Friday, December 3, 2010
Life is Like the Ocean; It Comes in Waves
I don't believe that life is a crap-shoot but it certainly consists of both billboards, doesn't it. There is a book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, and the writer attests to the fact that "for everything there is a season. . . a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. . . " Pete Seeger took this text from Ecclesiastes and put it to music in 1959. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" became a world-wide hit in 1965 when The Byrds made it their cover song. It isn't merely a good song; it's a picture of life itself.
As you read this, I don't know what season of life you are going through. For some of you this has been and continues to be a season of drought and despondency. A relationship has dissolved. Savings are being exhausted. Health issues. Broken trust and discarded vows. Demons who had been dormant now have sprung to create a living hell. I would never--never--choose such a season, but I can see value in it. A season like this can serve the purpose of a crucible, wherein the "fluff", that which lacks substance, or possibly the inauthentic in me gets grounded out. Granted, the grounding, the grinding can feel as though I am being hammered to death, rather than the "impurities" being ground and filtered out. I hope you endure the billboard.
There are several perspectives which serve to sustain during one of these seasons. I believe there is Order underlying the seeming chaos of the season. I believe there is One who possesses a good heart overseeing a very bad time. "Why?" questions abound, but I do not allow this season to define me. It certainly influences me; it does not have to define me. There is something in the very nature of a season that also motivates me to endure. A season, by definition, is temporary. This season of the dark will yield, eventually, to rays of light. This season will change. I will not always feel like I do today. As a Christ-follower, I do not hold to the position that God brings such a season into my life to punish me, to spew his wrath upon me. What serves to sustain my hope is that God desires to turn that which could serve to destroy me into something that will, instead, deepen and strength me.
For some of you who are reading this, it's a season of hope. A season of joy and gratitude. A new baby. You've fallen in love. A new job has opened up. A relationship has grown to a deeper level. You've lost the weight. Things aren't heating up; they're looking up. I encourage you to savor the season. Enjoy and "be in the moment" of every moment. Give voice to those matters of the heart that, in a different season, may be much more difficult to utter then. Hold each other close. Dance with delight. Enjoy the billboard.
For me, though I have very much for which I am thankful, this has been a very long and persistent season of drought. To use Ecclesiastes terminology, "a time to tear down. . . a time to weep. . . a time to search. . . a time to be silent. . . " For many, many months I have found myself withdrawing. It's been a time of brokenness, a desperate time of wrestling with God and questioning my faith. Toss in some self-loathing and Abracadabra! I haven't been exactly charming.
But I keep pressing on. I speak beyond what I feel. I trust beyond what my senses may tell me. And though I don't know why this darkness has descended on me I know why I trust the One who does know why.
(I want to give credit where it is due; the billboard picutre was posted by Abraham piper, a blogger, twentytwo words.)