I’m not trying to be a “Debby-Downer” by mentioning the obvious, but I’ve been thinking lately about how more than half my life has surely passed. I’m on the other side of that hill called “life.” More than ever, I know in my heart that our lives are held in God’s hands and that nothing happens to us without His knowing and allowing. I also know that life can often turn on a dime, therefore each moment is to be lived, savored, used to the fullest to nourish those around us and to give glory to God. Our time on this earth is indeed limited – all we can be sure of is now – this moment.
Two weeks ago, we lost another beloved pet. Sadie had her quirks and eccentricities, but she wormed her way into our hearts four years ago, and made her mark in Doyle family history – along with Emma and Dillon and Nicky. She was taken suddenly and tragically. We were not at all prepared. I guess that I somehow took her presence and her youth for granted. Sometimes, life teaches us some pretty tough lessons. Sometimes, life stings. Sometimes it burns.
Sadie’s death, and the ongoing, relentless suffering of some people I love, has caused pause for reflection. What is the meaning of life? Why do our lives matter? How does God want me to spend my remaining time? Is my use of time pleasing to Him, or do I waste too much of it in mindless activity or worry? I find myself at a crossroads, perhaps. I don’t know where the road leads from here, but I know that it’s o.k. No matter what happens, God’s got me. He has shown me that in powerful ways this past two weeks…this past three very difficult years…heck, my whole life! He’s carrying me and He’s carrying you too!
Recently, I was traveling in my car through a very dense fog – so dense that I couldn’t see the car in front of me. Incredibly, that driver did not have his/her lights on which made it worse. Normally, when driving in fog, I can keep my eyes focused on the tail lights on the car in front of me until I drive out of it or reach my destination. This time, I had nothing to keep my eyes fixed upon. I simply had to pray ( unceasingly) and trust whole-heartedly that God was going to get me to where I was going.
I thought of this as a metaphor for life. We cannot see what is in the future. Mercifully, God only allows us to see a few feet in front of us. Normally, we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we navigate those few feet until the way becomes more clear. Sometimes, however, we cannot see even a few feet in front of us. There is a veritable wall completely impeding our view. This is when prayer wells up from our hearts in desperation and trust becomes radical.
This afternoon, I spent some quiet time on my back porch swing, taking in the warmth of the sun and cradling our new family member, a rescue named Tommy. He’s a cutie, right?!
I listened to the wind whistling through the mesh on the screens. I watched the ripples glistening on the pond water. I looked in awe as the tall pines gracefully bowed and bent, surrendering to the invisible but powerful gusts.
What came to my mind as I talked to Jesus was #1 “Winds of Change” (We have surely been seeing this played out all over the news in recent months) #2 The Power of the Holy Spirit (Come, Holy Spirit! Come!) and #3 In order to weather the changes, we must remain flexible like those pines, surrendering to the gusts, yet standing firmly in the warmth and light of the sun (Son).
I leave you with this passage from Scripture, God’s love letter to us:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3