Tag Archives: confidence

Friday Thoughts: A Common Question

by Howard Hain

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Does it make any sense to ask “why” but not want to know why?

It depends on how we see an answer. For there is one answer that applies to each and every question, that fully satisfies each and every query—one certainty that fully answers all wonderings.

All other answers—true although they may be—are subordinate to this one primary and exhaustive answer.

And this one answer has many expressions, but only one meaning. It has several names, but only one significance. It has billions of manifestations, but only one divine presence.

The answer is “I AM”…

The answer is “Truth”…

The answer is “Pure Existence”…

And on and on….

But let us express it one additional way: “The Perfect Will of God”.

If we believe this—if we believe in God we must believe this—then we have no questions to ask. Unless of course we ask for a different reason—a reason other than wanting an answer. And what may that reason be?

To experience God.

To “know” He is real.

To feel He cares.

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For does an infant question his mother’s love?

Does he wonder if she will offer her breast?

Does he ask any questions at all?

No. He cries.

He prays with utter faith to a power beyond his capacity to wonder why.

For the newborn “knows” why.

The infant “knows” he is loved.

Yet he cries.

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And we do too. We cry “why” to a God who knows our every need and has preordained our every righteous desire.

We pray like infants—like newborn children—when we ask our all-knowing and all-caring God a question we instinctively “know” is already forever answered.

We pray when we cry out loud in the direction of Him whom we believe exists—no matter the form of the cry.

For prayer is active believing. Asking is simply a common language.

Either way, the translation is the same.

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“Why Lord?” (I believe in You)

“Why God?” (I trust in You)

“Why, Lord, why? (I love You)

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And God always answers.

He always nurses.

More faith…more hope…more love.


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Friday Thoughts: Can’t Be Afraid

by Howard Hain


 

No matter what it is. All good options are on the table. All goodness is on the table. For God sets a banquet before us, a great breakfast. Liberty first. We must be free. Drink deep of letting go of the past, repentance is not an aftertaste. Repentance sets the table. A table held in place by belief. Upon which God’s goodness gives life. It is always about life. More of it. More letting go, less picking up the scraps. Of course, if scraps are all we have, by all means let us be grateful. But I have a sneaky suspicion there’s a whole lot more—if only we’d tell “fear” to take a hike—and then take our proper place at the table.

So much goodness is in store.

 


 

 

Morning Thoughts: The Substance Of Prayer

by Howard Hain

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How do we know if our prayer is answered?

When we no longer remember what we requested. When we discoverer inexplicable peace and experience inexplicable joy—even though we ride a hot, crowded, slow-moving subway car and have no idea if the specific circumstances surrounding our lives have changed in the least.

We know God is real, His will is perfect, and He never abandons us. We know we don’t need to understand. We know that somehow the peace and joy within us are actually related to our lack of understanding. We trust. We believe. We know “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” *

We know we’ve been blessed.

We know our faith has increased.

We know God has answered our prayer.


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* Hebrews 11:1

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Friday Thoughts: The Best Coinage The World Has Ever Known

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You can run but you can’t hide. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

What a world it would be if we only spoke in clichés.

Is it the kind of world you and I live in?

Do we retreat into beaten-down meadows, like deer who lay where others have already flattened the grass?

There’s less work I suppose. And the grass may still be warm.

But it’s also kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

You can enter a home that isn’t yours, you can search for a bed that fits just right, but at the end of the day your cover will be blown.

You can run but you can’t hide.

After all, you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.

Perhaps it is such lying that is really the apple.

For picking fruit from someone else’s tree has never been a good idea.

Those kind of apples certainly keep the good doctor away.

But I guess we also have to be careful to not overcorrect.

We must not out of pride be unwilling to enter where others have already been.

No, that is wisdom. We should go where others have gone before. It just depends on who they were and where they went.

And no matter what, we shouldn’t hide within those spaces, pretend that they are our own, and perhaps worst of all, act as if we are the first to ever have entered—delusion of this kind leads us to the belief that we create anything at all.

We don’t.

Think of Adam in the Garden. God is busy whipping up the entire universe from out of nothing. Creating and sculpting, adding and adapting, breathing life into His new world. And Adam, well, he’s one of the building blocks. Yes, certainly a favorite. A favorite that God does not want to be alone.

