Daily Archive for August 02 2017
DRIVING IN ENGLAND
Imagine you are going to live in England for a year. During your stay you will be required to drive yourself everywhere you go. Fortunately for you, a lifelong friend you know lives in England. She lives in the same area in which you will soon live. You are really concerned about the driving thing because they drive on the “wrong,” no, let me correct that, the “other side” of the road.
Your plan is a great one because you already know, that under pressure, you will immediately revert to your old habit of moving toward the right side of the road. It will be hard enough to do even with little traffic. It becomes dangerous in traffic.
You get along swimmingly for a few weeks, even though you reverted back several times to your old ways during that time. If it had not been for the constant corrections from your friend, you would have crashed many times.
One day you do the oddest thing. You stop the car, start walking down the road. Your friend gets out and says, “Where are you going?” To this you reply, “I guess I was never meant to drive a car! I give up!”
Your friend would assure you that you born to be a good driver, but that you have to learn to drive here, in a different way. Beating yourself up about it would be of no value. But it is hard to do, especially at first, is it not? But that “born- to- be- a- good- driver” thing keeps you “driven” to learn.
We used to live out of our old self-centered life, thinking we were doing well. We crashed all the time and never arrived at any destination. In fact, we knew we were going in circles. The emptiness and hopelessness grew. We talked to others who said that if we will just go faster, that some day, it will mean something. But you figured out they did not know what they were talking about.
Sunday we will look at I John 2: 15-17. It is about driving in maddening circles; getting no where. We will describe the insanity but will not leave it there. We want to see how to live out of our new life in Christ. It is much like driving on the other side of the road, as they do in England. The advantage is we have that Friend, always there with us. He can actually grab the wheel at times, if need be. Yet, He wants us to learn to do the driving, forever in cooperation with Him. Over time you realize the driving was only a part of it. The conversations, with your Friend, along the way became the main thing. He also keep telling you about another place you have never seen. He used to live there, He says, and He said that you are going to be there one day also.
It would be an odd thing for you to think you could not drive a car, simply because you look like a novice driving one in England. After Christ gives you a new life you have all the power to live differently. Yet, that power does not make you instantly a great driver. You need that Friend along at all times. Over time, you will change into what you were always meant to be. In fact you start noticing that you are taking on the gracious character of your traveling companion. All this time you wanted to be a great driver in England, and so it is, but you realize you got much more than you bargained for.
Ephesians 3: 20-21 ” Now to Him who is able to do more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” 8/2/17 JWP
Matthew 6:25-27 ” For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”
You probably think about such things a lot. We all desire some kind of predictability in our life. So far so good. It does not take long, though, until that good desire becomes toxic and ruins the joy we should be experiencing.
At 28 I packed up everything I had and moved me and the family to the Northwest. After about a year I wondered if I had made a mistake. I knew I was supposed to be there, but as in all things, faith works in the arena of doubt. I am in my study one day and saw this robin digging out a worm. I thought of this passage and made a few observations.
That bird is totally dependent upon what he finds on the ground. If he looks in the wrong place, or eats the wrong things, or is not careful of attacks from above and below, he will not make it. He seemed so helpless there. I felt so helpless there, in that moment. I still “feel” helpless an unattended to at times.
I made another observation. Have you ever seen a lazy bird? I mean one that hangs out on street corners, drinking a beer, pack of cigs rolled up on the sleeve of his James Dean t-shirt? Me neither. They seek and they find, yet, totally dependent on what God has provided. Don’t be lazy! But don’t think it is all up to you either! It is supposed to feel a little “iffy.”
That is how it is for us and it is a wonderful thing. If you do not think that it is a wonderful thing, go read about yourself in Deuteronomy 8. I will wait. Ok,you are back. Do you see why it must be this way?
I made another observation. Under my breath, I said to myself that day, “I cannot do this ; this is too much!” I expected some kind of correction from the Lord, but I get comfort instead. So how does that work? I don’t really know. Don’t care to get a lesson on the subject. Don’t need it explained- to- death to me. I just know, by a long experience now, that He is faithful.
If I want to “feel like” I am off- balanced all the time, and barely surviving, I can. But the truth is much different than my immediate feelings. On that day with that robin, doing exactly what he should be doing, I pondered, ” Am I doing what I should be doing?”
I read the verses again, asking a question, about me, at the end of every verse. “Lord, are you really going to take care of me?” “Do you really love me?” ” Am I trying to feel in control because I think I have a better plan for me than You have?”
And then I thought to myself, “Things probably would go better if I were more perfect right now, or if I were in a different place, or maybe I will never be good enough to serve the Lord.” Realizing there is no such thing as thinking “unto yourself,”( the Lord hears it all and wants to be part of the secret thought life we have), I said, ” Thank you Lord for hearing every thought I have!”
At that moment I realized that the Lord, (knowing it all, every thought,) is not a threat, but a comfort. Didn’t a man in Scripture say to Jesus, “help my unbelief?” 7/31/17 JWP
You don’t get zapped for being dead- on honest with God; with a view to seeking Him completely and obeying Him. He just wants the real you to meet the real Lord of all, time and time again. In those exchanges you begin to change. So finally, after all the self-inflicted torment, finally obey Him. I do not have words to express how great I felt when I left the office that day. I also was assured that I would be “cycled-through” more experiences in the future. I actually looked forward to the next one. Then when it came I fell about the place, but not quite the same. A bit more hope each time and certainly peace. That robin got nothing on me!
Well my hope for you is that you have such encounters, and you stay long enough in that pocket of struggle to come out the other side at peace and stronger in the Lord. He cares deeply and He cares about those “secret” thoughts. Through all of that, He is not ashamed to call you and me His own. How great is that God? JWP