Month: January 2012

Waiting …

Waiting.   It’s one of the most difficult things for me to do.   Waiting for answers, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for someone to arrive.   I am not a patient man.  I want what ever I am waiting for to happen now.  The longer I wait the more my anxiety flourishes and I start to feel my blood pressure rise.  Waiting… it isn’t a good thing… or is it?

Waiting is loaded with expectations and anticipations.  Waiting is a pause in our lives, as if the picture is frozen on the screen and we wait for someone to once more push the play button.  Waiting is hard.  Waiting involves the passing of time as we anticipate the thing, the one we wait for.

Anticipation.

Expectation.

Frustration at times is a part of this thing called waiting.   As I read Psalm 37 this morning, one of my favorite Psalms, it’s clear that God invites us to wait….to wait for Him.   Several times in this chapter the invitation is given to wait for the Lord.   There are good reasons for this.   All too often when we have to wait for something, we conclude God is late, has gotten busy somewhere else, has forgotten us, but the truth is that we have simply missed God’s ways and timing and so we find we wait for the one who is never late.

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way”

In this short phrase are the instructions for those of us waiting, while you wait walk with God until H e arrives.  The truth is He is always with us, never leaves us, but waiting involves a patience with God’s timing, God’s plans, God’s ways. 

It involves my choices to walk well while I wait.

“But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.”

There is a reward for waiting.   The reward is God’s business, but the waiting is ours.

There is a reason for the waiting.  I may not always know what that is, but wait I must and trust God to work while I wait.

There is a rest in waiting.   It means I have someone I’m trusting for what’s ahead and I dare not proceed until He arrives.   It’s an awareness that I must not walk alone the road ahead, but wait for God to walk with me, to lead me and guide me.

There is a peace in waiting.   It’s the realization that I wait for one who will accomplish all I wait for. The God who made heaven and earth asks me to wait for Him.   Why wouldn’t I?   How would I dare proceed without Him?   Waiting for God is the most logical decision of all!

What are you waiting for?  Direction?   Answers to prayer?   A job?   Healing?   Peace?   God’s response to your waiting?

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret….”

In other words, don’t worry.   God’s coming.   He will sort it all out for you.   Rest in Him, relax, don’t worry, He’s coming….He’s never late.

All we have to do is learn how to… Wait on the Lord.

Wanderings

Like many other people,  my life has been an odyssey of unknown destinations.

“I never dreamed I would….”

“I am so glad I….”

“I didn’t plan to….”

“I wish I wouldn’t have….”

Life is a series of surprises we never planned for. 

As I reflect on mine, I see a wandering odyssey mostly taken without a plan, purpose or destination. Planning for this, but doing that.   Hoping to be here, but ending up there.  

How can we know the course of our lives, how can we plan our lives when we have no idea what will unfold tomorrow or even this evening?

Life is lived with moments to experience.   Right now I can choose this, do that, go here and from that moment other moments happen.   Where will we end up? How will it all unfold?  Will I be successful, happy, fulfilled, rewarded, content?   Honestly, only God knows.

As I look back I have made decisions that have made me extremely happy.  Things could not have worked out better if I had written the ending results myself.  To be honest,  there have been some decisions that have ended in a series of regrets.   And yet, in the regrets of my choices I see the amazing grace of God working on my behalf.   There are choices to make, that’s clear, but the results of those choices are not always clear to us in the moment. All we can see right now is the moment. For me this all comes down to a simple idea that I think describes my own odyssey of wandering.

“Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?”                                                                                                                                                                                 Proverbs 20:24

So, as we each wander through the twists and turns of life and choices, know that God is directing our destinations.  We won’t figure it all out.  We need to simply trust Him to get us where He wants us to be.

This is a great comfort to me… because as I wander… God has wonderful things for me to learn in this thing called life.

Seeing Eternity

“Are you blind?” I screamed at the basketball official.

Coaching Boys Varsity Basketball against Findlay

I screamed that as a statement as opposed to the question it ended up being.   Truth be told,  I wasn’t looking for a response.  To be exact,  I should have just yelled out… “You are Blind!!!”  That would have been more appropriate for the situation.  Either way… I made my point and then he made his.   He stopped the game and he came ever so close to giving me my first technical foul of my career.  He walked calmly over to me and asked me if I would kindly sit and keep my comments to myself.  For the record, in over 10 years of coaching I had never received a technical foul.  That is not to say I probably didn’t deserve one… I am sure I did. This story is a confirmation of the fact that I should have received one.

As I look back at that time in my life, I am amazed that I really reacted like that.   Some twenty years after I coached my last high school game,  I am convinced that I took it way too serious.  In truth, I wanted to win so bad that at times my heart hurt when we lost.  Looking back, I think it was way more important to me  than it was for the kids.  A few minutes after the game they would be laughing and being teenagers and I was still so ramped up that I would get angry at their lack of concern of losing the game.   I was a fool and there are a few memories that still haunt me to this day.   

There are times I wish I could go back and show them the proper way to react to a loss.  I  would love to show them that the greatest lessons in life were those I learned when I failed.  To be sure… I am not the man I used to be.  God has a way humbling those that need it and He wasted no time in putting me in my place as I sojourned my way through this life.  The truth is that I have learned that none of that ever mattered and some of the very events in my life that I thought were so critical to success in this life are so insignificant.

In the grand scheme of things, to be honest, “your life” is not even an event on the timeline of eternity.  It’s a blip.  Not even a ripple on the vast ocean of time.  An almost insignificant dimple on the page of history.   But much like the vision of the basketball official,  our vision is so limited, we only see “now” and fail to focus on some amazing things that are truly important to our lives.   We need to focus our sight on things that truly matter.

