Saturday, January 25, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Change

Dear Christa—
With a baby that doesn’t sleep through the night and a toddler who’s kind of lost his schedule, Joy just refers to herself as “sleepless in Seattle.”
The Army packed up Joel’s stuff in December and sent him off to South Korea in January just when Kim was scheduled to do her student teaching.
Over a cup of coffee, Shane and Brian decided to close their business.
And, I’m looking into sophomore eyes and digging into books that I haven’t read for 11 years.
Life is somewhat like the weather in Colorado. We had a late start at school on Thursday, and I’m hanging clothes on the line this breezy Saturday afternoon. Life is full of changes. Some are expected and exciting. Some come at terrible times. And some we wish with all our hearts had never happened at all. But, they do. That is the way of time.
So, for the changes of this year, this moment, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Change demands adjustment. Adjustment takes time. 
I think just knowing that the adjustment will come by and by can give the encouragement to plod right along.
Feelings are fickle. Feelings can be controlled. 
We often don’t control our circumstances, but we can control the perspective we take on them. Sometimes God leads to places we don’t understand. It is so easy to get discouraged. Our pastor of years ago used to say, “Don’t doubt in the dark what God showed you in the light.” I’ve never forgotten that…even when it felt hard.
There’s a friend that “sticks closer than a brother.” Stick yourself to her. 
Change is always easier when we don’t do it alone. Everyone needs a little support now and then. Sometimes we give it. Sometimes we need it.
The one thing that doesn’t change is God.
As Eve lifted that fateful fruit to her lips, with one small swallow, all the world changed. It changed forever. The ground was cursed and they were driven away.
Yet, God did not change. He made a way for mankind. He’s the same today as when He walked in the cool of the evening with Adam and Eve, making a way to walk and commune with us both night and day.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reaching Out

Dear Christa—
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed
in all their vast array (Gen. 2:1).
It was all done. The light, the plants, the birds and the fish of the sea, the animals everyone, and then there was man. We don’t know how long Adam lived in the garden in all its unimaginable beauty. I wonder. How long did it take him to get lonely?
It’s so easy to be lonely when there are people all around. I’ll have to admit that I treasure some alone time. Our children may be grown, yet I live in a people filled world of teenagers. And, I see a lot. And often I see lonely. I sometimes see lonely in heart.
In a Christian school with the gospel on walls and tee shirts, I can see lonely. Sometimes it makes me sad. Yet, I see reaching too. I see those who will reach out. At times I see lonely washed away like fresh falling snow on a dry cold ground. I spend a lot of time talking about writing and literature and getting beneath the surface to the heart of what is being said. But, I do a lot of watching too.
So, here near the beginning of Genesis, the Bible says, it was all completed in its vast array. Doesn’t that sound so cool?
It was awesome.
I can only look out at the snowcapped peaks from our back door and try to fathom the total reflection of God the untainted world captured.
Yet, even in all that, God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone.
It was not good.
It is not good to be alone. We need the people who fill our world. And the people who fill our world need us. I have a cousin who owns an ice cream shop. There are times she spends the hours alone, but when the shop fills—with lots or just a few—she ministers to them.
It was not good for Adam to be alone, so God created Eve. God created Eve knowing fully the outcome—the marring of all that unadulterated beauty, but He created her anyway. He created her because Adam needed her.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Meditation: In the Beginning

Dear Christa—
On this very first day of the New Year, I sit by the window and look over our street—the same street we’ve lived on for over 25 years. Jeff and Renee’s blow up snow globe showers down fake snow over the Christmas scene inside. The blue windsock flutters at the corner of our drive—a creative attempt to mark the edge of the stones so we don’t drive over them. Other than the wind, all is quiet and sleepy this first day after last night’s celebrations.
As this year awakes before us, there is both dread and anticipation of what will be. So, on this day of new beginnings, thoughts turn to the first beginning—that beginning when God created.
Look at Gen. 1:1-2 today and let your mind wind back, deep, deep into a place of nothingness—
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now, the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters—
The Sprit of God—that aspect of God that is so easy to forget—to forget that the Spirit IS God, very God. He dwells within us. He hovers over our life.
What will He create in us this year?
I like to pause at the end of verse 2. Read it slowly and let it take you there. “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.”
Feel the anticipation.
Feel the deep darkness of all outer space
and the deep waters upon the dark, dark surface of the world.

And then. Then—
“Let there be light.”
Wow, wow. To see such a thing! And yet, how often has He worked miracles in our own lives? How many are the answered prayers.
The Spirit of God hovers over your life and mine.
I wonder what He’ll create this year.
Happy New Year, Christa.