take the time (though extremely brief it is) to say a simple "thank You" to the Lord for giving us another day and another opportunity to serve.  We start our day with "busyness" and continue throughout it wondering where the time went and wishing we had accomplished more for our efforts. 
I don't know about anyone else, but my personal experience tells me that if I will take a moment to read a chapter of Scripture and pray, I accomplish more in one day than I will in three days of trying to do things in my own strength.  Spending time with my heavenly Father refreshes my spirit.  I even manage to get in a nap on those days.  I admit it is usually a power nap of ten to twenty minutes, but it is extremely refreshing.  I do not understand why I fall into the get up and get going routine some days, rather than making each day one that starts with the refreshing drink of God's Word and communication with Him.  How grateful I am to Him for giving me a new day each morning to begin again. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Garden of Life

It was hard to walk this morning.  The air was very heavy and my joints felt achy.  As I read from The Scribe, I started praying.  The book is about Silas, Paul's second missionary companion.  It is told from his first person experience and in it he speaks of the beatings, robberies, etc. they received and how Paul would immediately begin telling their abusers about Jesus.  This encouraged him to do the same, though he speaks of the struggle with anger and the desire to be free of pain even while praising God that he is allowed to suffer for Christ's sake.  Very honestly written, I think, even though it is a work of fiction based on historical facts.  Honest, because it reveals our inmost feelings even when we do not wish to have them revealed even to ourselves.
I quickly offered up a prayer of thanksgiving to God for waking me and ushering me out the door to walk and explained that I know I wouldn't do it if He didn't do so each morning.  There is part of me that wants to rebel against it and seeks an alternate form of exercise, even though the doctor says walking is the best form for me personally.  I realize things will be different this winter when I simply cannot go outside and walk for 40 minutes.  This is where God will have to intervene and usher me onto the mini trampoline.  Even though it is fun, it is still time away from what I want to do.  Selfish?  You bet, but I must admit it in order to be set free of it.
I am very grateful that I am allowed to walk.  My legs and/or the use of them could be stripped from me at any given moment.  I have heard of this happening to people like Joni Eareckson Tada and our niece's husband, Paul.   They would neither have ever expected it to happen to them, yet it has and God has His reasons for allowing it.  The same could one day happen to me.  There is also my own mother who was born with misshapen feet and has difficulty walking at all, but forces herself.  So, in the mean time, I should be willing to use my legs for His glory, and walking each morning keeps me in better physical health in which to serve Him.  So, I get up each morning, do my best to not grumble, offer up thanks for working legs and feet and begin my journey.  I try to make it a sweet smelling sacrifice, but fear that it sometimes brings a stench to His nostrils.
This morning I was thinking about grass.  So many people around us planted gardens, but instead of watering them faithfully, were more concerned about whether their grass was green or not.  I am not saying it is wrong to water your lawn, by any means, but if you have to choose one over the other, why choose grass?  I have been pondering this for a few weeks.  There is a sort of competitive spirit on my street.  Who has the greenest, most weed free lawn?  Final results show us as losing drastically.  However, we have been blessed with a prosperous garden.  It is a very small garden, but has produced many green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and is working on celery.  We plan on planting more green beans this weekend.  It has taken faithfulness on the part of my husband to see the garden produce.  He gets up every morning and comes home every evening knowing the first thing he is going to do each time is water the garden.  He has fed it, sprayed it with garlic and peppers spray to keep deer away, hoed and reaped faithfully.  Our garden has done quite well.
Our spiritual life is much the same.  What are we taking time to water?  Are we more concerned with aesthetics or production?  I can exercise my body to keep it in shape, and this is a good thing, but which is better?  Making sure my body's outward appearance is good or making sure I am producing fruit for His kingdom through learning His Word and sharing it with others?  Listening to His voice and obeying, or striving to gain others approval through outward appearances?
Lord, help me be faithful in the work that allows the garden of my life to produce enough that all around me may share in its bounty!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


