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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Longest Day, Largest Giveaway – Are Some Things Just Too Good to be True?

Today is the first day of summer as well as the longest day – and shortest night - of the year. Summer officially began here in the Northern Hemisphere at 5:14 a.m. Eastern. I hope you can get out today to enjoy it!

In celebration, I’m hosting the Longest Day, Largest Giveaway. Summer solstice happens to coincide with the official release of the softcover edition of my first book, This Life We Share. You can’t have a party without presents, so you can win one of 2 copies by leaving a comment below.

In addition, the good folks at Goodreads are giving away 6 hardcover copies of our little LISY (Life is Sweet, Y’all) today through July 2. You’ll find the link to enter at the end.

But wait, there’s more! (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

This past Saturday, I stopped at the little gift shop at the Shelton Museum. The Shelton is an historic home in Waynesville that displays vintage Appalachian arts and crafts and sells the work of local artisans. I purchased a beautiful teal medallion on a gold chain that I knew needs to belong to one of you. Scroll through for the photo and leave a comment if you’d like to win.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely we’re already acquainted. But how do you feel when someone you don’t know offers you something for nothing?

Maybe, like me, you’re prone to a bit of suspicion. When a stranger approaches with a pleasant smile and an unsolicited gift, there must be a catch, right? If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

Except when it’s not.

Do you have a proclivity to regard God this way? Do I?

I have no problem viewing him as the Father who loves me, the Son who saved me, and the Comforter who comes alongside me. I accept that when hard times enter my life, as they sometimes do, he can and will use them for good.

Some of us have been taught that joy is sacred while happiness is secular. The former is to be desired while the latter is suspect, an illusory emotion dependent only upon what happens to us.

But the scriptural record proves otherwise.

Consider the compelling story of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings. This long-married wife of an older husband had stopped praying or even hoping for a child until God, working through the prophet Elisha, granted the secret desire of her heart in a miraculous way. Life with her cherished son was precious beyond belief—until her worst fears were realized. On a hot harvest day, the boy cried out in agony, clutched his head, and died.

The story of the agonized mother’s race to find the prophet is told in detail in 2 Kings 4: 8-37. The climactic moment occurs in her anguished cry in verse 28: “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?”

If you’ve read the story, you know the ending. The death of the fulfilled promise would be the worst kind of deceit, were there no resurrection. But there was. The life of the Shunammite’s son was restored.

Have you longed and prayed for something for so many years you’ve given up hope it will ever happen? Resignation is not always a bad thing. Acceptance often brings peace.

But hear me now: We need to stop putting our inner pessimist on the platform and handing him the microphone. I’m sick of lowering my expectations to avoid disappointment. Aren’t you?

If this is where you are, know that God desires our happiness just as those of us who are parents delight in providing for our own children.

“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it –
What God has arranged for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9

That child who has strayed so far away spiritually you fear he’ll never return? The marriage that seems irretrievably, irrevocably broken? The medical diagnosis that speaks of endings but not beginnings?

Please don’t assume that because nothing appears to be happening in your situation right now, God is not at work. Let’s not factor the Father out. He can do above and beyond what you can ask or imagine – not just for your holiness but for your happiness as well.

When your desired outcome seems too good to be true?

It just might be true anyway.

- Portions adapted from This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others, by Maggie Wallem Rowe, NavPress, 2020. Used with permission.

Here is the necklace I purchased on Saturday. Do you see why it must go to one of you who, like me, needs to believe God for your future?

To win either the pendant or a copy of This Life We Share, please leave a comment below.

To win one of six copies of Life is Sweet, Y’allenter the Goodreads Giveaway here.

I love you, friends. Do something special to celebrate the first day of summer, and please share it below with the rest of us!

Photo courtesy Maureen Miller

Photo courtesy Jan de Chambrier


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