Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Sing along ... "hit the road Jack ..." ;)
When I was a child we would sometimes be driving with my Grandfather from Thames to Coromandel. This drive is one of the most gorgeous drives in the North Island of New Zealand. It has stunning scenery and I love to drive beside the little sheltered bays in early evening with the pohutakawas in full bloom. Every time I drive it, I think, "oh ... I had forgotten just how beautiful this is ..."
Anyway, as a child, this was completely wasted on me and I indulged in the question that all grown ups just love to hear ... "how much longer?" And of course, not just once, but many, MANY times. My grandfather always had a response to this question. It went like this: "just up, down and round the corner."
The words of my grandfather have come back to me a lot this past year and they are filled with wisdom. We are all on a journey and sometimes it seems (yes, sing along with me ...) "the road is lo-o-ong ...." But the reality is, our journey is just up, down and round the corner. I have learnt a lot about this watching Ruby fight her Leukemia. There are good days, bad days and days she turns a corner and then repeats ... Life is a journey. Sometimes you are at the top of a hill, sometimes at the bottom and sometimes you turn corners. Unlike the song, "we're on the road to nowhere", you are going somewhere. Be encouraged and don't be despondent. As it says in Hebrews 10:23, "let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful." just what did he promise? Well many, many things but a couple of very important ones that spring to mind are:
Phil 1:6 "be confident of this: he who began a good work in you will see it through to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
You are not forgotten or overlooked by God on your road trip. In Isaiah 49:15-16, he uses the imagery of a mother and baby and says, "can a mother forget a baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands ..."
Sometimes it seems like we are forever on our journey, going round and round the same roundabout. Be encouraged. Don't see it as a roundabout, see it as a spiral road ascending upwards. Yes, you come around the same side as you travel ... yes, the view is similar, but you are climbing higher ... going further each time. As you look ahead, it may seem like you will never arrive, but look back and see how far you have come on your journey.
Praying Karen has been talking a little about seasons and pruning. Sometimes in our pruning season, it may seem like winter and that it is endless. There is a beautiful line in Oscar Wilde's story, The Selfish Giant. Let me set the scene for you. In this story, the giant was selfish and for a long time, his garden was in winter. Autumn would come by delivering fruit to other gardens, look into his garden and say,"he is too selfish, he shall have none." The giant had a miserable time and winter had a hey day (personified by frost, hail, snow and the north wind). Anyway he has a change of heart (read the book, it's inspirational!) and knocks down the wall of his garden to let the children play. Winter loses its grip and spring rules. Many many years go by and then the story picks up again:
"One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting..."
I love that line ... spring was asleep and the flowers were resting. The giant had learnt that life has seasons. He had learnt that after every winter, there is a spring and it WILL COME! Listen to the words of Joel 2 and substitute your name in there ...
"I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; Surely he has done great things. Be not afraid (your name). Be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things. Be not afraid (your name), for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. Be glad (your name), rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. "I WILL RESTORE TO YOU THE YEARS THAT THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN ... You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God,..."
In the travels of your life journey, as you pass through a winter season, remember this and be filled with hope. Spring is coming! It's just up, down and round the corner!