Monday, July 28, 2008


Whenever I encounter a fog I experience the same response. At first, a sense of awe at the beauty and mystery. I’ve watched fog cross mountain peaks and settle low on the dirty streets of New York City. I’ve stood in a chilly morning stream fly fishing as fog dances across the water like a wispy ballerina. I’m a fan of God's creative flare. Fog forms when the difference between the temperature and dew point is five degrees or less. At this point, even a small amount of water transforms into a gas and becomes visibly suspended in the atmosphere. The mystery of fog draws me and makes me lose myself in wonder.
After a brief sense of awe, I then remember how dangerous this natural phenomenon can be. In 1977 a convocation of circumstances caused one of the airline industry’s worst disasters. On the tiny Island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands two 747's became aimless and confused in an unexpected fog. Miscommunication led one pilot to attempt a take-off while the other was assured it would be safe to cross the runway. The two 747's crashed and burned on the runway, and the collision killed 575 people. Fog creates conditions that are very dangerous, especially when humans act with normal operational assumptions.
I must admit that on the most basic personal level I have been living in a fog of grief. I don’t mean the emotional confusion you experience at first, when death robs you and your aching heart can’t find its footing. I’m talking about later in the process of grief. The danger is not the fog as much as my assumption that I can navigate as if I’m under normal conditions. At best, fog is God's warning to us that conditions change and it’s best to be still. Fog is attractive to the grieving because it covers the ugly reality of our lives. Fog can be a beautiful and welcome break from our aching pain. However, to attempt normal movement forward in fog puts us at great risk of damage and destruction. This is a time when communication with the tower is critical. Following instructions is fundamental. Repeating commands, questions and caution should and must rule.
Fog is beautiful and dangerous, and thank God it doesn’t last. It burns off when the sun rises and warms the glowing amber earth. The wisest counsel to my soul in a fog is from the very heart of God.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Psalm 46:10-11 (KJV)
I gladly confess that I have no one in whom to trust but the Lord. I joyfully conclude that He alone is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble, therefore I will not fear the fog or the grief of my life.
Ed Litton

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What do you ask for from God?

David sought after one thing. In the midst of difficult days, he asked for the privilege and blessing of dwelling in the house of the Lord. He desired to walk with God and to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. He put this amazing thought into words in the twenty-seventh Psalm.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

Notice that David doesn’t seem to be asking for something in the sweet by-and-by. He’s clearly asking for favor from the Lord in the nasty here-and-now. In the middle of heartache, trials, attacks and setbacks, David is asking for an audience with the LORD.

Where do you go when your world falls apart? The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived in a stained-glass cathedral. It’s meant to be lived in the heat of battle, heartache and even despair. The LORD delights to dwell with us in the midst of trouble because He knows others are watching Him with us.
We all need quiet, reverent places to be still and know that He is God. However, we live in a world of noise, conflict and battle. When you read the rest of the Psalm, you realize David is in the thick of tangled difficulty. Yet in the sweltering heat of trials his focus is to remain in the LORD's house.

And the LORD has a big house. A woman who had six children was asked how she could possibly love all six equally. She quickly responded, "Each time the LORD gave me another child I added a room onto my heart. Each child has a very special place to live within my heart." That’s a great perspective. How can the God of billions of people ever love and care for some insignificant child like me? The answer that “He is infinite” hits the head but misses the heart. Our God's heart simply and profoundly added a room the day He thought of you. The Lord is preparing a place for you, yet there is—here and now—a place in the great heart of God for you to be His special child. We know He has no favorites—but you can sure be one of His intimates.

David clearly felt an intimacy with the Lord as he asked to dwell with Him all the days of his life. Resist the temptation to run to empty places for comfort. Run to the LORD! Ask one thing of Him, seek one thing from Him—the blessing of living this day with Him, wherever this day finds you. Aware of Him, dependent upon Him and obedient to Him. Expect to see God moving in mysterious ways today. Expect to look back upon this day in amazement.

David then concludes thus:

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Today I choose to seek the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Death has touched me with chilling reality, yet I am alive in Christ, and I see His goodness in the land of the living. Praise the Lord!

Ed Litton

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Aloneness of Loneliness

Most of us are intimidated by loneliness to the point we’ll do almost anything to avoid being alone. We leave the television on when we're not watching, the radio while we work, the iPod while we exercise. We seem intimidated by quiet because it reminds us we are alone.

Aloneness is painful and intimidating. It causes us to feel forgotten or abandoned. And the worst and most painful reality for some is that we assume God has abandoned us. His silence is terrifying and makes our worst fear seem to become reality. We feel rejected by everyone.

In my own loneliness I have come to discover some things. Loneliness is God's workbench where the master craftsman does His most brilliant work alone. Most of us remain unaware that God is doing anything in our lives until the work is done. He seems to delight in doing His work this way. He must love surprises.

The Apostle Paul spent extended time with God in this desert called aloneness. Years passed as Moses languished in obscurity while God sanded a rough man into a mighty messenger of God. David was forced to live in a lonely places miles from anyone he knew or loved. Even Hagar, the young servant of Sarah, found herself in a desperate and lonely place.

After Abraham and Sarah foolishly attempted to use another human being to satisfy their desire for a child, they rejected her as unworthy of their company. Hagar the handmaiden became for them little more than a means to an end. In the midst of that painful reality, Hagar fled her mistress. Gen. 16:8 tells us the Angel of the Lord came and found her. “And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ ‘I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,’ she answered.” Hagar's cure for the deep pain of loneliness, rejection and abuse is interesting. It was to run into greater loneliness. Often our reaction to our loneliness leads to more of the same—only more intense.

Then God revealed Himself to Hagar in that lonely desert place. The experience was so real and so powerful that she offers all the world a new insight to the character and nature of our God. Notice what she says: “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Gen. 16:13). He is the God who sees me. What a revelation. God sees me. In a world of more than five billion people, God can and does see me in my aloneness. God sees you and knows the intimate and intimidating details of your aloneness. The truth is that even in the most lonely place you are never alone. God revealed Himself in the advent of our Savior and His Son as Immanuel, "God with us." We are never alone. Ever.

In a conversation yesterday, a man I barely know asked me if I would ever consider doing something that I have longed to do for years. I won't muddy this stream with needless details; suffice it to say, I have waited for such an opportunity and only the Lord knew what was in my heart. As a matter of fact, before I met this man for lunch I prayed, Lord, if you want me to do this thing, have him suggest it. He did, and I knew once again that I was not alone. The Lord sometimes hides us beneath His wings, waiting for the appointed hour when He raises His pinions and reveals His mighty work in and through our lonely lives. What a God! What an awesome, mighty, mysterious God! He is worthy of my praise! I praise Him!

My aloneness and loneliness are not so intimidating anymore!
Ed Litton