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Issue 14-13

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Dear Friends,

I may be come-lately in the stages of grief (it has been exactly two years since our 41-year-old son Jeremy died of lymphoma), but I’ve been having some frank and angry sessions with God. I’m not the sort who thinks that because we’ve served the Lord all of our married lives (for five decades—and come to think of it, with most of our possessions as well), no bad things will happen. I’ve learned that terrible things have happened, do happen and will happen again.

One morning, I woke up with these words addressed to God: You hurt me.
This wasn’t an accusation; it was an objective statement of fact and sort of in the vein of the child who has been roughly disciplined by a parent because he darted into oncoming traffic in the street.
Nevertheless, and rare for me, tears rolled down my cheeks.

Neither is my anger toward God a diatribe; it is more of the kind that comes from fatigue. More the “I’m tired of being Your press agent. If You’re not going to do what You’ve promised, then how in the world do You expect me to ‘proclaim your good works among the children of men’?!” My anger is more in this kind of vein. I’m also tired of having people say things like: “Wow! You guys are getting to be like Job!”

Now the interesting thing about our anger with God is that it clears the air; this kind of honesty often allows God to do the work in our lives He wants to do. A friend brought me a book by Richard Rohr titled Job and the Mystery of Suffering: Spiritual Reflections. Of course, being in my angry-with-God disposition, some of the author’s commentary jumped out from the pages:

“Job yells at God, accuses God of all kinds of things, speaks sarcastically, almost makes fun of God. ‘If this is a game you are playing, then you’re not much of a God!
I don’t need you and I don’t want you’—it’s that kind of prayer that creates saints.”

Creates saints? I was stunned. Rohr goes on to explain: “You can’t pray that way, with that authority, unless you know something, unless you are assured at a deep level of a profound relatedness between the two of you, unless you know you can venture into that arena where we say angels fear to tread.”

Last month, I wrote a donor letter about my 2002 Mazda dying after it had been “fixed” at the local auto shop owned by Vince. As I was racing to catch a plane at O’Hare, the car died in traffic on the highway. The car was towed to the nearest Mazda dealer, and the battery was replaced. It then stalled out again in the parking lot of the grocery store, and our friends, the local car-repair guys, hauled it to the shop and replaced the alternator. That very week, while running errands one morning in our little town of West Chicago, it died once again—the motor did not idle, nor would the ignition turn over.

But it stalled at the intersection directly beside Vince’s car-repair shop.
I knew immediately that God was saying to me,
“I know you’re angry at me. I get it.
Let me dramatically make this point: I love you.
I am caring for you. I am watching over you. I am NOT removed from your difficulties.
Pay careful attention exactly to the place where you stalled out.
This is not circumstantial; this is providential.”

Indeed, over some 40 years, I have recorded my God Hunt sightings. I have kept a record of God’s loving intervention in my everyday life. I know that after losing a ministry, pouring a Father’s inheritance into paying down debt, being the object of people’s slander, losing a son to lymphoma, tearing a rotator cuff, having a thyroid removed because of cancer, watching my children suffer—I know, I know deep in my intellect and experience deeper in my soul that this God loves me, cares about me, understands me. I am not afraid to be honest with my anger. Going on the God Hunt daily for over 40 years has given me practical evidence that God is active, cares and is working on my behalf—despite life’s terrors.

How else to explain the 2002 Mazda dying, for the fourth time, TWENTY FEET from our local car-repair shop?
(The alternator, which was under warranty, was flawed.)

mazda.jpg

Let me repeat: I have spent the last 40 years of my life recording the daily interventions of God in my everyday life. Sorrow cannot deceive me; weariness cannot assail me; disappointment can’t defeat me. I have developed the habit of sightedness—I see God’s work here, there and all around. This substantial practice of looking for God daily, then writing down my sightings as a permanent lifetime record has empowered me to see His hand where others cannot.

We are in the process of reducing our possessions, moving our offices to the basement of our house, and beginning to transition to our son and daughter-in-law’s converted barn home on 18 acres in northern Illinois. Moving the Mainstay Ministries office will save us about $9000 a year.

However, we have 20 boxes of hardcover Going on a God Hunt books in our garage. We would much rather put them in the hands of your kids, people in your Sunday School class, folk at work who would be blessed by them, even your kids’ teachers, than move the boxes unopened, contents unread. The spiritual practice of seeking and finding God in the everyday will ensure against folk being overwhelmed when bad things happen.

stacked boxes of books

One of the things I’m mad about is that I don’t have the money I need for what is in my heart to do. I have to pray everything in, fast and pray then fast and pray again, ask friends, put it on my request and intercessory-prayer lists.
I feel like I’ve spent a ministry lifetime begging!

I have the desire and the capability, but not the financial means. If you are planning a book study with your small group, if you want to go on a spiritual adventure with your immediate family, if you would like to expand your vision of God with some companions hungry for spiritual growth, would you consider purchasing quantities of The God Hunt as a means to helping me and to helping them? Details are included in the Book Corner.
 
At the end of Job’s trial, he says, “God looks at me and understands.” This is an extraordinary statement after the previous chapters of anger and grief and distress. Everything comes together when we know, really know that God is looking at us, and despite our raw and ragged humanity, He understands. In truth, not too far down in my soul, at some bedrock level, I feel the same way. There’s hope for this one angry woman.

Karen Mains

NOTICES

REMINDER — 24-Hour Advent Retreat of Silence (Sunday, Dec. 26 - Monday, Dec. 27)

CLICK HERE for the Online Registration (fill out form online, send payment via PayPal) - OR
CLICK HERE for the PDF Registration Form (print, complete, and send via snail-mail along with check)

REMINDER — 8-Hour Advent Retreat of Silence (Thursday, Dec. 3 / Saturday, Dec. 5)

CLICK HERE for additional details and Online Registration (multiple payment options).

Check out additional information with a few clicks, register online, and pay the retreat fees as well. We’ve tried to make this as user-friendly as possible.


Reminder!

The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.


Karen Mains

Karen Mains

"Going on the God Hunt daily for over 40 years has given me practical evidence that God is active, cares and is working on my behalf—despite life’s terrors."
Help Us Clean Out Our Garage As We Get Ready to Move!!

If a stalled car, with a dead motor, immoveable and intractable, can be a sign of God’s tender care and love, then think how many divine and caring incidents are missed each day when we don’t pay attention. This month, for any gift of any amount, we will send one autographed hardback copy of The God Hunt as our way of saying thank you. If you are interested, please email me at Karen@hungrysouls.org or phone me at 630-293-4500. There are various ways you can help. A few ideas:

* Send a year-end gift as a way of providing funds for my frustrated plans!
* Send a gift in the amount of your choosing and receive a hardcover copy of The God Hunt in return.
* Buy quantities of The God Hunt at $5 a book.
* Buy a whole box of books (32 quantity) for $150.
* Buy one or more copies of the new Tales of the Resistance (Book Two of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy) at $20 each.

Back-cover copy from The God Hunt:

Finding God incognito in the world...
is delight. It is joy. It is wonder.
It is a childlike, wiggling anticipation that somewhere, any moment, just around the next corner, when you least expect it,
the Divine is going to jump out,
... and you are going to respond,
"GOTCHA!"

Join Karen Mains on the God Hunt—a playful and profound way to seek and find those seemingly ordinary moments when God intervenes in your life with guidance, care and help.

You'll find such moments happen more than you think! And you'll be drawn into deeper communion with God as you tune in to the many ways He answers prayer, shows evidence of His love, helps you do His work in the world and "works all things together for good."



Copyright 2006-2015 Mainstay Ministries. All rights reserved.

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