Friday, May 31, 2013

Waiting ...

“And they (Job’s friends) sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”  (Job 2:13, ESV)

Oh the waiting game ... often played, rarely appreciated.  I'm playing it now and I hope that I can take a lesson from Job.  Those seven days where nobody spoke a word were essential to what unfolded.  Too often, we (and by that I mean I) want to rush to the solution or the end or at least something other than the waiting.  And, when we do that, we miss the opportunity to appreciate so many things.  So, while I'm still waiting on what comes next for me, here are some thoughts that should make me appreciate this silent period.

I had the most wonderful time away with the family.  We really needed it and despite not having a job to come back to, it was a great experience where lasting memories were made.  That can get lost in the waiting impatience if I let it and it really shouldn't.

I have had the chance to see just how big my network is over the past few weeks.  No, nothing firm has turned up for employment, but there have been some great conversations and we have not gone hungry or begun living outside yet.  The breadth of people I know at many levels can get lost when I'm focused on busy and not in a waiting stage.

Serving others is a valuable thing that rarely gets done when we are so focused on what is next.  This past week, I had the opportunity to serve my sister by ripping out and replacing her porch.  The job ended up bigger than we planned, but it also ended up as a much nicer porch.  She will have many pleasant mornings, afternoons, and evenings sitting on that porch and just enjoying what life brings in front of her.  Had I not been waiting, it would have taken a month or more of weekends to do the job.

God doesn't promise a precisely running clock on the Crooked Path.  He only promises to be with us - and that extends to the waiting period.  The waiting is a chance to listen a little more closely, reflect a little more deeply, and take time for opportunities that otherwise might have been missed.  And, as Isaiah stated, it can be a time to renew that which sustains me as I travel.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

So Many Thoughts

So many thoughts swirling around in my head today. Too many to just focus on a single post, and yet there is a single idea that does make me pause to consider that magnitude of it.  It is a very comforting thought in difficult times and an encouraging thing on which to base my faith day to day.

First, John Eldridge's daily post today was from his book Desire.  The first part of the e-mail said this:

"This may come as a surprise to you: Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person. It is not a program for getting us in line or for reforming society. It has a powerful effect upon our lives, but when transformation comes, it is always the aftereffect of something else, something at the level of our hearts. And so at its core, Christianity begins with an invitation to desire."

I carried that thought into the Sunday School class I'm co-teaching on C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  But it was one of the verses attached to the e-mail that really struck home with me and a few of my friends.  Jesus ends his discussion with the Samaritan woman with this, "The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life" (John 4:14 The Message).  What a way to capture that thought.  And how encouraging when we face so many difficulties in our lives.  We have a well spring within us, gushing LIFE!!

In my current search for the next career situation God has for me, through the loss of a dear family friend rather suddenly, to all those little aches and pains that accompany nearly half a century on this Earth ... I have a connection to LIFE that gushes refreshment and renewal right inside me.  God's Spirit will not fail to provide what I need in absolute abundance.  The emotional comfort, the physical needs ... all of it is taken care of by a God I can trust completely.

Now I realize I've rambled a bit, but I think I gave fair warning about that.  The Crooked Path of life often comes at us in what seems like hyper-speed.  But God's provision - the LIFE in Christ he provides - will always be what we need, when we need it, and in overwhelming abundance.  I may not be able to focus my thoughts all that clearly, but God knows them and knows me completely.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Little Perspective

About two years ago, I had one of "those" meetings with HR and my manager.  It wasn't a big surprise as there were many changes going on.  Still, it was a change that we had to accept and it meant a more aggressive search for a new job and all that comes with that.  It took about four months to get into something stable and even now, I've not held a "permanent" job since I left that company.

Today is the first day of another journey.  My current contract was not renewed (again, not a big surprise) and we're in that search mode once again.  I've had some bouts of feeling sorry for myself, but they have been tempered by the overwhelming knowledge that I belong to a God for whom nothing comes as a surprise.  And this same God promises to be with me no matter what.  He tells me that instead of worrying, I should bundle up my worry and give it over to him.  It's not an easy thing to do, but I am trying to practice it day by day, hour by hour.

All this puts things in perspective for me.  I have yet to find myself without more than just the bare necessities of life.  In fact, through all of this I have been more than blessed.  Perspective also bids me to look around and see that others suffer in far greater ways.  Once again this week, the headlines are full of truly evil acts.  Phone calls, e-mails, and social media posts tell of others who have greater cause for concern about things that matter far more than my job.

Perspective ... it can be a difficult thing to interpret at times.  I've said before that the Crooked Path makes some rather tight turns and seeing very far ahead just isn't going to happen.  Especially in those times, I need to trust the one who has a far greater perspective of my life and know he loves me deeply and will make his best happen in his own way.