What life events will transpire from the time of the first twist of the toothpaste cap to the last squeeze? The mundane, often monotonous, the surprising, spontaneous, joyful, sad and sometimes hurtful things of life. Our stories are diverse but similar because of our common thread, the thread of human emotions. My story is your story. We’re in this together. Whether spoken or written, our stories are meant to be shared. It takes courage and vulnerability to do so. Like love, sharing involves risk. But also, like love, the risk is always worth it. I share my stories with you in mind.
My intro to these chronicles (in case you missed it) asks the question, “What life events will transpire from the time of the first twist of the toothpaste cap to the last squeeze?”. Who could have predicted the situation in which the world finds itself today? No way Jerry Lee Lewis had this in mind when he sang the words to the song he’s well known for. By the way, Roy Hall and “Curly” Williams, wrote ‘There’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ in 1955 when they were fishing on Lake Okeechobee in Florida.
A month ago I would never have imagined I’d be locked out of the tennis courts I usually play on and not be able to meet with my fellow pickleball players! I don’t mean to make light of the situation. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus to one degree or another. I pray regularly for those much more seriously impacted than I. My wife and I are blessed to have, thus far, only been inconvenienced by this thing. No loss of health, jobs or finances.
The shaking of the earth is not something that a Bible reader should be surprised with. Scripture talks about the shaking of the earth and about things that cannot be shaken.
Faith is often found or made stronger as the result of trials.
None of us like change, but this has taken that truth to a whole different level. This has been hoisted upon us from out of the blue; cataclysmic, horrific, heart-wrenching, life-threatening, are all apt descriptions.
We are creatures of habit. Even change that is well thought out, planned, expected and for the most part good can be scary. Comfort Zones are……how shall I say it…..comfortable!!
As is true with most events of this nature……along with the very bad, horrible, sad things that crowd the headlines, are good things. People helping people…..reaching out, caring. Relationships strengthened, reconnecting.
The saying is true, ‘if you want to walk on the water you’ve got to get out of the boat’. The apostle Peter usually gets a bad wrap for sinking after getting out of the boat. Preachers normally emphasize the point that Peter was distracted by the wind and the waves and took his eyes off Jesus, so the point of the numerous sermons that have been preached on this story is that we should not make the same mistake – not take our eyes off of Jesus and be distracted by the ‘wind and waves’ of life. But what about the eleven men who never got out of the boat? Yes, Peter sank, but nowhere else do we read about anyone walking on water! And with Jesus! So I say, “Go Peter!”. Yeah, he sank, but how many of the other boat dwellers thought to themselves afterwards, “I wish I had done that!”.
Another term for comfort zone – rut.
I want to encourage us all today, during these very trying times. From what we are hearing, things are likely to get worse before they get better…..but they will get better. We’re going to turn the corner on this. We will look back on this one day….hopefully, sooner than we think. Don’t waste this crisis…..not for the sake of promoting a political agenda, as has been done on both sides……but I encourage you to not walk through this alone…..and especially not without looking upwards.
The Bible encourages us to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). It does not mean to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good. It does mean something very much like what my 9th-grade history teacher, Mr. Miller, used to say constantly, “Keep your feet on the ground and hitch your wagon to a star!”. Yes, we all must live life…..do all those day-to-day things, some in a much more challenging way than ever…..but look for the lessons in the midst of it all. Don’t wait until three or five years from now.
One last verse from Scripture sums it up best:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. “Philippians 4:6-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Stay well my friends and may God bless you and yours.