Posted tagged ‘trust’

The Fog of The Moment

October 31, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             October 31, 2017

                               

This morning our area was greeted with a dusting of snow, twenty-six degrees, and fog. It’s one of those mornings that a person is tempted to fall back into bed to the clarity of being covered with warm blankets.

Most of us, however, don’t have the option of doing that. There are places to go, appointments to keep, and work details to get accomplished. The fog is just one of those things we’ll have to brave this morning. The fog changes how we approach the beginning of our day. Those who refuse to believe that often end up off the side of the road, or crashed into the rear bumper of the car in front of them. And there are plenty of people who are like that…careless, and idiotic!

What about the fog of the moment in our life? What about when things aren’t clear as to where the road is leading, when the next step may lead to a person’s life spinning out of control? What about when a decision that needs to be made is as clear as Mud Creek?

The wise person is one who understands that life must sometimes move ahead slowly, cautiously, preceded with and followed by prayer. The fool is the one who rushes ahead regardless of the situation and circumstances. Solomon’s words to the wise in Proverbs 12:15 say, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice…” Our world is well-populated with people who think their way is right, regardless of the fog of the moment!

But the wise listen to advice, they listen to possible solutions to the uncertainty in front of them, and they proceed slowly. Yes, there is some fog in the midst of our journey of faith. Abram had faith even though he did not know where it was the Lord was leading him, but let’s be honest! For most of us the chaos of our lives results from our reckless rushing into the fog.

The fool trusts his own understanding, but the wise trusts in the leadings of the Lord.

There’s another learning from the fog of the moment that needs to be said. The effects of foolishness often crash up into the ways of the wise. It isn’t fair, but it’s the ripple effect of a fallen creation…that the stupidity of others causes pain in the lives of those who are going the right way. I fully expect that the news of our area this morning will include stories of multiple car crashes, and that the accident was ignited by the carelessness of one. Following Jesus and living wisely does not mean trials will pass you by. The trial may have just rammed you in the rear!

The Squat of Faith

July 24, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        July 23, 2013

 

 

      Carol and I took our daughter, Kecia, and grandkids Jesse and Reagan to the hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs, Colorado recently. We had a great time, marveling at the beauty of the mountains as we drove to and from.

At the pool Jesse was  splashing around under the watchful eye of his Grammie. Reagan, on the other hand, was having a test of faith with her mom on the side of the pool. She was wrestling with what level of trust to place upon the one who gave birth to her.

“Go ahead, Reagan! Jump! I’ll catch you.”

     “I want you to come closer, Mommy!”

     “I’ll catch you. Just take a step.”

      Like me the first time I jumped off the high dive at the pool, Reagan peered over the edge of the pool with heightened doubt and apprehension. It was that moment, that we all have felt in some way, where the tipping point has not quite been reached that will take us from stationary to stepping into the unsure.

I felt that a few years ago when Kecia and my son-in-law, Kevin, convinced me to ride a crazy man’s roller coaster at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. Top Thrill Dragster was thirteen seconds of insane faith. When they put bleachers beside an amusement park ride it is a bad sign for someone who isn’t quite convinced that the tipping point is worth the risk.

“It’s okay, Reagan! I’ll catch you.”

Reagan looked skeptical of her mother’s catching power, but she started to take the step…but bailed out.

More encouragement, more promises. She started to take the step again, but then at the last moment she went to a squat. Squatting brought her closer to her mom’s hands. She reached out with her own hands, touched the hands in waiting, and then stepped.

A squat of faith. Not quite the same fear factor that a step of faith requires, bit still a moving from dry to wet.

Sometimes steps have to be preceded by squats. For Reagan an hour of faith squats was required before a step of faith happened.

I had to leave the pool for a while, but when I came back the squats had disappeared and the leaps of faith had begun. Sometime in my absence the step of faith had been jumped over.

In church life there are the initiators, those who present an idea or leap into a new direction. Most churches have a few, if that many, people who would be classified in that group. Then there are the early adopters. Those people who take the step after someone else has initiated the idea. The third group is perhaps the largest group. They are the late adopters. They are the ones who need to squat before they step. Getting closer to the outstretched hands is imperative for them before they can take the leap.

My granddaughter taught me that squatting is okay. It’s like the sixteen year old driving the family car with her dad in the passenger seat…in an empty school parking lot when there isn’t a car within sight. It’s the phase she needs to go through to get comfortable with the challenge ahead.

Ultimately, the step has to be taken, but Reagan reminded me that some things don’t need to be rushed into.

Now watch! I’ll say that and she will end up being a ski jumper! Come to think of it, they kind of get into a squat position before they launch!

Scary!

The Pursuit Worth Pursuing

May 15, 2009

Many years ago I knew a lady who was passionate about collecting buttons. Not buttons that you sew on to your coat, but rather buttons that you pin on to your coat.

Political campaign buttons. Buttons with pictures. Buttons with smiley faces. Buttons with slogans. Buttons with American symbols, and buttons with British symbols. Buttons from states, and buttons shaped like different states.

Her home was populated with buttons, thousands and thousands of buttons! But she used buttons to facilitate “that one thing” in her life that she pursued with passion and purpose. Her buttons were used to initiate conversations, but “that one thing” in her life was Jesus. Buttons opened the door to conversations about Christ.

I would say that a vast majority of people can’t point to “that one thing” they desire to pursue. It’s that one thing that is like an emerging flame within their spirit. That one thing is not a hobby, or even an activity. It’s “the pursuit worth pursuing.”

It’s Adoniram and Ann Judson pursuing a new calling to be missionaries to Burma as a result of being convicted that baptism by immersion was what the Bible talked about. The conviction they felt, listen to this, was during the voyage they were on to India, where they were to being sent by the Congregational Church to be missionaries. All of a sudden the pursuit worth pursuing…that one thing…changed their plans. They went from being commissioned, financially-supported missionaries to un-commissioned, non-supported, un-employed missionaries. Luther Rice, who was another commissioned missionary, whose views on baptism had also been changed, sailed back to America and went from Baptist church to Baptist church raising support for the first American Baptist missionaries overseas. If Luther hadn’t come to understand that this was the pursuit worth pursuing the Judson’s wouldn’t have been able to spend the rest of their lives sowing the seeds of the gospel in Burma.

This was not meant to be an article about American Baptist missionaries. It’s just to illustrate the point that I’m not sure how many of us come to that point of knowing what in our life is “the pursuit worth pursuing.” We might re-word it for our situation, but its realizing the “heart” of Paul’s passion. He wrote “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12, 13b-14)

We focus on trivial pursuits that “flame out.” “Temporary flings” is the phrase that best sums up what consumes the bulk of our energy.

Why is it that our attention is so easily diverted? It could be because the pursuit worth pursuing is also a little intimidating. Like the dust clouds rising behind a speeding car on a dirt road, there are accompanying doubts that trail closely behind the pursuit worth pursuing. When the drive forward is halted the dust settles in around us making the way unclear. The “what if’s” surround us.

What if I go full speed forward and I fail?

What if I pursue and I fall flat on my face?

What if the flame flickers out while I’m pursuing?

What if I’m just meant to be mediocre?

The pursuit worth pursuing is not a problem for most people, because they never get started.

I’m more afraid of another “what if.” What if “that one thing” that God has planted in my heart…that pursuit worth pursuing that He is entrusting me to be about…what if that one thing is the pursuit I never pursue?

That would be a tragedy!