Posted tagged ‘David’

Running…to God

November 25, 2015

WORD FROM W.W.                                                                         November 24, 2015

                                                

A long-time friend of mine who recently lost her sister to cancer wrote a post on her Facebook page that resonated with me. She said, “Because of all your sincere prayers on my behalf my anger (that is a bit extreme) at God is gone. I was disappointed the Lord did not heal my sister on this earth. I am choosing to run to Him, not from him.”

     What is the direction of our run when we are in pain? It is easy to run from the God who didn’t answer our heartfelt prayer in the way we desired. Distance from God is a natural reaction to disappointment with God.

My own running has been punctuated by sprints away from God and slow crawls back to him. My running away in disappointment has sometimes been the result of God not going along with my desire for my enemy to suffer, or the absence of an angelic choir to sing about how my answer to a hotly debated problem is right.

Sometimes my running away comes from the unfairness of life, sometimes it happens because I don’t want to be fair with God.

My friend’s reference to running to him is using the lane with few footprints in it. David chose to run in this lane quite often, but, as we know, he also had his races of retreat.

What is the direction of our run? When the content of our prayers is dominated by the wants of our life we can expect that there will be a running from the Giver of grace. When our prayer is focused on our relationship with the Father running to him will often be our response.

If I am secure in my belief that what God wants for me is wholeness, not hurt, I will be slowly running to him.

We have a way of putting “what if’s” in our theological outcomes. Another friend of mine from years ago lost his daughter in an accident recently. I can not understand his grief, and, therefore, how he is journeying through the loss of life. Knowing the depth of his spiritual journey I’ve got a feeling it resembles someone swimming laps in a pool…the swimming away is followed closely by a swim to…and then a swim away!

My choice to run to God seems much less complicated than his.

This is Thanksgiving Week. A time to run to God and recognize that he is caring, concerned, loving, and kind. In a world with daily terrorist threats and warnings I’m choosing to be in the shadow of his wing…the cleft of the rock…rather than the isolation of my disappointment.

We All Have Issues!

April 9, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                            April 9, 2015

                                           

     Whenever I’m home I sleep with my “blankie.” Unless I’m flying to another city I don’t go to sleep at night without an increasingly frayed piece of warm fuzzys that relaxes my tensed-up body. It’s been that way for the past thirty-five years. It was Carol’s before we got married. Sometime soon after we walked down the aisle together I stole her blanket in a gradual non-violent way. She now sleeps under an electric blanket, sheet, and comforter. I don’t. Just give me my blanket and I’m a happy camper.

That’s just one of my issues. I have others! Whenever we have popcorn or peanuts as we watch TV in the evening I have to have a soft drink. Popcorn just naturally goes with a Pepsi. It’s like PB and J, like a marriage made in the snack aisle.

I’m typing this post with two left fingers and one right. That’s how I’ve always typed. I don’t understand…it’s just how it is! I’ve just got typing issues.

As a friend of mine used to say, “You’ve got issues!”

I do, but as a pastor I’ve come to realize that everyone has issues. Some are more pronounced than others, more visible or more destructive, more emotional or more mentally challenging.

There is a tendency to focus on the issues that are apparent in other people instead of owning up to the weirdness of our own life. For example, if I strolled through the mall wearing knee high black socks with my Hush Puppies, a pair of khaki shorts, and white buttoned down shirt, people would look at me and cross over to the other side of the corridor. My fashion issue would be out there…readily visible…leaving shaking heads and wide-open eyes in its wake.

But what if I have an eating disorder, or a racial bias, or can’t stand people with white hair? Those issues are often hidden. The issues of my heart can fool a lot of people. What I do when no one is looking frequently reveals my issues and distorted views of life.

Perhaps we need an “IA” group…Issues Anonymous.

“Hi! I’m Bill, and I have issues!”

“Hi Bill!”

Probably wouldn’t work! Perhaps…however we could come to a point where each one of us recognizes we are issue-filled before we pass the box of issue tissues. What better place for that to be than the church where people can be loved with grace and understanding!

Many of you put the brakes on with that last statement!

Let’s face it! We encounter people in our churches that seem to have their act together, their lives in perfect harmony, and their relationship with God an earthly expression of heavenly bliss. To admit that we’ve got issues is threatening. We hesitate to reveal that to the saints.

But…you see…all those people with nicely combed hair and straightened ties, looking like the Ward and June Cleavers of the 21st century…they’ve got issues too!

In fact, being people with issues helps us identify more closely with the characters of the Bible. Just think about it! Jacob was honorable until it wasn’t to his advantage and then he lied like a dog to get blessed. Jonah asked the city of Nineveh to repent and then pouted about the fact that they did. David couldn’t stop looking at a bathing woman, and then couldn’t stop thinking about her. Peter exhibited compulsive behavior and would speak before he thought.

We all have issues…just like the people we meet in scripture.

And we are all promised grace that is extended regardless of what our issue is.

Just as we all have issues I’m sure there are people in the fellowship of the fallen who have issues with how easily God forgives…and that’s their issue!

The Rush To Vacate

May 22, 2009

Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend…to stay home!

The highways and byways will be packed with vans, trucks, trucks pulling boats or campers or ATV’s. It will be chaos and bedlam on asphalt. It’s a tradition, one that for many families is as customary as gathering around a tree on Christmas Day.

If you’ve been thinking about going to Sam’s Club…wait until Tuesday. If the thought suddenly occurs to you that “this weekend is pretty empty, why not go camping?,” spray yourself with bug repellant, start a fire in the fireplace, roast some indigestion-inducing hot dogs over it, and then enjoy the peace and quiet of your own living room.

I know that I sound anti-camping. I’m really not, but I admit that I do prefer sleeping in my own house rather than a tent with no heating or air conditioning system. Call me a wimp!

I’ve noticed that people spend a lot of time rushing to vacate. They leave town exhausted from the effort to leave. Camping isn’t the villain. It’s a mindset twitch that has infected our lifestyle. When I’m “here” I’m in a rush to get “there.”

But when I’m “there” I can’t enjoy it because I’m thinking of things that will happen next week when I’m back “here.”

We’re a culture addicted to rushing. Even at this moment I’m forcing myself to slow down and think through my words because I need to go visit someone. The sooner I can crank out the words the faster I can get to the next thing on the list.

By our actions and itineraries, “quantity of living” is more important than “quality of living,” but we press to get the quality with the quantity. In other words “we want everything and it better be good!”

I believe there is an intimate connection between “quality of living” and a slower pace. It’s tragic that most of the time when we hear the term “quality of life” it’s associated with someone in their last days who doesn’t have much life left to live.

It’s not coincidental that there was a quality to the psalms that David wrote, and he didn’t have deadlines. What he had was time to reflect, to be renewed, to see and hear with not only his eyes and ears, but also his heart. He was not in a rush.

Think about it this weekend whether you’re in an RV or your own bedroom. Think about your pace and ask yourself, are you conveying to your kids, friends, and neighbors that it’s a race or a walk?

Pastor Bill