Somewhere every day someone wakes up and wonders, “What am I supposed to do now? Do I get out of bed? If I do, then what?” For a whole bunch of people all it takes is one day, just one day and their whole world changes.
As most of us know our world can change for many reasons, illness, accident, a job suddenly disappears, or the one we believed would spend the rest of their life with us is gone. “Now what am I supposed to do?” The question echoes down corridors of pain, confusion, disbelief, fear, even terror as we seek some answer, some way to understand what has just happened!
How do we face another day? What about the friends who want to comfort, the friends who want to defend, those who want to gossip, and let’s not forget those who will delight in the circumstance destroying life as you knew it.
Many offer advice, words to encourage, and also words to drive you completely nuts! Many will offer spiritual insights they believe will make you feel better. Unfortunately, it often makes what you’re feeling even more difficult. Words exhorting a miracle cure, restorative value of (fill in the blank). You endure them because you know they mean well, at least most of them mean well.
It appears the overwhelming challenge, the overriding issue, the auto-triggered response to a current crisis, is often discovered in our past, singular or collective, distant past. In the days when I was much younger, the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was a definite favorite! One character was Mr. Peabody, an intellectually superior canine with a boy. Mr. Peabody had a most wonderful machine, the Way Back Machine! You could set the timer, the date and whoosh…! You were off to a distant land and time, visiting famous and often very silly characters of history.
Many times I have thought it would be enlightening to return to that moment in time when everything crashed around our father Adam’s and mother Eve’s heads. I’d thought maybe in seeing and hearing what happened, the words used, the cunning the enemy unleashed might explain how the betrayal happened. The subtlety with which the serpent wound itself around Eve’s heart and mind, as it spoke convincingly to her, enticing her to choose exactly the opposite to that which God wanted for Adam and Eve.
How could two perfectly intelligent beings, declared by God to be very good, while using every cell of their brains be conned by the serpent? Or, when Eve showed up with the ill gotten fruit, why didn’t Adam call out to God? Especially when he realized what had just happened? Had the influence of rebellion already infiltrated, released its venom directly affecting Adam?
We could ask, how could 1/3 of heavens angels, those who lived in the presence of God, be sucked into the rebellion? Since we know this had such a devastating effect on those Perfect Beings, how do we think we are ever to stand, to fight, to resist, an enemy who, if allowed, could snap us out of existence without a second thought?
And some want to believe they are equipped to live a life of some form of Perfection, that they, through some form of inner strength will overpower their natural bent to rebel? Humanity’s very DNA is infected with the God Complex. It’s an illness, a growth only God can heal!
Lucifer believed he could be greater than God! (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28) Lucifer the Dragon, the Serpent, convinced 1/3 of the angels they could be like God! (Revelation 12) And when the serpent showed up on Earth, he convinced Eve, and she convinced Adam they could be “like God.” (Genesis 3)
Jesus has been the only One who has ever achieved living without rebelling in any way. Only Jesus has, out of the billions who have resided, are residing, or will reside on this planet! What makes anyone think they are equipped to accomplish what only Jesus has accomplished through complete reliance on His Father?
God gives us Grace. God covers us with Grace. Every moment of every day God covers us with Grace. If the death Jesus experienced covers us so we don’t have to experience Death, that total separation from the Life Giver, then the Life Jesus lived on earth for 33 1/2 years covers what we are unable to live. He took our Death and gave us His Life, Jesus took our lives and covered us with the Life He Lived.
Grace is so much more than amazing! It’s impossible, improbable, it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t fit, and I am so thankful for every nuance, subtlety, reality, everything God wants it to be; everything He wants it to cover, wants it to do, is fine by me.
What I have learned of life, and continue to learn, is it can change in just a moment of time. Several years ago serving as a Sheriff’s Chaplain, I had to notify a wife that the husband who left her for work that morning wasn’t coming home that night or any other.
Nearly forty years ago last weekend, Joni and I were on our way to her parents home from my high school graduation. I had planned to drop her off with some of her sister’s stuff, and then go on my way to a job in the Valley. There was an accident. I fell asleep and we went over an embankment, and hit a telephone pole. Joni hit the windshield. That accident changed our lives forever. It was a moment in time. They happen every moment of every day to people we know and those we do not know, who ask, “Now what am I supposed to do?”
Maybe this is coming to the surface because I’m seeing a pain psychologist. You will never know how hard it was to put that confession in writing! I was told when growing up only really crazy people had to go to shrinks! Well, here I am looking at things long past. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, in my own past. Actually, further past would suit me just fine.
In September 1974, I was in choir practice when at the back of Baker Chapel, Elder Harvey Voth, Principal of MBA, opened the double doors and walked down the side aisle of Baker Chapel. As soon as I saw him coming through those doors, I knew my mother had died. My sister and I were aware it was only a matter of time when we returned to school at Monterey Bay Academy. It became a rather strange year bookended with the death of my mother whom I loved very much, in September, and an accident in June that injured Joni, whom I loved very much.
Honestly, there is not much I am able to recall about that year. I stayed home for a few months, attending school locally and trying to help with my little sister. That was less than successful. So, I asked to return to Monterey Bay Academy, because I wanted to graduate with the 4 Year Club. After enduring an inquisition regarding an issue that was not an issue, I was allowed to return.
Monterey Bay Academy was more home to me than anywhere else. It was where I had lived the longest in any one place. So in many ways, I was returning home. I had spent most of my four years working at the dairy, and when I returned there was an opening for the night shift. I took it, working from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Then the challenge was to make my first class by 7:00 a.m. I don’t recall getting much sleep, but then I don’t recall much of anything that happened during that time.
However, there is one thing I do know. No matter what I was or wasn’t up to, God was always up to something in my life. I really identify with the words, “While we were yet sinners He died for us.” Romans 5:8 No matter how many times in my life I found myself asking, “What am I supposed to do now?” God already had an answer, whether I wanted one or not—even if I didn’t want His answer, or Him.
What I have come to realize in my relationship with God through the Grace of Jesus is this, when I want Him to do something, I see it as He intervenes. On those occasions when I wish He would “sit this one out,” (those are not very often, just every once in a while when my insanity overwhelms me) from my perspective He interferes. You could say I have noticed He interferes regularly.
Pretty much no matter what I may think, God does that which always works to my advantage, whether I recognize it at the time or not. The years have taught me when I look back I am able to see God’s Fingerprints all over my life, and I have never been sorry to see them. Especially during the darkest “Now what am I supposed to do?” moments of my life, and there have been plenty of those moments, just like for everyone else.
I have my good moments, best moments, not so good moments, crabby moments. Lucy Van Pelt (think Peanuts/Charles M. Schultz) and I have quite a bit in common. Some days are “why get out of bed” days. I’ve been asked, “What has believing in God done for you?” Good Question! More to the point is this, “What has not believing in God done for you?” My answer is, I have a foundation for my life, I have Hope, which by the way means confidence, as it is used in the New Testament. So it is meant with an exclamation point (!), not a question mark (?).
He knows and has known all about me, my knowing, believing, accepting, questioning, asking, looking, doubting, struggling, feelings, emotions, and everything that defines me and makes me who I am. Yet He chooses to pursue me day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. He has never ceased wanting me, ever.
Who else fits that reality in any of our lives? No matter where I am in my heart, mind, my soul, my psyche, He is always in the same place. He is in me, with me, around me, covering me with His Grace. It is His Grace I need, and we all need more than anything else, because it is everything.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 New International Version
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