Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cubs + Prayer = 3 and out

I declare the experiment officially over. It was a miserable failure. Praying for the Cubs to win the World Series only hastened their demise.

Anybody want to play some hockey?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Questions For God (Don't Worry. He Can Take It.)

I seem to remember that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, are encouraged to boldly approach the throne of grace. Actually I am thinking of Hebrews 4: 14-16 where it says, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." It sounds to me as if we have a God who gets it. A God who understands. A God who has been there. And so He has thrown open the door to the throne room, allowing us to enter in with our hurts, frustrations, and questions. If you are in a time of need He is most certainly a God who cares.

And so I have questions. He does not have to answer them. It is enough that He lets me ask them. I mean, without throwing lightening my way or dropping a piano on my head. He's a far better God than I would be if I were Him. I bring my questions with confidence that He hears and is, therefore, aware. That is enough.

-Only He will understand this one. Only He was there. God, what would you have said or done on that day 17 months ago if I had said "tell me" instead of "I trust you? When you gave me the choice?

-Will I ever learn to be more discerning when it comes to figuring out whom to trust and whom to "let inside?" Would you make me a better judge of motivation and of character?

-Why do I insist on "riding the roller coaster" when you offer to let me sit next to You in "the big seat?"

-Why does Debbie have to do this asthma thing? Why did it take her 40 years to get it and what can I do to make it stop?

-If I was created from dust and will return to dust why does it freak me out so badly when I have to clean behind the washing machine?

-Is heaven as good as I hope it is because if it is like going to "Six Flags" everyday for ever I'm going to be really disappointed?

-God, you know that deep, nagging question that I will never speak out loud because it would reveal how I REALLY think and how I REALLY feel and nobody has a right to know me that deeply but you? The one that takes me from calm to boiling in about 6 seconds? Well ... why?

-This might sound frivolous but I'm quite serious. Why do the Cubs always stink when it matters?

-Why do you continue to put up with Pharisees and would you please tell me if I ever become one because I will most definitely will want to change?

-You've been speaking but I've not been hearing. Would you please speak up for the time being? It is not an abundance of ambient noise. It is my own traitorous brain.

-Forgive me for asking the obvious. But you have been promising to take us "home." Well. I know we aren't there yet. How much longer?

That's all for now. But please do not be surprised to find a "part two" in a day or so.

Sin-sear-ly (unfortunately,)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Gloom In Between

It is a strange time. I am confused by my own thought patterns, behavior oddities and impatience. It is not my norm. But I suppose if times are strange it would not be abnormal for my actions or reactions to be a little offbeat as well. I am not a stranger to anger but I am a stranger to having it well up in me so quickly that I don't even see it coming. That has happened once or twice recently. Or maybe ten times. I lost count.

A few weeks ago I was flying home from Dallas. Friends had dropped Debbie and I off at Love Field on an overcast, dreary morning. We waited an hour or so and then boarded our plane home to St. Louis. Within seconds of leaving the ground we were in the clouds. And within seconds of entering the clouds we broke out of them into the bright sunlight of "upper Texas." It was wonderful to see the blue sky. I am a solar powered guy. I need sunshine in order to run properly. As we coasted toward home I glanced outside to notice the view had changed. Now the clouds were multi-layered. Clouds below us, clouds above us, and in the distance you could see them in levels with clear air in between. Every few minutes we would pass through a layer. Sometimes it would take us into a sun-filled sky and sometimes into the gloom of the in between.

I found myself thinking about that flight today. I was supposed to be laying tile in the laundry room but I was leaning against a wall thinking about the circumstances that had brought me to this moment. Glancing out the window of life I can easily see multi-layered situational clouds. A backward glance at life shows mostly sunny skies mixed with a few storms. The last year has been a turbulent ride with fantastic up's and phenomenal down's. I am trying to look out the front window. It is hard to see out there. There seems to be great potential for sunny days but the promise of their arrival is elusive.

It is the gloom in between.

I am fixing up a house that I will not own for long. And I am wondering ... why didn't I fix it up in time to enjoy it? I don't have an answer for that. I am writing a sermon that will either be the first of many or the last of one. There is no way to know which it will be. I am listening to a God who makes great promises and never breaks one of them. But He keeps His calendar tucked away under His arm and never lets me see when those promises will see the light of day. One month from tonight I will either be falling asleep in my new city or I will be trying to figure out what God is trying to get across to me while I sit in a very clean, newly painted, freshly tiled, shampooed carpeted house.

Yes, it is the gloom in between. This season of life has lasted long enough. Four plus years. I remember the second it started and I will know the second it ends. The clouds will finally fall away and the layers will be a distant memory. Flying is the best when you can see the ground below and the sky above. I know, I know. I'm not a rookie and I'm not stupid. There will always be clouds around somewhere until we get "Home." You know the one. "H"ome. But even the biggest hurricane blows away eventually. This one needs to leave. Now.

It is time to throw the touchdown pass. Time to hit the walk-off home run. Time for the fade away three point jump shot with no time left on the clock. It's time for a new game on a new field with a new team. I am as rested and tuned as I can be. Only one thing is needed. Would somebody please say, "Play ball?"

(I am aware that I have mixed my metaphors. Get over it.)