Blowing in the Wind

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From the window, my husband caught a glimpse of paper flying by. Our recyclables sailed over our lawn and on down the street. The wind had knocked over our recycling can and was in the process of emptying it. We ran outside and surveyed the situation. Our recyclables were lying on the street, tucked into neighbors’ landscape, clinging to fences and littering lawns. Not the type of introduction we wanted as the newest neighbors. We ran after the recyclables and traipsed through our neighbors’ yards. It was not fun, but it was the right thing to do. That morning, my Bible study was on 1 Peter 3. Verse 14 came to mind, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” I’m not saying that we “suffered” for chasing after our recyclables during a wind advisory. Nonetheless, the principle of that verse applied to our situation. We did the right thing. We could have ignored the recyclables that were now trash in our neighbors’ yards. How would they know it was us? It wasn’t our fault, the wind was crazy that morning. The paper would degrade over time. Lots of excuses to not do the right thing. What were the blessings? I met a new neighbor for the first time when I asked permission to enter her fenced-in backyard. It was a good reminder to be careful what I put in the recyclables. You never know where your “name” may end up. It prompted us to figure out a way to keep the can closed and secure. It was a legitimate mini-workout with wind resistance. Doing right more often than not, requires more of us: more time, more energy, more money and so forth. The bottom line is that doing right will cost us something. However, the cost and the suffering is not to be our focus. The resulting blessings of doing right serve as our hope and our motivation to persevere. It is Jesus’s way. It is our way as followers of Jesus.

 

1 Peter 3:14

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”

Hebrews 10:36

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

 

Like a Rolling Stone

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Upper Peninsula of Michigan (July 1998)

Upper Peninsula of Michigan (July 1998)

I remember one of our favorite family vacations to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We stopped near Munising and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We waded into Lake Superior and jumped the waves. As we walked along the lakeshore (and dodged the blackflies), we picked up rocks as our take-home souvenir. My oldest son exclaimed that the pebbles looked like, “Pulled-off lollipops.” They truly did. The edges were worn smooth through constant tumbling in the waves and the water made the rocks shiny with color.

Like that pebble, God intends the storms and the waves of our lives to soften our rough edges. In the tumbler of life, God shows us that by submitting to him, he can use our struggles for his purpose. The result is a refined beauty that is genuine and not only eye-catching, but heart-catching. Do we continue to resist? Or do we allow all of God to wash over us in anticipation of who we will become in him?

 

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

James 5:11

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.