Through the Haze

>> Saturday, September 22, 2012

Since I had to be at work at 7:30 … and I was headed east … the rising sun was directly in my view through the windshield. And I was looking straight at it … no protection necessary. The smoke from all the fires in our area caused a thick haze and muted the pale red/orange orb.

I thought of all the warnings and precautions I’ve heard about never looking directly at the sun … the damage it can cause. Yet here I was … doing it.

I’ve heard other warnings and precautions in my many years on this earth. In my earlier days the warnings were very rigid. “Never go to a movie theater. Those films are of the devil. Never become friends with anyone at school … they are going to hell and might take you with them.” And on and on.

So I never looked directly at that sun. I spared my eyes and my life by living in a secluded world.

In my adult years I was given other warnings. Since my husband left … and we divorced … I was told by pastors and other well-meaning folks that I could never re-marry. I must live the rest of my life as a single person. Other warnings ranged from never wearing slacks to never attending church without the proper hat and gloves.

I pondered those warnings … re-married … wear slacks … and don’t own a hat and gloves.

Some warning and precautions are necessary … and never change. The Bible gives us guidelines on how to avoid sin. Yet just as the smoke caused a haze that allowed me to look directly at the sun, life happens. The spouse leaves … the child dies … the money runs out … these experiences cause a haze that blinds the light of the Son. We can look directly at Him and yet not really see His glory. We turn to other things … drugs … alcohol … and in my case – eating. It’s a sin to do damage to our body … but the pain of living in a broken world causes the blessings of the Lord to be muted.

And so, today, even though there are personal fires in my area, I am looking directly at the Son … and see Him in all His glory.

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)



>> Saturday, September 15, 2012

Driving down the street, I did a double take. Is that really what I saw? I slowed and looked in my rear-view mirror. Yes, indeed. A young man … dressed in jeans … cowboy boots … cowboy hat … going down the sidewalk on a skateboard.

It just didn’t seem right. Where was the horse?

I’ve had other times like that in my life. The lovely young lady … fingernails polished … hair styled beautifully … fashionably dressed … and then she opened her mouth. Filth and trash poured forth.

It just didn’t seem right. Where was the loveliness?

What about marriages … couples that seem to have a solid relationship … kids busy with sports and music … attend church every Sunday … and one of the spouses is having an affair.

It’s just not right. What happened to faithfulness?

Incongruity. It’s everywhere. I won’t even mention politics … but I just did.

Then there are the people who call themselves Christians. Big smiles on their faces at church … ready to help the elderly … available to contribute funds for a project … and yet on Monday they live a totally different lifestyle. Their co-workers talk behind their back … “if that’s a Christian I don’t want to ever be one”. Professionals say … “I don’t ever want them as a customer. They never pay their bills”.

And it gets worse. Some go public with their utter disregard for the message of love we read about in the Bible. They blatantly announce, … “God is a God of hate. He’s glad people are being killed in wars”.

It’s just not right. The world should be drawn to Christians because of their love and high principles.

“But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people—they’re the ones I want working with me; men and women on the straight and narrow—these are the ones I want at my side.” Psalm 101:6 (MSG)


Watering a Dead Plant

>> Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall was coming and the flowers in pots on the patio were looking gangly and used up. It was time to put them away for the winter. But one flower was lavender … and a perennial … that meant it would bloom again next year. So I transplanted it to the landscaping around the edge of the back yard.

For days it looked dead … lying lifeless on the rocks. But I faithfully watered the limp greenery … the faded flowers. Days passed. Then one morning the stems were no longer flat on the ground.

Was there life left? Only time would tell.

The next spring, the transplant stood straight … blooms appeared … and it beautified my yard with its lavender flowers.

Recently, with some changes being made in our landscape, that very same type of plant needed to be moved from a corner of the back yard to a spot in front. And so I transplanted it. And now it lies on the ground … lifeless. But because I know it can revive, I faithfully water that dead-looking plant every day … more than once a day.

And I wait. Will it spring to life again?

As I contemplated my plant lying on the ground … looking lifeless … I thought of how life is like that. Sometimes in a relationship situations change and it looks like the relationship is dead. But if the relationship is important to us, we water it anyway. Maybe it’s an adult child … and it could take years for the relationship to show signs of life again.

Just keep watering.

Or maybe it’s a marriage. I’ve been there too. The relationship can revive and become even better than before. But just as it takes time and effort for me to remember to fill a watering can and walk to the front yard several times a day to water my lifeless greenery, it takes time and effort to make those relationships work.

Just keep watering.

And on this day … as we remember 9/11 … we can be grateful that even though our nation looked dead and destroyed, the people of America knew we could come to life again.

And we kept watering.

Your days of grieving are over. All your people will live right and well, in permanent possession of the land.
They’re the green shoot that I planted,
planted with my own hands to display my glory.
The runt will become a great tribe,
the weakling become a strong nation.
I am God.
At the right time I’ll make it happen.” Isaiah 60:20-22 (MSG)


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