     My husband and I love to watch a good murder mystery together.  We are not talking about the gruesome, graphic ones.  Those we refuse to watch, because quite frankly, they make us want to throw up - literally.  However, to sit down and watch a good Miss Marple, Inspector Poirot, Charlie Chan and for current ones - NCIS or Castle, is a challenge for us.  Most people would not enjoy watching them with us, because we talk during the shows.  If it is a DVD, we will pause it to discuss what is going on, who we think committed the murder, theft, etc. and why.  We do this periodically, when we have a change of mind or discover a new clue.  The main thing we look for in doing this is motive.  The cheesier the motive the better, because, let's face it, it is usually going to be the least likely person (I hope I am not spoiling this for anyone) for the most obtuse reason.  Anyway, as the years have passed we've gotten better and can usually figure out the who, but the motives still get away from us.  This keeps us going.  Every great once in a while we get the motive correct too, but not often.  However, half the fun is suggesting possible motives and we come up with some doosies!!
     I am currently reading the last of five novellas about men who "quietly changed eternity" by Francine Rivers.  It is entitled The Scribe.  I am only getting ready to begin chapter three, so have a few to go, but this morning I read these words, "I will never forget Jesus' eyes as He answered my questions.  I had sought His approval; He exposed my pride and self-deceit.  I had hoped to become one of His disciples; He told me what I must give up to become complete.  He gave me all the proof I needed to confirm He was the Messiah.  He saw into the heart of me, the hidden secrets even I had not suspected were there."
     The word "motive" immediately popped into my thoughts and I began to ponder my own reasons for wanting to do some things.  Why do I feel the need to do them?  Am I wanting to do them because I want to obey God's voice, or is it because I desire recognition?
     As I continued reading I came upon these words and recognized them as words I have actually prayed regarding myself, "I knew He had not asked the same of others.  Why did He demand so much of me?"  I have to admit that I felt some relief at reading these words, as it helped me realize I am not the only person to have ever felt this way.  I imagine every Christian has at one time or another.  So, when I DO obey, is it simply out of love for my Savior, because I want to get Him to leave me alone regarding it, to receive a pat on the back that makes me feel I must do what He asks?  Any of these ways gets the task accomplished, but how many blessings have I missed out on by doing things more or less out of spite?  What are my motives anyway?
     The last passage that stepped heavily on my toes was as follows: "I cannot explain what I felt as I watched Jesus outside the city gate, nailed on a Roman cross.  Men I knew hurled insults at Him.  Even in His hour of suffering and death, they had no pity.  I felt anger, disappointment, relief, shame."
     The word "relief" jumped off the page at me.  How many times have I felt relief that I would not be allowed to do something I knew should be done, or rather relief that I had good excuse not to do so?  I cannot name a specific time, but can tell you I remember having the feeling many a time over.  I was reminded quite definitively today that we all do exactly as we please.  If we truly want to see something accomplished, we will pray and work until the goal is met.  If we feel too tired, confused, frustrated or that no one will stand alongside us as we work, we throw our hands in the air and seek excuses for why we cannot get the job done.  At least I do. 
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  I John 1:9
Lord, forgive me for always seeking motive as to why I cannot do what You ask of me and help me instead learn to seek Your reasons for why I should move ahead.  Purify my heart and make me a woman after Your own.  I realize the impossibility of doing things in my own strength, but with You all things are possible.  Make me a woman of possibilities - a woman who truly walks in faith believing.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Coming Clean

