Thursday, October 11, 2018

Puzzled by Life

Another day on the beach and another blog post. If you are still reading, I’m glad. I used to blog a lot more until I got a full time job as an activities director at an old folks home. Now I blog when I have time or like currently, when I’m on vacation. 

I brought a 1500 piece puzzle to work on while we are here. We have it spread out on the kitchen table in our condo. It occurred to me while working on some of the harder parts of the puzzle that a puzzle is much like our lives. It’s a lot easier to figure out what part of the puzzle goes where when you use the picture of what it looks like when it’s finished. Unfortunately in life, we don’t have a picture to look at when times get hard and our pieces of our lives don’t seem to fit just right. We just have to trust that God has the picture and we just keep turning the pieces this way and that until they fit. Sometimes we get satisfaction in figuring out pieces of our lives and putting them together into a beautiful picture and other times, we work and work to no avail. 

It just looks like an overwhelming mess. God has the picture in His hands and knows how the pieces of our lives go together. One day, He will sit us in His lap and show us the picture and it will all make sense. Until then, we have the written picture of the Bible that will help us along the way. Ultimately, God holds the picture. He knows how all of it fits together. 

All we need to do is keep plugging at it. Turning the pieces of our lives this way and that until they make something recognizable. Sometimes our lives are harder to put together than others, but one day it will all make sense. May we all have faith to keep on keeping on even when the pieces don’t fit or make sense. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Even the Wind and the Waves Obey

As I sit on the beach, I reflect on the power of the ocean. It’s sound is mesmerizing. It’s smell is intoxicating. It’s sound is rejuvenating. Hurricane Michael is wreaking havoc on the panhandle of  lorida with 140 MPH winds and surfs as treacherous as the panhandle has ever seen. Here in Gulf Shores, we are far enough west that we are not bothered by the hurricane. However, the wind is incredibly powerful here as residual from Michael. The waves are as high and as spectacular as I have ever seen them. They are crashing at a rate that I have only seen on tv. Yet, here I am, live, witnessing it with my own two eyes. I am blessed and highly favored. 

As I sit and reflect, Jesus’ teaching comes to mind. Particularly in Mark chapter 4 where Jesus was teaching and he went out in a boat to teach so that the people on the shore could hear and see him.  Later in that same chapter, he goes away with his disciples and takes a nap in the boat. In a panic, they wake him saying paraphrased, How can you sleep when the water is raging into the boat?  They were human. Worriers. 

Jesus Stills the Sea

      35On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” 

Worrying gets us nowhere. It is not a profitable use of our time. These guys were worrying and Jesus sits up and calms the sea and the wind with his words. Just like that. As I sit here on the beach watching the fury of the waves crashing in and the wind blowing so hard and marvel at the fact that not only was all creation spoken into existence, but the wind and the waves obey his command. Jesus could walk up on this beach right now and command the waves to stop and the wind to cease and it would happen. Incredible and yet, I believe. As we go through life together on this earth, may we always remember that the One who can speak the world into submission loves us enough to die for us and we live for Him. Faith over fear. Prayer over worry. Peace over turmoil. It’s a gift we receive without deserving. Take advantage of it and skip the worry. God’s got this. He can speak the waves into submission, He has your little part of the world covered also. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New Every Morning

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve had a lot of thoughts but haven’t made time to write them. I’m at the beach this week and I feel my most creative and reflective at the beach so here is the fruit of that reflection. 

We can dig the biggest holes and build the largest sandcastles on the sand every day and each morning, the beach is smooth and magnificent and perfect and new. The waves and tide come in and wash the sand back into the holes and flatten the sand sculptures back to perfect beach every day.  It reminds me of a scripture. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. 
Lamentations 3:22-23

No matter what holes we may dig in our lives or what elements we add to the top that may not belong in our lives but are pretty to look at(much like sand castles), God wipes us clean every morning. The waves balance the beach back to center. Perfect North. Ready for what the new day will bring. A new kid with a shovel, a new artist with an idea for the sand, a new family to have fun. No matter what the day may bring, the beach is smooth and ready and fresh every morning. 

We are like the beach and God is the ocean. We can make a mess of our lives or build things that are beautiful to look at or catch our eyes. But in the morning, God has made it all new again, smooth, fresh, a new beginning. A new day, a new start, a renewed sense of hope for the future. Let’s all take advantage of God’s gift to us each day of a fresh start. Leave behind yesterday and it’s follies and look at today. Tomorrow may never come, yesterday is gone, all we have is today. Fresh and new. Make it the best day ever!