Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 251 Messy Business in the Gulf and in Us...

Dear friends,

The oil leak has been capped. This national disaster has a plug in it (let’s hope it holds up), but by no means is the problem solved. Gazillions of gallons of oil have slithered all over the Gulf Coast, and only God knows how far the tentacles reach. I can hardly stand to think about it. And I’m not even directly impacted. Let’s pray for those folks who live and work on the coast in the deep south. Their misery continues after Katrina turned New Orleans into a parking lot a few years ago. "These are the times that try men's souls", as Thomas Paine so eloquently stated during the revolutionary war.

Trouble visits all of us in one form or another. Some trouble is swift and dramatic, like we experienced with Steve and Hannah in the car crash. Some is slow and under the radar, like a woman toughing it out year after year in a difficult marriage, or a man who experiences long term unemployment. When people you know and care for are in trouble you want to fix it. For that matter, when people you don’t know are in trouble you want to fix it. A young man who visited Delmar Full Gospel for the first time last week had just experienced his house burning to the ground. The good people of DFG rose to the occasion to help his family financially, though nobody really knows them. So we can ease the burdens of hurting people, but ultimately we can’t make everything all better. I’m not an expert on how healing and recovery works, I’m only learning as I go. Some things seem to get better, and some wounds seem to create scars. The thing is, scars don’t go away. There is damage that can be done on the inside of a man that only the Great One can get at. And even then, He may not immediately solve the problem. Look at Abraham. Look at Joseph. Look at Jacob. Years of frustration, years of confusion, years of disappointment. Even in the end, though great and mighty deeds were done and miracles happened, everything wasn’t perfect. It didn’t all zip up with a happy ending. There was a lot of messy business to clean up after sin and circumstance had their way. But those men became strong, faith filled examples of flawed lives tested in the fires of disaster. And one thing was never in doubt: Jehovah God’s presence to “cheer and to guide”. Ultimately, they found the city they were all seeking. But they had to pass through the curtain of death to get there. They knew this wasn’t the final stop on the train. Thank God it’s not...

There is one particular sorrow of heart I’m communing with at the moment. It’s a circumstance that plays out on the new stage of my life, the stage set on November 8, a stage that brings both sadness and joy. I embrace them both. Not without some fussing and struggling. If I try to push either one away I will miss the great mixing God is cooking up in my soul, doing some good thing I can only see by faith. Like the wind that blew in the Berkshires on our way home today, I can’t see it, but it makes itself evident.

If you can figure out this crazy, mixed up world, drop me a line. You’de be the first, and I’d like to shake your hand. For the rest of us, we just have to hold on to hope. And in the meantime, do the next right thing.

There was an oil leak, brutal and damaging. But there is still clean, sparkling, beautiful water in the world. Acknowledging both truths is the only way to keep perspective.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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