Yesterday morning I woke feeling worse than I have felt in a very long time.  When I sat I felt as if I would pass out.  When I stood, it was worse.  Later I discovered our pastor was in the hospital and that the grandmother of two boys in my Sunday School class had had a heart attack.  I have full confidence in my God, that He will work all things for each of our good in these things.
Days like this make me realize just how very blessed I truly am.  What would I do without Jesus?  With Him it was easy.  I asked my husband to pray, wrote an email to family and friends asking for prayer and then called those who don't have email and/or  I don't have addresses for.  Within a couple of hours I was able to get up, get to work and go work in VBS. 
I realize that many may say this was coincidence.  Believe what you will, but if that is the case, then coincidence is my life.  I know differently.  God knows my heart desire and how much I love VBS week.  Most years during VBS I have at least a day where I feel terrible, and it is usually on the day the lesson is on Jesus' ultimate sacrifice of giving His life in our place.  Such was yesterday.  This is the most difficult message to teach and my favorite message to teach. It is difficult because it always makes me cry (literally) as I stand in awe of His mercy and grace for ME!  When I think about the fact that He suffered and died for me personally and for every other human being that ever has or will live on this earth , I grieve that I ever did anything that would make Him have to do so and marvel at the depths of His love for His creation.  It is my favorite for the very same reasons.
Each and every time God has gotten me through and allowed me to teach.  There have been times I have gone in feeling horrific, but when it came time to teach the lesson - I felt wonderful - only to go back to feeling sick afterward.  One year I was throwing up all week.  I had a bout of food poisoning I discovered later.  It was a day time VBS and each morning I would go in to church and lie down until time to teach the Bible lesson.  I would get up and, the moment I began teaching, felt strength course through my body.  I would teach the lesson, walk away with great joy and promptly feel the need to throw up again.  Coincidence?  I say, "amazing!!"
This is entitled "Coming Clean."  Why?  Because when I rose to do my Bible devotions, the title to the devotional was "Confession Brings Cleansing."  I had to laugh, because our VBS theme for the night was "Come Clean."  Both spoke of how confessing our sins, admitting our guilt and receiving God's forgiveness through the blood of Jesus brings complete cleansing for us and God remembers our sin no more.  Coincidence? 
Each days passes more swiftly than the day before.  Anyone over the age of 30 knows I speak the truth.  Time is short.  

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"  Deuteronomy 30:19  
Admitting we make mistakes, believing and trusting Jesus, accepting His gift of dying in our place brings life and freedom, a greater and more blessed freedom than we ever dreamed possible, because with it comes forgiveness and cleansing and God remembers those sins we confess no more!!
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."  Hebrews 8:12.
Forgiveness and freedom - what more could we ask for?!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Garden of the Heart

A lot can take place while walking two miles each morning, as anyone who reads this has probably already guessed.  As I walked this morning, I was reading the book simply entitled The Priest, by Francine Rivers.  The book is about Aaron, brother of Moses and his life experiences during the great exodus from Egypt.  These books on those considered great men and women of the Bible that she has written bring the people to life again and help me remember that they were simply human beings, much like myself.
Many times I have read the Old Testament Scriptures and wondered how the Israelites were so easily turned from God when they were seeing His power on such a consistent basis.  I realize they were human and didn't have the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling them as true believers do today, but they physically witnessed His presence and power!!  I was thinking along these lines once again this morning when the thought went through my head, "Lord, this is really hard walking today.  I am feeling really tired.  Can I quit early?" 
Rather than giving me a "yes" or "no" answer, this thought went through my mind, "Be thankful you have legs that carry you and a body that responds to your brains directions."
I immediately thought of the Israelites and told God I was sorry and just as bad as they were, even worse!!  I do have the Holy Spirit indwelling me and still I complain!!  I apologized and thanked God for reminding me how blessed I really am.  I thanked Him for strength and legs to carry me in my walking.  I thanked Him that walking brings health and fitness to my body so I can serve Him more fully.  I thanked Him for a brain that functions and nerves that respond to make my body do what needs doing.  Then I asked Him to continue disciplining me in this area.
I realized as I talked with Him that I have a problem.  I receive direction in one area and start following through, while allowing another area begin to falter.  He has to take me back and forth to keep me from failing all together.  I asked Him then for help with this.  I cannot do it on my own.  His strength is the only strength that allows me to function at all, so I must depend on Him to guard the garden of my heart in the areas He has already tended.  His Holy Spirit acts on my behalf to keep the critters from coming in and destroying the fruit I am to bear.  Talking with Him, confessing my faults and studying His word so I can know more is the only way to have a successful crop production.  So each morning I go back to the garden.....
"I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.
And the Voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me and He talks with me,
and He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there
none other has ever know."
I pray that all who read this, if they don't do so already, begin to go to their garden each morning and allow Him to weed, hoe, water and pour His light on you, so your garden can produce the best fruit possible!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

