Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What I learned on a few field trips


My dad is fond of saying he’s “chronologically gifted.” I don’t know where he came across that turn of phrase, but the more “chronologically gifted” I become, the more aware I am of how much I don’t know compared to the naiveté of my know-it-all youth.

But being on the planet awhile has bestowed on me at least a few morsels of wisdom—almost all of them hard learned on what Beth Moore would call a “field trip” in life. Like her, I wish I had learned more in the classroom. You probably already know these things, but maybe one of them might save someone else a “field trip.”

So here goes.

Life doesn’t come out even. The round pegs don’t always fit in round holes; the square pegs don’t always fit in square holes this side of Heaven. Sometimes there are pieces of the puzzle left over or missing pieces.

There’s not going to be a time when you finally get this or that worked out and everything in your life is settled. There will always be the next situation to help build our character,to make our lives feel a little or a lot undone.

Don’t give up. Instead, drop to your knees before the Lord and surrender to Him. At the point where the enemy of our souls has almost convinced us to quit, often the greatest joys of our lives are around the corner.

Face your fears. Take necessary steps to deal with them. Spend time with God, have others pray for you, read, or go for counseling.

It is important to finish well.

You can’t solve all the world’s problems, but Jesus can. We were not made to carry around the weight of global problems, or even the burdens of our own life alone. We will be crushed. Jesus comes alongside to shoulder the weight. His burden is light.

Yes, God will give you another chance. Even if it is the gazillionth time. Yes, he will forgive you if you truly repent. I don’t need to know what you’ve done. This doesn’t mean that the consequences of your sin will not continue or that you will escape the penalty in this life.

It’s a blessing that the Lord chastens those whom He loves. How awful to be headed away from Him and not even know it. His chastening does not feel like judgment but a reminder of the boundaries he has established.

It’s going to be all right. Maybe not in the way we'd want here and now, but eventually, it’s going to be all right if we know Jesus.

Do you know him?
 "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith" (Philippians 3:8-9).

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