Frankly, we all need glasses.   Most of the people I know are badly near-sighted.   Their vision is only able to focus on “here” and “now”.   Their decisions and desires are all based on this life….taking care of retirement, saving for “the future” and making decisions to “make them happy.”    Their vision is on an amazingly small part of eternity that is called “life”.   Everything they do, every decision they make and even how they spend their time is based on their near-sighted focus on “life” and “now” as it relates to their time here on earth.   God makes it very clear in His Word that our lives we are short in light of eternity.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.   James 4:14

There is a better way…

Our vision of God is so blurry because we rarely try to focus solely on Him.   It’s hard for us to get this most amazing God in focus and so for most of us our vision is quite blurry about who He is, what He’s like, what He thinks about me.  We are too focused on our own issues that we miss the opportunities to get to know Him.  Having the focus on ourselves will make it hard for us to focus on anything else beyond our near-sighted world.   It will make it hard for us to see what our life could be.

The desire of my heart is to now focus on eternity.  Most people have no clue as to what “eternity” really means.  We simply can’t imagine it.  It’s just so….eternal!  Forever and ever.   I think that’s why it’s so blurry to our vision.  I want the right kind of spiritual glasses so that I can focus on eternal things.

Here’s the part of this that must come into focus for all of us.  What we do with Christ in this life will determine our eternal destiny.   We have this “blip” of a life to make decisions about Him and those decisions will determine our eternity ahead.   The very reason Jesus became a man was to provide a solution for our eternal problem.  He said, “God loves you so much that He sent me to die for your sins. If you will believe in me I will give you eternal life.”  

The implication is clear,  if you don’t believe in Him (trust Him for salvation) then you have what every man has apart from faith in Christ – eternal death.   It is the most important thing we could possibly do with our lives, the most important decision we will ever make and yet our focus is on “now” and “happiness” and “our needs.”

I know, in my own life, I live most of my days with the distant horizon out of focus, but I’m praying for a vision for eternity, eyes that look into the days ahead and make decisions today because they will affect me for all of eternity.   I’m praying for eyes to see, so that I can make decisions for eternity and not just for today.

I so wish for you to focus your eyes on eternity and Jesus Christ for your Salvation.

Eternity awaits, all you have to do is focus…

When I Am Afraid

“When I am afraid….”  These words were written by one of the most fearsome, brave warriors of his day, King David.   He was a fearless!  He was the King.   He was no coward and yet fear was a problem he had to deal with in his life…..just as we do in ours.  

We are such fearful little creatures on this tiny planet in the vast Universe.   This year will be fearful for many.   Make some noise and fear rises in our hearts.   Tell us there is crisis in the marketplace and panic  ensues.   As an election year many are afraid of what will happen in the Presidential race.  Almost everything we fear we have no control over and could not change the results even if we wanted to.

Like David, we all deal with fear.   We all know the world around us is not in our control.   We all live with imminent fear in our lives.  How do we respond?   What do we do when fear rises in our hearts?

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose Word I praise, In God I have put my trust;I shall not be afraid. What can mere  man do to me?”      Psalm 56:3-4

“I will put my trust in You.”   The solution to the fears we experience is someone, something big enough to calm them.   Someone able to resolve them.   David said that his first response to fear was to trust in God. We all run to something when fear rises in our hearts, what is it?   Do we run to the bank account?   Is our first response a call to a loved one?   Is our trust in the government?   Our job?   Our family?   When fear rises we need someone, something able to resolve that fear, calm our anxiety.   David trusted in God.   Who or in what do you place your trust?

“In God, whose Word I praise in God I have put me trust; I shall not be afraid.   What can mere man do to me?”   There is one last thing about dealing with fear that is important – you have to know that the one you trust to resolve it is really able to help.   David, after many experiences with fear, had found that God was trustworthy, able to calm his fears, able to solve his problems.   He knew his solution for fear was someone….God himself.   What can man do to you when the creator of the universe is your helper?   What do you have to fear when God is your refuge?

As one of the fearful on this tiny little planet, I’m so glad I have a big God who can calm my anxious heart and deal with my fearful mind.  It all starts by placing your trust in Him.

It’s Just Another Day

It’s just another day.   A busy schedule lies ahead with lots to do.  

So I sit in my car, waiting for the drive thru attendant prepare my cup of coffee.  I love to start the day with a good cup of coffee.  It is always worth the wait.  As I stare through the drive thru window, it occurs to me that this morning  the coffee shop is full of people.   Some are visiting, others are reading the morning paper.   It’s a social place.   Coffee is the catalyst and a place to sit and visit makes it the local club of their day.   Most of the people here know each other, it’s clear they are here often.   The baristas are addressing customers by name and everyone seems to be in good spirits.   It’s a community of moments and soon they will scatter to school, work or back to their homes.  

For a few moments community happens, laughter erupts, the din of voices of lives interacting fills the room.   I think it’s this sense of community that draws people to this place.   A place where anyone can come, get some coffee and be part of something.  Where everyone knows your name.

As I watch them through the window,  I’m thinking this is exactly what the church is supposed to be.  We are called to be a place where “anyone” can come and be part of the community.  Anyone.  A place where anyone can come and be part of something.  Where everyone knows your name.  Somehow we have made it an exclusive club that makes many in the world around us uncomfortable in our churches.  

Of all places the church should be a place where everyone is welcome, loved and cared for.   I wish we could recapture that idea of community rather than what the church at large has become.   How do we recapture the love of Christ that reaches out to the hurting, confused and struggling around us and make them feel at home in our church families?   How do we become a community that those without a place would be welcome in our midst?

Just a few rambling thoughts as I wait for my coffee.

It’s just another day.   A busy schedule lies ahead with lots to do.