stubborn vs. stubborn

Each morning I wake up with the thought that I need to go walk two miles.  There are three reasons for this.  First of all, God has called me to work with children, so I need to be in good physical health just to keep up with them.  Secondly, I need to be in as good health as possible simply to serve others and lastly, I hate tight fitting clothes. 
It would be so much easier to stay in bed, snuggle up with Michael and snooze another half hour.  However, I am stubborn in many ways, so even though my body screams at me at times to let it go this once, I remind myself that I "let it go" each Sunday, but today I am going to walk.  It is times like this when I am grateful for my stubborn side.
There are other times, however, when I look at myself and wonder why I am being so hard headed.  When someone pronounces a word incorrectly, why does this overwhelming desire come over me to correct them?  When I am told I can't do something that I really have no desire to do, why do I desperately want to prove that I can?  This is a little something in me that I call prideful stubbornness.
These are the times I wish the stubborn streak would go away.
Truth be told, stubbornness is not a negative quality.  It is when it is mixed with pride that it causes us problems.  When used to make ourselves do what is right regardless of how we feel or what others will think, just because we know it is what God desires of us, then it is GREAT!
As I walked by a neighbor's yard this morning I actually said to God, "Lord, why don't they just pour gasoline or weed killer on those weeds that are growing between the road and the curb?  It would look so much better and wouldn't destroy the curb."  I actually thought that maybe I should pull them up for them for a brief minute.  I felt that prideful stubbornness welling up inside and almost convinced myself in that moment that it would be the right thing to do.
Then I walked by our yard and God told me to take a look at it.  I saw weeds.  They were small weeds mind you, but weeds, and what God spoke to my heart made me at first ashamed and then I laughed at myself.  He said:
"You have weeds too.  They are just smaller, but the smaller they are, the harder they are to recognize.  Don't try to remove the speck in your brother's eye until you remove the board from your own." 
My yard and my life are filled with many little weeds that need pulling.  I am shown only one or two at a time, because that's all I can handle.  I am ever grateful for my Lord Who loves me enough to put up with my silliness, all my weeds, my prideful stubbornness and everything else and still love me enough to discipline me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Drought

This morning I was taking my usual walk when I ran across a toad in the road.  I looked closely.  He was flattened out, but plump, so I decided he must be sleeping.  I nudged him with my foot, trying to get him to get out of the road so he wouldn't get squished.  He barely moved.  Must have been really sleepy.  I nudged him again and he sat up straight, but he refused to budge.  I decided to continue my walk and talk to God about him.  I said, "Lord, would make that toad want to move out of the road?"
I felt rather than heard, "He is stubborn."  I told God that I really didn't want the toad to be killed as I have a soft spot for them. (We have a toad that comes back every spring to sit on our porch each night.  We tell everyone we have a guard toad instead of guard dog.)  However, I knew that he had to accept the fact that he would be smashed if he didn't move and if he didn't come to understand it soon enough, he would be killed.  The next time I passed him I deliberately spilled cold water on him.  That helped wake him up, but he enjoyed it and refused to move.  I tried to nudge him once more and then gave up and just asked God to protect him.  God must have done so as there is no flat toad in the road!
As I continued my walk I noticed the dry grass and said, "We are in a drought, Lord.  Well, technically it's not a drought, because we have had a little bit of rain, just not enough to do much good."  What God spoke to my heart next made me want to cry.  God speaks in ways that give instant understanding at times rather than in actual sentences, but this is what I understood:
"My people are stubborn like the toad.  They are comfortable where they are and don't want to budge from it.  They are in a type of drought and don't even realize it.  They go to church on Sundays and get just enough of the Word to water their thirsty souls for an instant and then they go right back to the dried up way of living."
I thought about how I hunger for God's Word and thirst to hear more from Him, but don't get nearly enough. I want to hear His voice all the time, but I get so caught up in the day to day dry living that I am unable to hear out of my own stubbornness to take more time to be with Him.  How long does it take to read a chapter of the Bible - perhaps 5 minutes or so (unless its Psalm 119).  How long does it take to tell God good morning and invite Him into my day? 
I told God that I don't want to live in a drought and asked Him to forgive me.  My hearts desire is for God's children to become aware of the drought, but then to do something about it.  The land doesn't have a choice regarding how much rain it receives, but we do.  All we have to do is set aside a little time.  We can't say we don't have any - for we have all eternity!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Easing Suffering

