Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I don't know if you have noticed, but we seem to live on ordinary streets that can often throw us for a loop.  We try not to think about our trek being strewn with tough hills and depressing valleys and treacherous curves; yet, it very much is just that way. While we prefer to travel through life on straight and flat roads with temps in the 70s, such isn't the case; it isn't reality.  No. we have dips and dives and weather that includes storms....ferocious winds at times.

My goal today is to help you to think in a way so that you aren't thrown for a loss because you didn't see the ice on the curve...or whatever else might cause strain in your otherwise well-intentioned day.  Really, why would we assume otherwise?  Do we think all spiritual roads are level and straight-lined?  I don't think so.  So what's up with our constant feel of being caught off-guard as if some strange thing were happening to us?

Consider the words of a disciple who had experienced ups and downs; severely so. Peter cleared the air for each of us when he penned, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation (I Peter 4:12-13).

Peter's words stunned me when I recall how I had read them over for about the twentieth time and it began to occur to me that he meant me.  Did he mean that the junk I was putting up with in the church was good for me?  Was he saying that I needed to see things go badly?  Could it be true that in the center of misery I was actually being benefitted?  And could it be that even I was not as squeaky clean as I envisioned?  Yes, yes, yes, and again, yes.

I needed all of the disappointments and the frustrations because I wasn't so hot myself.  Although I perceived myself as having a grip on church (don't we all), I learned through curves packed with ice that Jesus was the only one able to negotiate the difficult terrain of the Kingdom.  He knows.  I am to follow.

So I say to each of you who feels you've about had it with others (whether your preacher or your elder or your youth guy or your colleague) that what you may want to do is realize that some curves are packed with ice and it will take some significant adjustment within your own heart to maneuver them.  Don't give up.  Don't give out. Do give in to the valuable instruction available in these constant church distractions called suffering.

Jesus didn't die of natural causes while sitting in an armchair watching M.A.S.H.  He died from puncturing words and severing wounds upon a rough-hewn cross all the while extending an invitation to see if any of us would dare follow such a failured-appearing lead.  We said we would.  We, any member of the church, have volunteered to be mistreated; even abused for our efforts in faith.  So, why would we, then, be surprised at how tough it is at times?

So to my dear readers, I remind you to not be surprised at how rough your day is when all you desire to do is to give hope and life to others.  You must be mistreated in order to understand how those you are ministering to have been mistreated.  It is from this very perspective that Jesus understands us.  He was....you may recall....a person on earth with the intent to find out what it was like to walk in our sandals in order to be sympathetic toward us rather than critical of us.  Yes, the Cross changes how we interpret the icy curves thrown us.

When you hit the icy slick spots....try to remember....that you are being blessed on those upsetting curves as well....so that you can understand your neighbor who lives on the very same road as you.

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