Is there any among us who can say their world is not changing? – and changing at a such a rapid pace that it is mind-boggling? Like… at a rate approaching the speed of light? So many of us now are struggling with just trying to stay above water – while others are already under, and then, there are always those who have not yet realized that they are sinking! All that we once called sacred is under fire these days.
“How are you doing?” And we answer, “I’m fine.” when we really mean we’re frustrated, irritated, nervous and exhausted (a much more honest and realistic acronym for FINE!). LOL!
Winelight is a way we can all come together for a little R. R. and R. – rest, reflection and rejuvenation. No need to pretend we’re “FINE”. And while we’re together, hopefully we will all find a place of loving acceptance, warmth, peace, joy and hope that just might encourage and energize us to get back out into the midst of all that is going wrong in our lives, and find God waiting there to show us the plan He has for our lives.
My friend … this one thing is certain…warts, zits, wrinkles and all, He loves you! Believer or non-believer He loves you! Profane or pure, saint or sinner, He loves you (especially the sinners among us!) politically correct or not, He loves you! Too thin, too fat, younger or older, pedigree or no pedigree, degree or no degree, alive and well – or sick all over, insider and outsider, He loves you!
It will be a journey like no other when you start this one. It reminds me of a little article I wrote for my congregation a while back. I post it here for your perusal…
“Are We There Yet?”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25
Years ago, in a “Family Circus” cartoon, the artist had drawn a picture that shows the family car being backed out of their driveway by an obviously already-highly-frustrated dad. The car is bulging with all kinds of vacation gear. The mom has the “deer in the headlights” look of someone in shock who feels totally overwhelmed at the prospect of the annual family “vacation”. The children, on the other hand, are as excited as can be, jumping up and down for joy over the trip. The caption reads, “Daddy, are we there yet?”
Isn’t it interesting the things we choose to remember over the years? …the many kinds of memories or phrases imprinted in our minds – a line from a song, or a favorite saying or expression that “pops” into our mind as we go through the course of a given day. This particular cartoon and caption has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I tend to think of it when I’m bogged down with too much to do, and too little time in which to do it! This last week was a perfect example of how remembering this phrase helped me make it through a really difficult week as we moved from one parsonage to another…
God bless Dana and Howard Park! They came over after work last week to help us pack to move to our new church appointment and accomplished miracles with all that had to be done! Before they arrived, I was deep into heavy-duty grumbling and complaining – so totally frustrated at all that had to be done – I was wallowing in a sea of self-pity! But then, Dana and Howard walked in with smiles as big as Texas, radiating the fruit of the Holy Spirit within them — love and joy. Their boundless energy and “git-r-done” drive made everything move along so much better! They so inspired and lifted me with their joy, that even after they left, I stayed encouraged…until the next day, that is.
By then, and once again, I was totally frustrated and worn out from all that needed to be done. Whether I was wrestling with putting boxes together, or trying to pack similar things together (hard to do when one has so little time to pack), or trying to keep a clear pathway through the stacks of heavy boxes so no one would trip, this little phrase, “are we there yet” crawled out of the deep, dark recesses of my “leettle gray cells” (as Hercule Poirot would say), and I began laughing as I applied it to whatever I was in the midst of at any time…I was getting more and more tired and desperate – so it was either laugh or cry, and I knew I would only make things worse if I allowed myself to get more down. I chose not to cry. I chose to laugh.
I began to realize the more I would say to myself, “Are we there yet?” the better I felt. My spirits would lift. I would laugh to myself and at myself and begin to remember other things that brought a smile to my heart. Laughing made me stronger. Laughing made the seemingly impossible and unbearable more possible and bearable.
LET’S FACE IT! LIFE IS UNFAIR! LIFE IS HARD!
ALWAYS HAS BEEN. ALWAYS WILL BE – ’TILL JESUS COMES!
Choosing how we will confront and deal the frustrations of our lives is ultimately up to us. Things people do and say will hurt us or “impossible” circumstances can and do make us angry from time to time, but it we who must make the choice of how we will respond to them and how long we will choose to stay angry or hurt.. Circumstances can and will pile up against us – that’s life, my friend — but it is up to you and I to decide how we will tackle them … positively or negatively. God’s way or our way. Laugh or cry!
God knows this, He understands, Beloved.. One of the reasons He gives us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is to help us through these and other such frustrations, both small and large, that fill our lives, this side of Heaven. How different would our lives be if we made intentional efforts to live “above” the circumstances instead of “under” the circumstances? How much further would we be on our spiritual journeys if we chose to live above the troubles of this life by God’s grace rather than allowing life’s difficulties to trouble our hearts, drag us down, and hold us back from growing more and more into His image?
These verses from Galatians 5 assure us that indeed, we can live above the troubles of life that threaten to bring us down. The wonderful fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are ours when we allow God’s Holy Spirit to really settle down into us and make His home within us. Then, when (not if -“when”) life throws us a curve ball, we have access to the wonderful fruit of the Holy Spirit to help us through whatever has come our way.
And so, my friends, “Are we there yet?”
John Wesley spoke of our spiritual journey as “going on toward perfection” (perfection = King James’ English = “spiritual maturity”). Now, “how”we make our journey is up to us. God has promised to show us the road less traveled and give us every gift, every grace, and every piece of wisdom we will need to make our journeys complete in Him – when we walk through our journeys in His Spirit.
My friend, on what road are you traveling? Are you going the right direction? Where are you going? Who or what is an obstacle that might be blocking your way? What is dragging you down or holding you back? Is every step you take a painful one? Do you feel alone, rejected, or abandoned? Are you weary? exhausted? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Are we there yet? Probably not. But in the name of Jesus, and by the grace of God, we’re getting there!
From my heart to yours . . . Kay!