As I was taking my walk this morning I was reading the book The Prophet by Francine Rivers.  It is a novella about the life of the prophet Amos of Scripture.  An excerpt on page 73 reads thusly:
"Jeroboam's  (false king of Israel during Amos' time) cunning plan worked. Men wanted ease, after all, not hard work.  Ah, yes, why not worship idols?  A man would have immediate pleasure with temple prostitutes.  Sin would be approved.  No one need consider what is right or wrong.  Live for yourselves.  Go ahead: lie, cheat, steal - everyone is doing it - as long as you give the king his share of the offerings!  Why serve a holy God who demanded you follow the Law, when other gods would allow you to wallow in self-gratification?  People rejected truth and gulped down lies, turning their backs on the loving, merciful God who provided their every need.  Instead, they followed a king who ruled over them as he pleased."
The people of Amos' day did not realize that their sin was bringing about destruction, or at least they turned a blind eye to it..  They had tossed out the Scripture they had been taught in their youth: ...when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them... when your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God. ... you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’... Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods... you shall surely perish. Deut. 8:12-14
"When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [sacrificing a child to the Canaanite "god" Moloch for personal gain], or practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out... You shall be blameless before the Lord your God...." Deuteronomy 18:9-14
and many more.
They did not stop to realize that God was holding back their destruction out of love for them and the desire to see them turn back to Him and live!!  Instead, when a true prophet came to speak with them, they would throw them in prison, stone them, whatever it took to shut them  up!!  Sound familiar?
Immediately after reading this passage of the book I looked down and saw a nightcrawler struggling 
to get across the road.  I heard a whisper, "rescue the worm."  I replied, "Lord, that worm is not going to live anyway.  He has been drying out too long."  His reply, "No, he may not, but at least you can ease his suffering."  
I cannot tell you the exact conversation we had after that, but I can tell you what He spoke to my heart in words that are easily understood.  AND yes, I picked up the worm and placed him in the nearest yard.
The worm is like us.  It left the safety of the yard it came from to explore.  It allowed its desire to expand its world to place it in peril.  Even though it was rescued, it may turn back to the road.  God's sheep (people) do this all the time.  We want to experiment, test the waters, do our own thing.  The problem is that though many of the things we explore may be good, ie: learning to swim, to read, to cook, etc., many others lead to destruction of not only our lives, but our very souls.  We want ease, immediate pleasure, to not have to think, to live for ourselves....Yes, we are exactly like the Israelites of Amos' day.  We have not learned from their mistakes as we should.  God took out the time to have men write the Bible to warn us, but we (even Christians) do not read it.  We have lovely excuses for not doing so: I have no time, Life is too short, I have too many other responsibilities, I have difficulty reading, I don't like to read, etc.   But if we search our hearts we find the truth: I don't want to.  Simple as that.  Why not?  I might learn something I don't want to know, I have to give up time I want to spend on myself and my desires, and the list goes on, but when it comes right down to it - I don't want to.  The beautiful fact is, if we would read our Bibles faithfully, we would learn not to run to trouble, but to run from it and into our loving Father's arms.
Back to the worm....We cannot save anyone, only God can through the blood of Jesus.  The work is already done on that front.  We can, however, ease suffering in His name, pray for those we minister to, and watch as God uses these times of easing suffering to help them question why we would do such a thing and and allow themselves be drawn into His presence.  So God used a worm to remind me of this - and I needed the reminder.
God loves people so much He gave His Son.  He wants us to minister to their needs in order to ease their suffering, because, unless they repent and turn to Him, this is all the time for comfort they have.
Lord, help us to see our sin, run from it and into Your arms and then take that love and forgiveness into a suffering world to ease their pain so they can get a glimpse of You.  In Jesus' precious name!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sickening, But Necessary

