Posted tagged ‘desert’

Running The Mile Twenty Days In

June 20, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      June 20, 2013

 

Today is my twentieth day in a row of writing a post for my blog, Words from W.W. I wish that I could say that I’ve found my groove, but the life of a pastor has no groove. The last four nights have found me in four different locations for either meetings or group activities. Carol and I had dinner last night at 8:30. Tonight we had to eat separately.

The only consistency so far in my thirty day writing challenge is that I’ve written each day. Diana Stucky, my administrative assistant, has been great in sending my words out to our congregation. Sometimes she gets the article in the late morning (Seldom!), and sometimes she gets the words in the evening (Often!).

Day 20 means I’m two-thirds of the way. The last week will be a challenge in that I will be in the Dominican Republic, but I’m hopeful that I can post something about our mission experience there each day.

Two-thirds of the way is the point of commitment. If you quit now everyone will wonder what your problem is. They will just shake their heads in a kind of pitiful disgust at your inability to finish anything.

I was a miler back in high school. Lap three was the hardest lap of the four lap race. Lap three was about guts and not feeling sorry for yourself. As a runner I could tell if an opposing runner was beat by the facial expression during the third lap. If his look said “Somebody feel sorry for me”, or he seemed to be looking for his mommy, the race was over.

The third quarter mile was about maintaining a fast pace when your legs feel like jelly.

It seems that there are a lot of sprinters in life trying to run a mile. What I mean is they burn themselves out in the first few moments of an important leg of their life journey. There’s a beginning sense of excitement and exhilaration about this new venture, or pursuit of a new calling, or launching of a new idea.

And then a few strides into the journey reality hits that this is not going to be the piece of cake that the person thought it was going to be. Sprinters are about cake. Milers are about oatmeal (I’m not sure where that came from! It just came out of my mouth.)

The Christian journey is a long-distance run that takes in beautiful landscapes, but also desolate desert. It’s easy to sprint in front of the beginning cheering masses, but commitment is required to get you through the periods of aloneness and depression.

The third lap is when people take a hike and never come back, but it’s also when the committed stays the course.

Praying Long

September 5, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                September 5, 2012

 

Old friends of ours from our early days in Michigan are in the midst of a very difficult journey. Dan Paternoster was hit by a car as he was cycling to his veterinarian clinic about a week ago. Dan was one of the men who help Carol and me move from Davison to Lansing, Michigan back in September of 1980, where I started my position as associate pastor of Lansing First Baptist Church. I remember him and Chuck Walls lugging our couch and furniture on to the U-Haul truck. It was the beginning of four great years as a “green pastor” learning what ministry really is, as opposed to what they had said in seminary.

Dan and his wife Nancy went on the mission field with Sudan Interior Mission in the country of Niger, following in the footsteps of his parents who served with SIM. After returning to the states he and his family settled in a small community east of Lansing where they serve the people in numerous ways. He has been a steady and strong follower of Jesus.

The recovery process for Dan will be long…and long. No one is saying how long, but the end is not in sight yet. I notice on Facebook that there are a multitude of postings to let Nancy know that people are praying.

Recent times have given us several examples of situations and people that will require long-term recovery. There is a group here in Colorado Springs that I’ve become associated with called the Waldo Canyon Long Term Recovery Group. It is going to take a long time to recover from the devastating fire that we actually watched from where we live, even though it was about ten miles away.

Dan’s recovery will be trying and painful, without a doubt punctuated by quitting points. It will take much prayer.

It will take praying long.

I think of the Biblical character of Simeon, In Luke 2 it says, “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:25b-26)

Simeon was into praying long. As long as it took!

In our culture of instant access of knowledge, answers, and solutions, praying long seems like a bad cough that we can’t shake. It’s not seen as a good thing, but rather an interrupter. Our thinking too often is “if it doesn’t happen fast it must not be of God.”

Our Creator not only created instant, but he also created the desert. Deserts are long, and dry, and demand perseverance. An “instant” demands only a momentary commitment.

There will be numerous people praying with Dan, and for Dan, supporting Nancy. Praying long sometimes separates the superficial from the faithful, the weeds from the wheat.

Lord, may Dan and Nancy know that this day has been one more step. May the step be firm and faith-filled, and may the encouraging whisper of your voice be within their hearing!”