I’ve been retired from the pastorate 15 years, during which I have missed several of our State Assembly meetings. For me,it was a most joyful reunion to be present for part of this year's 92nd General Assembly at the Lansing Lexington. Most of my failures to attend have been due to conflict of schedlule, and being in Kentucky at Reformation Publishers. In a few instances, I simply did not have the price of registration and lodging.
It was incumbent that I be present this year, because I had ten cases of The Gospel Trumpet Years, the new historical pictures-and-text update by Stultz and Welch that so many people were waiting to see. Stultz and Welch, were dependent upon me to represent the Historical Society. People like my new friend Paul Hein of Lansing Pennway--a history buff--were waiting for me to bring their copies of the book. Moreover, it was a day of seeing old friends-and-peers, but also of confirming new friends. Paul and I have been emailing for some time now, sharing our historical interests, but we had not yet met in person--until now.
Instead of staying overnight for the full Assembly, I made one long day of Friday, leaving town at 7:20 a.m. and arriving home to my waiting spouse about 11:15 p.m.. I hope I can follow up with a few appropriate comments regarding the workings of our Michigan Assembly that peers will find relevant, as well as anyone reading me. For today, however, I want to hi-light something that happened en route home last night. If offers a thoughtful perspective,following up on what Dr. Massey said last night.
I had a joyful day ... a beautiful Fall Day, so typical of Michigan football. It offered me a day filled with connecting and re-connecting with this Assembly in which I have been an active participant since 1973--friends old and new. “Connections” was part of the Assembly theme, about which we have in recent times been quite dubious, questioning the value of connections.
For me, it provided a full day of absolute affirmation of the connectedness I have enjoyed since I first became a pastor of what was then a new mission church in Harrison, AR.,--June 1951--a story all its own.
Last night I made my first night drive in a while’. There was a time when I almost preferred night driving, thriving on the quietness of the night, the peacefulness of the traffic, and the general solitude. At my current age, however, I was a bit apprehensive, until I had a chance to cat-nap at the evening dinner hour. So, after I reloaded my cases of books--assisted by Pastor Kerry Hurd--I took off on westbound 496 and was quickly out of Lansing, en route to BC.
It was a pleasant drive, late enough not to be hamopered by “deer” traffic. Approaching Battle Creek, I thought I should try the new I94 exit at the 104 mile marker. It is simple enough, and we had tried it one, except the other time, I jogged left at 11-mile and crossed over to Michigan Avenue, at the familiar intersection.
Last night, I thought I was up to it, so instead of turning left--over to Michigan Avenue--I crossed 11-Mile, certain that I new where I was going. I did as intended, and followed this new exit straight across and intersected Michigan Avenue just west of the main intersection. When I came to Michigan Avenue, I stopped and looked all directions. Any other time, I would have turned right, and drove into town. In the darkness, however, with my tiredness (more deceptive than I realized), the intersection simply did not look right to me.
After a momentary hesitation, I slowly turned left and followed Michigan Avenue for 4-5 miles until - I suddenly realized I was approaching Marshall rather than Battle Creek. Anyone who knows this area is going to enjoy a good laugh at my expense. However, I was just tired enough, and the darkness was just deceptive enough to my aging eyes, that my perception of things was not as clear as it should have been. The consequence was that I had to do a “Georgia Loop” (U turn) and head back into town, somewhat chagrined at my own stupidity.
My reason for telling you is to follow up on Dr. Massey’s sermon last night, regarding the deceptiveness of the times in which we live. The stress, the lack of jobs, the inequity between the haves and have-nots, people losing their homes and/or jobs, and the list goes on--all of which cloud our minds like the tiredness of the evening and the darkness of the night. As hard as we study our situation, it does not look the same in the darkness and weariness as it does in pure daylight. We make wrong turns, wrong decisions. We end up in unintended places.
This morning, after a good sleep, I could hardly believe I was so “foolish” last night as to make a mistake that looked almost too funny to be stupid. Yet, my head reminds me how easily I sometimes get confused in the darkness of the night, when everything looks so different, and the perspective just isn't right.
Are you at a dark intersection and cannot see it clearly? Are you at an intersection you should recognize, but which simply does not “look right”? Look at the picture that follows; see the mother bird with her little ones tucked one under each wing. Remember the words of the Psalmist: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust…” (Psalm 91:4, KJV).
The times may be difficult and strange. Things don’t look right enough for you to make a clear choice. Yet, your Heavenly Father knows WHO you are and WHERE you are. HE knows your need! He will not forsake you!
From Warner’s World,
I have to remind myself, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have ever been where you currently are, HE KNOWS …