Thursday, May 15

Preparation and response

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus................Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -----and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:19, 24-26 NIV

It has been a rough month, or to be honest a rough couple of months, and I have struggled with attending church, doing devotionals, writing my blog, and the ministries I have been involved with I haven't been faithful to in attendance, participation, and preparation. Many of my friends have told me that this 'withdrawal' is understandable due to the harshness of the storms, but I have been uneasy and out of sorts.

That old phrase, "Barely keeping my head above water" comes to mind when I reflect back upon the lack of movement that has characterized my past few months.

Sunday, I attended church for the first time in a few months. Pastor Dave was happy to see me and told me that he wanted to meet with me later in the week to catch up on things. He's aware of the trials that I am experiencing and commented that I am weathering them well. But, it was his sermon that threw me into fits for the week and as much as I have tried to write about what I am thinking, the words just have failed me. Until I read the section to a friend of mine who was driving me home from work yesterday due to the car problems.

This section of Scripture wasn't even part of the sermon Pastor Dave gave, but was immediately following what he had referenced in Hebrew about what a covenant is. He's doing a series on Ephesians and he wanted us to understand what the covenant is, what it is about, and the impact of it upon our lives. I must confess that I wasn't tracking well, and skipped to read a bit past what Pastor Dave was discussing.

And I haven't been able to let go of it all week.

I've been walking around for the last month like a whipped puppy, trying to stay out of the way of the semi that has been barrelling through my life. Trying to maintain; not excite or incite anyone. Just existing, not living.

My friend asked me last Thursday if I had been doing my devotionals, reading for the leadership program, or even spending my morning time with God. I had to confess that I hadn't. I've been on sabbatical, if you wish to call it that, from the chapel ministry for three months now. And the only devotionals I have done are the ones that I get in my email account. Too often, lately, I have been skimming through them, for God has been seemingly absent at the switchboard when I call. As if He too needed a vacation from the life of me.

Guiltily I struggled to restart my devotionals, write to my blog, and generally reengage in life, for even if it's feeling like it ain't worth living, it is the only one I've got. And I've tried looking at other Scripture, writing about what I feel is being pointed out to me in the words spoken there, but nothing has come of easy flow of words to express my discontentment and weariness. These sets of Scriptural verse have captured my focus, and the meaning I was seeking in them seemed to be hidden in a dense fog............

A sailor will tell you that they train and train and train until the job; either as a military, sail, or powered sailor, takes over any required thought, any deep philosophical discussion that might be needed when faced with crisis, either foreseen or unpredicted. In the open sea, or even in an enclosed water system, seconds can cost you life, limb, or property as the sea is an unforgiving force that knows no grace or mercy to throw at those who are hapless upon its horizons.

Any sailor will tell you that even as the storm rages, catching you unaware, response times are of the essence and life or death will result in you fighting forward despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation.

So it is with followers of Christ. We must train and train ourselves to revert to 'natural' tendencies when the world around us hates us, ridicules us, and mocks us. We must seek out the truth when the storm clouds gather, or even in the midst of the storm.

We must fight against our natural human tendency to gather the wagons, separate ourselves from the pain and isolate ourselves from help. We must stand open, regardless of the situation, and rely on the confidence that allows us to walk into the presence of God. We must focus only on the promises of the One who is capable of delivering.

By staying in the Word, despite any reasoning not to. By gathering with brethren that know us, love us, and want to cheer us on through the difficulties. By being held accountable when all we want is a little 'grace'. Gathering despite the feeling that we really don't want to 'deal' with the community.

Movement, as Scott Engleman would say, despite the pain, the fear, and the desire to stand still.

And then we can start healing, overcoming, and be victorious.

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