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Part 1:

Choosing To RISE:  Is God Good No Matter What?

Rise, by Shawn McDonald

Many people know this song, Rise by Shawn McDonald, has become my anthem of sorts over the past several years.

I heard it for the first time two summers ago when I was recovering from my broken pelvis and facing more breast cancer surgery and treatments.

I was wheeling myself around my kitchen in a wheelchair listening to music from my computer when this song came on.  I noticed the “tap-along”beat right away- but then it was the words, the inspirational words of truth – God’s truth- that spoke right to my heart and seeped deep into my soul.

I drove my friends and family crazy with this song.  I played it all the time and encouraged everyone to sing and clap along.  There I’d  be in my wheelchair, bebopping around as much as I could and I’d be singing away, out of tune, off pitch, the whole thing- just singing away:

“Rise. 

Out of these ashes Rise. 

From the Rubble of the ground and the trouble I have found- I will rise.”

That was me singing my anthem two  years ago and today I’m still singing away. Sometimes with sweet tears of praise streaming down my face and other times with hot tears of pain and sorrow.  Either way, my hands are lifted high and my soul is renewed by the truth that God is bigger than I will ever be and I will RISE.

I do, however, get to that place sometimes – A place where there is a hesitation in me of whether I will indeed RISE from the rubble on the ground or trouble I have found.

In fact that place found me quite recently. I admit the enormity and the awfulness of the rubble caused in me such an agony my anthem left me sobbing not singing.  Instead of renewed I felt wrecked.

For a bit.

And then God did what only God can do.

And Truth believed did what only Truth believed can do.

As I continued to listen to the words of the song- their truth began to sink deep into my soul – deeper than the hurt, deeper than the lies, deeper than the fear and the Truth then began to heal my broken heart and resurrect my hope.

It is then that the tears of sorrow and tears of praise combined.

And hope sprang up like a stream in the dessert.  Though I may hesitate, though dread and pain may take temporary residence in my heart.  It is that- temporary.  For I know it to the depths of my soul, the same way I know the sun will rise again tomorrow.

I know- He who is in me is greater than I will be and I WILL RISE.  

 And that is HOPE.

Just days after finding myself in a sink hole threatening to rob me of my hope, not to mention my joy, I was scheduled to share my Pilgrimage of Hope message to the Sacramento Tapestry of Christian business women.  My first instinct was to cancel.

How could I deliver a message of hope while I was falling apart? 

Several hours later, however, something changed.  It definitely wasn’t my circumstances- they were the same. I’m not even sure it was my mind that changed, as my mind was screaming at me, “Cancel this, stop that, do this, feel this way, reacted that way!”

It must have been my heart, where God’s spirit resides in me, that spoke up in a voice I knew as truth, no matter the havoc my human brain tried to cause.  And so I began to write down these truths:

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.  Psalm 55:22

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles.  Isaiah 40:31

See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:19

grace is sufficient Choosing to RISE: Is God Good No Matter What?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Matt 19:26

I guess what changed was where I choose to put my focus. Instead of focusing on what the world and my brain were saying about my circumstances, I choose to focus on Truth and Truth is not affected by life’s circumstances. 

I choose to focus on God and His Promises. 

God is not changed by bad news. 

God is the same yesterday, today and forever.   

God does not become less Good, less Faithfulness, less in control of my life based on a shock to my world. 

I even might have let out a small chuckle at the realization that while I was thrown for a loop,  He who is Omnipresent and Omnipotent was certainly not surprised.  My little chuckled turned to an audible sigh as I felt Him pull me into a father-like embrace.  No, He was not surprised, instead He says, “I know, I know my child. Come to me.  I will give you comfort and peace in the storm.”

Yes, that was my long winded way of saying, I thought at first I would cancel -  I thought I would cancel and change many things -  but I didn’t.

No, my heart overruled my head and I knew this was simply and explicitly a time to walk out what I speak on, write about and stand for.  Hope.  Hope in all circumstances.

So I turned my grief to praise and thanked God that He has given me a hope that believes- that knows-  He is good no matter what. 

No matter what.  Yep, the rubber was meeting the road and I was not going to turn back.  So I  took a couple deep breaths and a long look at the my notes on Rising Above Circumstances and I prepared to share.

In Service & Hope,

Karen

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