And something spectacular takes place:

The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name. The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals… (Genesis 18-20)

God created, Adam named.

It is simply amazing. And humbling.

What an honor. And what a clear indicator of who is truly in charge.

We create nothing. That’s the bad news for those who want to be God.

We do though participate in the ongoing unfolding of God’s perfect and eternal world. We even seem to share the leading role. That’s the Good News for those who believe.

For our work is not to create. We simply cant. Only God can. And even if we “build” with what is already in existence, if we seemingly “create” something “new” with the building blocks we find already laying around, that “pseudo-creation” still isn’t our primary job.

Then what is?

Well, the original disciples of Jesus had a similar wonder:

So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6:28-29)

And there’s the crux of it, if you will.

Adam, we must remember, when in the supremely honorable position of naming God’s creatures was still naked, and he felt “no shame.” He hadn’t yet eaten what wasn’t his. He was not yet hiding “among the trees of the garden.” He still believed in the One Who Sends.

Adam was faithful. Adam was original. Adam knew he was God’s creation. And Adam was free to roam.

But Adam used his freedom to choose to become a slave.

Adam’s fall was a fall into self. A fall into creation, the creation of a great lie, that man creates on the same level as God.

It was a great fall. So steep was the cliff off which he went that no other story could ever bring more meaning to the most hackneyed line: “Once upon a time…”

Adam’s fall is a fall into denomination.

A fall into the church of self.

A fall into complete and utter cliché.

And it brought death to the great privilege of cooperating with God, of naming and stewarding on His behalf His created world.

But thanks be to God.

For someone truly original, and creative, finally came round.

He put the apple back up upon the tree and told the snake to take a hike.

His name is Jesus.

He is also called The Son of Man.

But of course we are free to just call Him God.

For about Jesus, nothing is cliché.

It is very clear, there’s absolutely no running or hiding when it comes to the Cross.

And when it comes to His love for us, there’s no apple that can keep the Divine Physician away.


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—Howard Hain

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Morning Thoughts: Love Your Proud Papa

Today, This Moment, The Year of Your Lord

My Child,

I thought I should write you this morning. To put down a few words. To speak into creation my ongoing love for you.

There are times when I watch you, somewhat at a distance. I leave that space so that my watching doesn’t impede your playing. But there is really no space at all. Because by not being “right with you” I get to see you as you truly are. My “distance” allows me to see you within the full scope of your existence. And never forget, my child, not for a second, I create your existence. It is not an event of the past. I am active. Always. I am always creating you, and I am always enjoying my creation. That is why I watch.

I watch you unfold. I watch frowns and frustrations unfold into smirks and full-blown smiles. I watch you evolve and grow. I watch you transform. I watch you fight then make up. I watch you get hurt then heal. I watch you hoard then share. Of course there are many times, my dear child, always in fact, that I want to jump in and save the day, to stop the fight, the hurt, the misunderstanding before it evens begins. But I love you too much to always deny you such good food and such nutritious drink.

I will your existence moment by moment, and my will is love. I know exactly how much you need to digest in order to provide for your perfect growth. I also know when too much of one nutrient or the denial of another is not part of my overall plan.

Perhaps that is the hardest thing about being a father, knowing that your maximum freedom within the ever-expanding bounds of my love is what you most need. Such liberty leads you into the divine individuality that I ultimately will to be achieved. And it’s also what makes you most valuable to our one, united, and very common family.

True liberty is what makes you most like me.

Please enjoy my gift this new day.

That’s what I will.

Enjoy my love. Enjoy your freedom. Enjoy the play of keeping it all within bounds. For you should also know, your freedom without my love is a very dangerous game. A game that as much as it grieves me to see any of my children play, I must allow, if the freedom I gift to you is to be of any value at all.

I am always with you. And know this—and know it for sure—if at any one moment, you choose to use your liberty to call out my name, I will scoop you up before you can even utter “the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter” of my most hallowed name.

For the distance between us isn’t real at all.

It’s love. It’s everywhere. And it lasts for eternity.

I seal this with a kiss. I place it upon the palm of my hand.

I hold it out and gently blow it your way.

I love you…my dear child.

 

Always smiling at you,

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Your Proud Papa

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—Howard Hain

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