As I sit here and think about child abuse, my stomach starts churning and I wonder, "How in the world could anyone give in to such abhorrent behavior?"  Once the question is asked, there is no going back.  God always answers.  His answer to me was a gentle reminder that we are all children to Him regardless of our age, so no matter who it is being abused, in His eyes they are children.  He has had to speak this to my heart many times over in my life, because somehow I cannot seem to remember it.  When I hear a parent yell at their child for throwing a fit, I become critical and judgmental, wanting to get in their face and tell them, "He/she is just a child!"  However, the abuse they are suffering from their child's belligerence is a form of verbal abuse as well.  I am just as guilty as the next person and need to be reminded often.
Because we are all children, I can understand that God sees abuse of adults in the same manner He sees it regarding children.  It was His child that went to the cross, and I helped put Him there.  Each time I sin I am being abusive to Jesus.  Hard to think about - extremely hard.  However,  this is one of those things I need reminding of in order to be made sick to my stomach over and over again, just as I need to have a little pain to remind me that I am not fully recovered from surgery.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Blessed Nation?

Let Your mercy, Oh Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.  Psalm 33:22
As we celebrate this Independence Day we sing "God Bless America."  It is a wonderful song that sends chills up the spine, brings tears to the eyes and makes the heart swell.  The problem is the heart portion.  It swells with pride over a nation that dwells pretty much in freedom, but is slowly allowing that freedom to be taken away in the name of "what's best for ME."  Selfishness, greed and laziness have taken the place of trust in God, generosity and good work ethics.  We now live in a nation where people truly believe they deserve to be given money simply because they exist.  I cannot say that I hold this against them.  I see where those of us who should know better have allowed this to take place.  Each generation has wanted things to be easier for the next generation and we have accomplished that goal, but at what cost?
I was told about a video made by a woman journalist where she visited college students on the verge of graduating.  It was shocking to hear that many of them plan on living off the government.  Here they are getting an education that people come from all over the world to get, because other nations do not offer the same quality and it is most likely being paid for by their parents, but they are choosing to disregard it and get money for nothing.  They do not have a desire to work since they have learned the loopholes to jump through in order to not have to do so.  There is no pride in doing a job well for the joy of knowing you did so.  If I were the parent of said student, I would be angry and tell them I wanted my money back!  However, we have also come to the point of thinking giving our children everything they want is love.
Love - not an emotion, but rather the decision to do what is very best for a person whether they deserve it or not.  The emotion that goes with it, that  "good and mushy" feeling that moves us to do things we normally wouldn't do, is not true love.  Feelings come and go.  True love always remains steadfast and certain.  It chooses to do what is best whether the one we are bestowing that love on likes it or not.  This is God's love in us.
When I read this verse above, my heart sank a bit.  Our nation cries out for mercy.  When it doesn't seem to come, because we have in our heads and hearts what we think should be being done rather than what is truly necessary, we get angry at God.  He tells us right in this verse that His mercy will be upon us just as we hope in Him!!  The problem?  We don't trust in Him, we trust in what we think is right for us.  We do not see the overall picture, so how can we really know what is best for this nation?  God knows what He is doing, always has, always will.  We need to go back to trusting Him in this as our forefathers did.  Why were we so blessed back then?  Their hope was where it belonged - in Almighty God!!