Saturday, October 27, 2007

Here's a Thought

Challenge the day. Never stand still. Always think critically. Push your boundaries. Carpe Diem. How many of us repeat these niceties to ourselves when we get up in the morning? How many of us desire to truly seize the day and make a difference in the lives around us? But when the day is failing, and the night begins to roll over the horizon, have you really accomplished what you set out to do?

Perhaps it was the choices, things left unsaid, things that should have gone unsaid. Maybe you find yourself in a rut working somewhere you don't enjoy, studying something you feel compelled to complete, or with people you really don't like.

Many different things drag us. There are many pits that threaten to drag us down, and keep us in the dirt. But we are called to much more than that. Called to excellence, called to a life that changes those who are around us by simply being. Is that how people describe you?

I have often found myself settling. Going for the things that are easier. Choosing to befriend someone rather than challenge them, despite the latter being the right choice. Staying in the familiar, when God asks me to trek out into the unknown. It is the safe choice. It is the easy choice.

It's no wonder that Jesus chose the analogy of sheep when describing us. Minding our own business. Herded onto the next field. But that is not the only analogy that is used. We are called to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16), salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), labourers in a field (1 Corinthians 3:6-9), children of God (Galatians 1:24-26 and 4:1-7), the Body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27), and the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:23-32).

Some of those are analogies of weakness, but a surprising number of them are ones of independence. Not from God, but from the world. They stand apart, they are unabashed. You can't avoid salt or light. You are always related to your parents. A body is inseparable from it's Head. Finally, a bride stands before a crowd, and is to be adored by those in attendance.

So why do we shrink away? There is no real easy answer to the question, but it really boils down to fear. We run away from those things we think will hurt us, or those that will leave us disillusioned. Jesus did describe that the path was narrow and less traveled, and I firmly believe that it is no less true today than when He said it.

Which path are you traveling?

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Have you ever stopped to just reflect on where life has taken you? The ups, and the downs, like a gentle rolling vista at places, and jutting, harsh mountains at others. There's little doubt that each of our lives would make an interesting painting, if only we had the wisdom to portray it.

If I had to paint the last 9 months of my life, it would be a high mountain pass, with thin, seeming impassable trails leading around sharp corners. If you dared look down, there would be the stunning view of forests, rivers and life growing, but you are so far removed from it. You gasp for breath, but not because of how hard you are working, but because of how high you are. Each step is a slow, tedious one as you plan your footholds praying that they don't give way. Without a doubt, falling would lead to a very painful, very awful death. Onward you must go, because going back is not an option. Inch by inch you crawl onwards, clinging to the slick cliff face.

I want to quit. I want it to all end and be back among the safety of the forest, with it's soft underbrush, and the gentle bubbling of water as it cascades down the riverbed. This is a place where animals graze quiety beside you, and the friendlier ones brush up playfully against your leg. It is safe, comforting, and free.

But I am not there any longer, I am high up this awful cliff, with promises of peace and joy unknown on the other side. It seemed like ages ago I set out on this journey, and time just scrapes slowly by. Rocks jab at my shins and thighs, scraping them through my clothes. I clasp tightly to the sparse handholds, and suffer bleeding palms because of it. My muscles ache, my head is throbbing, and my throat is parched. But somehow, I know that I would not be happy down in the forest. It is but a distant memory.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I would capture that in a painting. It would take someone far more talented than me to offer others a glimpse into my mind's eye. There have been times when I have felt a tortured soul. Strangely, however, I have also found peace. Despite Fiji, God has reaffirmed my vision for ministry. Despite Bethel, I have found a new church where I am challenged and grow. Despite Jordan, I will learn to love again, and be loved in return. Despite my job, God has blessed me with another, and one that I enjoy equally. Despite moving, I have a roof over my head and I've made friends.

My hands may be cut, but only so that they are stronger. My eyes may gaze upon the lush forest below, but only so I know how beautiful my new home will be. My muscles ache, but only because they have not been used. My throat is parched, but only so I thirst for the Living Water. My head may throb, but only so I appreciate rest.

Each small trial prepares me for infinitely more in the future. I am blessed.