Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:11
I know it’s way past my normal post time but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started, deleted and re-started todays blog. I missed my post last Thursday because I was on my way to North Carolina to celebrate the life of my “cool aunt” Ellen. There are a hundred emotions about the early, sudden loss of a beautiful soul and a reunion with a couple dozen people I love with all my heart I want to share but I think those stories (and my are there some good ones!) will need to wait because so many things have seemed to come completely un-hinged in the last couple of days I think we might need a big ‘ole sprinkle of joy and logic in the wake of it all.
There is so much going on right now that this post could be a mile long but if there’s one thing we don’t need today it’s more folks flapping their lips spitting out their opinions about whose fault this mess is and who we should blame. We don’t need any more folks pointing out how we’re all going to hell in a hand basket because this is all pre-meditated and we’re following along like a bunch of mindless lambs. We don’t need any more reports about working too hard or not working at all and for heaven sakes I’m pretty sure I’ve seen enough pictures of toilet paper and homemade hand sanitizer recipes to last a lifetime.
As we plow through all of this stuff it seems like it all boils down to a couple of big things. Dealing with disappointment and being uncomfortable are not our strong suits. I think we have to admit both things and then begin to make our way back to normal. We all handle disappointment differently. The government isn’t controlling us because they cancelled the NCAAA tournament but it’s left a lot of folks disappointed. I’m surrounded by a community of young people who had state titles to defend and achieve who are so very disappointed the show stopped just short of the finish line. We’ve got weddings and parties and celebrations that are in limbo and that’s disappointing because no spring bride saw this coming and that’s disappointing. Those are real emotions and if we really want to act as Christ, there is no shortage of people who need our patience, compassion and understanding. Predictable means comfortable and we are fresh out of predictable right now. Things are uncertain for the next little bit. We do enjoy being in charge of things and we simply aren’t. Uncertainty is ok because it’s a great opportunity to build trust and that trust organically leads to obedience but for some it’s leading us to grab control where we can…like the toilet paper aisle.
There is so much information floating around it makes my head spin. The problem is, for every article you read, there is another to dispute it. For every beautiful thing you see, there are three ugly. Here’s my thought, find a medical source you trust; maybe a nurse or doctor you know and read what they share. Find a faithful person or source your trust and read what they share. Leave the rest unread! Don’t read about the conspiracy theories or the unbalanced disease comparison nonsense filling your newsfeed. If you feel like someone has sucked away your joy, it just might be you spending too much time with the news. There are some nutty things happening right now but there are also some really beautiful things going on right now. Satan isn’t gaining control of the world because churches suspended mass or emptied Holy Water fonts, if God is mighty enough to part a sea and save his people, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna usher us right through this without breaking a sweat.
If you want some joy back in your Monday here are some thoughts…
*Shut off the news.
*Soak up the stillness and quiet this time is creating.
*Pray extra…and then pray some more…and then follow it up with some more prayer.
*Ponder your willingness obey. If we can’t obey a request to stay home and cook our own food, how will we be able to obey the Father?
*Do something good for someone who has it rougher than you right now.
*Try to understand someone elses disappointment and find a way to console or re-assure them.
*Trade judging for loving…what if we assumed everyone is trying to do the best they can…and some folks might just need a little more help and understanding.
*Make a conscience decision to let this situation make us great instead of divided?
*Above all…a dozen times or more a day…repeat: Lord, protect us in this mess and show us how to serve you and show your love! Unless we get that part right, this will remain nothing but a big mess. I really want to look back on this and be able to say, “Wow, look what God did through all of that chaos; isn’t he faithful…and didn’t we handle that beautifully!” but in order to do that, we have to make some choices starting right now!
A Seed To Plant: Pick a couple things from the list and lets be great in the midst of the mess.
Blessings on your day!
…so that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and be refreshed together with you. Romans 15:32
One of middle lovelies shared a book with me last week and I flipped open to a random page in hopes of finding some inspiration for todays blog. First crack open I found something great to share. Last week I wrote about the giants that make us feel like grasshoppers and the story of St. Benezet (who I have never heard of) from Dominic’s book seems to be the perfect follow up.
St. Benezet was a shepherd but felt God calling him to solve a problem. It seems there was a spot along the Rhone River near the saint’s home where many people died trying to cross the river so Benezet felt he was supposed to build a stone bridge across the river so people could have a safe crossing. The first problem was, he was a shepherd and not an engineer. Problem two (which is a big one) he had no experience, money or materials.
I think this is about the point in the story when I would have tossed up my hands and said, “Sorry God, you asked the wrong person, I have no way to accomplish this giant task!” Lucky for the people of this village that wasn’t how he responded. He told the Bishop about his situation and he amazingly supported the project in all ways despite the obvious problems with the plan. Both men truly believed that it was what God WANTED. I don’t know about you but I sometimes tend to see the reasons things won’t work before I see the reasons God might want it to. I also often forget that God can do anything he wants.
Benezet worked tirelessly for seven years on the project. I’d like to say he cut the ribbon and stood proudly at the grand opening of the bridge to hear the townspeople cheer but that’s not the truth. The truth is , he died before he ever saw the project completed. Many people who were inspired by his hard work and his dedication to God’s request completed the bridge after he died. There was celebration both for the bridge completion and for the many miracles that happened through the intercession and prayers of St. Benezet.
This humble shepherd’s life tells a great story of faith, trust, obedience and humility. If we look at the great Cathedrals of old and a simple stone bridge over the Rhone River we see that they share something that seems to escape modern culture…humility. Most of the great architects and builders never saw their work to completion. They didn’t need the accoladed of humans to fulfill them. They set out to do a task using their God given gifts and talents and they did it to bring Glory to God, the giver of the gifts and not for their own credit or glory.
Benezet’s story is a great reminder to me that God can use us any way he needs to for his purposes. It made me think of that famous quote, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” Those are truthful words so my prayer is, “Lord, get me out of the way and show me where you need my service. Lord, allow this little grasshopper to do giant things when you ask!”
A Seed To Plant: Spend some quiet time in prayer asking the Lord where he might be asking you to serve or build a bridge. Then ask him for the humble obedience to follow his plan.
Blessings on your day!
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