Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beginning 2010

It was the first week of 2010 when we sat down for a delicious evening meal and my host expressed our thankfulness for our daily bread and our many blessings. His simple prayer of grace expressed our thankfulness for what we had accomplished that day. We were two hungry preachers eagerly anticipating the delightful meal graciously prepared by his working spouse--our hostess. In turn, we were thankful for each other.

Being the gracious lady she is, as well as the Queen of her kitchen, Martha prepared a sumptuous meal. Always ready to eat, Steve relaxed and prayed. Midway through, a sentence caught my attention, a simple but unexpected thought: “Thank you Lord for the grocery store down the street.” Now that’s simple enough! And forthright!

I would never have dared be that simplistic. Suddenly I was caught up in thought--a bit overwhelmed! Martha shops at a full-service Supermarket, a couple of blocks down University Drive. Makes sense, but Steve’s simple logic overwhelmed me. His thought came on like a bulldozer--simply overwhelming. It caused me to recall things I had been reading about.

A high percentage of third-world peoples live on less than two dollars a day. Multitudes around the globe exist with no clean running water--hot or cold. Globally, thousands die of starvation daily. Thoughts crashed into my busy consciousness, recreating an overwhelming sense of gratitude deep within. Steve‘s prayer suddenly made a great deal of sense!

We had just transitioned through a personally difficult year at our house, limited income, changing health insurance, critical health issues. Yet, our lives are NOT in shambles. Our home is NOT mortgaged underwater. WE HAVE hot and cold running water, with warm and comfortable heating. We do not live in fear of terrorism.

In spite of a limited income, we eat regularly from a well stocked pantry. Transitioning through the maise of health insurance coverages, we continue to enjoy health care that multitudes know not of in other places. In spite of an ill spouse, we still travel independently and remain able to contribute voluntary services.

We have each other, after 64 years, even if she happens to be spending the weekend in the hospital as I write. We have caring friends around the country with whom we maintain regular contact. Our Church Family truly enhances and enriches our lives.Yes, “Thank you Lord, ‘for the grocery store down the street!’” God is great; life is good!

Since that evening, we have become engrossed in watching the painful horrors of Haiti. God alone can correct such suffering, transform the corruption of Haiti’s economic and political life, and make some kind of sense out of such tragedy. I found a glimmer of hope watching the global community rally together. That is how God intends for all of us to behave, and I face the future with optimism knowing that God has people everywhere who are working passionately and intentionally to make God’s world a better place for all of His Creation.

Jim Sparks describes speaking in a University auditorium when the light and sound system began misbehaving. Auditiorium lights flickered, changed color, blinked off and on; the sound went off. Nothing Jim did at the podium seemed to change the situation. Later, he discovered a drama group in an upper level auditorium had technical difficulties that presented in the auditorium where Jim was speaking. There was a genuine battle going on behind the scenes, but it had nothing to do with Jim.

So it is in life. Behind the earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, and political battles, God is still calling us to help one another, bind up the wounded, share what we have with those who are without, and offer hope to all within our radius. God means for mankind to rally together and help those trashed and broken, without hope or help.

I pray the God of Grace and Glory forgive our selfish, warring, nationalistic ways. May He bind us together in our common humanity, and may we create relationships that enable us to express real gratitude to God, lift up one another, and enable each other to become all HE would make of us.

The father of a teenager knew the Commander of the Police Post and when it came time for the boy’s driving test, The big, burly Commander personally accompanied the youth on his driving test. He directed the youth into the traffic, so the boy pulled around the waiting line of test candidates, only to be halted by a very proper trooper.

The youth stopped. The officer stuck his head in the car to reprimand the boy, but recognizing his Commander he launched the boy on his way. Evil in our world remains a reality--spiritual warfare. It is not a dualism of two equal forces, however. The war is won; the battle is over. The Commanding Officer of the Kingdom of God is sitting in the seat beside us when we acknowledge the reality of Evil (sin) and submit to the sovereignty of Right (Godly control of our lives).

There is always something going on behind the scenes, suggests Jim Sparks, but I agree when he reminds me God reigns supreme…….

From Warner’s World

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