Really Relating


A Future and A Hope 01/29/2010

Filed under: Circumstances,Future,God,Hope,Pain,Plans,Promises from God — Vickey Banks @ 5:57 pm

“What if things don’t get better?”

That’s the question a hurting friend asked me last week. It was a valid question, considering her circumstances. In a desperate attempt to encourage her, loved ones keep telling my friend what loved ones often say when we’re hurting:

   “Things will get better.”
But…what if they don’t?
I understand her question; honestly, it’s one I’ve asked God before. Like my friend, I live with chronic physical pain. Every flipping day. And some days, well, if I’m honest (and I am), I’m just done. Finished. Worn slick from painting on a happy face, I can’t help but wonder if this is as good as it gets. My weary self wants to focus on all the things I can’t do because of wacked out discs and the potentially grim future ahead. 
Ahhh…but then I remember a precious promise from God, 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.
They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
– The Bible, Jeremiah 29:11
While that might not change my circumstances, it radically rearranges my reality. Because of Him,  
I have a future… I have a hope.
The God of the Bible doesn’t do random. He’s the same God who created the plants before He created the animals and people who would need the plants to survive. He’s a God of logic and order. Along with His profound purposefulness, He is loving and not mean-spirited. That means that as long as He leaves me here on planet Earth, He has good reason. He has plans with my name of them; Plans for my good. A future filled with hope.
You know what?
The same is true for you.

Really Relating
How does it make you feel to know that God has plans with your name on them?

The Miracle of Hope 01/13/2010

Filed under: Challenges,Circumstances,Hope,Miracle,Signs of Life,Transformation — Vickey Banks @ 11:28 am

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, 
it became a butterfly.” 



Have you ever seen a miracle? Years ago, when my children were small, we witnessed the miraculous rebirth of not one, but five caterpillars. Within a week, we watched a group of scrawny looking worms eat their way into becoming a bunch of fat and fuzzy caterpillars. They then hung themselves head down and wove cocoons about their bodies. Up to then, watching them had been fascinating. At that point, however, they became chrysalides and looked like nothing more than hard pea pods.  

Although we eagerly watched for signs of life, it was actually kind of depressing just staring at pea pods for another week. It looked like the party was over. But then…a miracle happened! The lifeless looking pods transformed before our very eyes into breathtakingly beautiful butterflies.
As I look around me now, I can’t help but see people who remind me of those butterflies in the making. Their once eventful lives have been abruptly turned upside down by the challenges of life. Illness, divorce, grief, depression, wayward children, job losses, financial reversals and hormones gone haywire have given the misguided impression that their world is over. But alas, what is going on beneath the surface has the potential to grace our world with a beauty that we are all in desperate need of – the matchless miracle of Hope.
I don’t know what challenges you are facing, but my own experiences of being locked inside my cocoon have assured me that things are not always as they seem. Hope has not gone dormant. Because there is a God, new life is more than possible. You are not destined to inch along like a hungry caterpillar, or to hang around like a dried up pod. You were born to fly.
Please don’t give up. Hang on to God and His promises. Allow Him to comfort and strengthen you like only He can. Eventually, He will transform you into someone whose story reminds others that they too can soar above their circumstances.
There is a butterfly within you. New life and beauty are just around the corner. Go ahead…unfurl those wings! Become all that God longs for you to be.
Really Relating
How has God encouraged you during the challenges in your life?
How has He used your difficulties to transform you from the inside out?