That’s the best word for it. Perplexed. One day is so good. The next, not so good. I do the same things. Get up close to the same time. Go through the same routine. But different results. There’s a whole different feel to the day.
Sometimes, I want sameness. No whiny phone calls or infantile e-mails. I want blue skies and clear sailing.
What I get is unpredictable, whiny and infantile. Ugh.
Oh, I’m smart enough to know that life happens and good is sometimes edged out by bad and when life hands you lemons you make lemonade. But I want to wake up more often to the lemonade, sit back and just ‘do life’. And that life is easy, carefree, no sweat, good times not bad, the best not the worst.
Who wants to join my ‘Carefree, No Sweat Club’?
If only it was that easy. If only we could just send in a membership and it becomes ‘all good’. If only we could just start a club that could guarantee that we don’t have to ‘sweat’ life. Nice.
It’s a great daydream, a daydream that I sometimes want to get lost in. That daydream envelops me on those days when I just don’t have the energy to fight the good fight, to do the right thing, to be God’s man. Ever been there? Dumb question. We’ve all been there. More than once.
Life overwhelms at times.
I have a friend who lost his job. It hit him hard. And then his wife lost hers. Ouch.
A woman keeps calling. She keeps missing me. She won’t leave a call back number. It sounds like she’s in an abusive situation. There’s no way for me to help her until we connect. How much danger is she in?
An acquaintance has lost almost everything due to a relative’s financial malpractices. The road ahead is rocky.
I know many a person who knows they’re at a fork in the road. A decision has to be made about life direction. And they feel stuck.
So, what do we do? I’m fond of the Eugene Peterson quote about the life of faith “A long obedience in the same direction.” It’s not very daydreamy is it? But it’s truth.
What’s required for that long obedience?
Almost every prayer I pray for someone in need is that he/she might experience the presence of the living God in whatever they’re encountering.
In the joy of life may they experience the freeing presence of Jesus. In the sadness of life may they experience the nurturing guidance of the Holy Spirit. In times that overwhelm may they fall into the arms of the caring Father.
The long obedience in the same direction requires trust in a God who promises to always be there, even when it doesn’t seem like He is.
I think that journey calls for friendships. Who doesn't need men and women in their life who can encourage, prop up, and even help carry the burden? But so many try to go it alone. And loneliness is their only constant companion and the journey appears longer, more arduous and never ending.
Is there more? Probably. But a good God and good friends is a nice way to start. But I worry about that woman being abused, and my friend and his wife who will wake up tomorrow without a job, and the acquaintance with an empty wallet, and for all who are at a fork in the road. What if their faith is inadequate and their friendships shallow? What becomes of them?
They will live feeling overwhelmed.
Unless …I move into their neighborhood, living into the long obedience of my own faith and I bring with me whatever I can of what I have. Maybe they can hitchhike off my faith for awhile and allow me to offer the prayers they don’t know how to offer. I could do that but I’d need to move out of my daydream and into the messy reality of whiny people and infantile e-mails. Hmmm …what should I choose?
I dream of a perfect world sometimes, wanting life to be easy and carefree. It’s not. But there are moments when you can get a glimpse of what our future beyond this life can look like. It’s together with God, in the company of other faith journeyers. Nice. There’s no reason, though, why we can’t start to live into that vision of that kind of kingdom future right here, right now.
I've got a hunch. That's what God wants. He wants us out of the daydream and into reality. That's where He'll meet us. Seriously.