Seasons of Love


This is a waiting time and anybody who knows me, knows that’s not easy for me. We had an interesting day yesterday with Narcie and Mike while Mike’s Mom took care of Enoch and Evy Grace. There were 2 MRI’s, four doctors, two nurses, one of whom Narcie said was reminiscent of Dr. Gregory House of “House” fame. They didn’t tell us anything and the old adage, “No news is good news” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. This waiting place, a la Dr. Suess’ “Oh, the Places You will Go,” is a rough place, but we’ll all sit there time and time again. It’s what we do with the waiting that makes the difference I guess.

I’ve been pondering God’s word about waiting and being still. Psalm 46:10, 11 rings true: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Stillness and not panic; trusting in God -the God who in Jesus enfleshed Himself into our existence, the good and the bad – this is what is keeping me sane right now.

Psalm 46 caused me to remember II Chronicles 20 where Jehoshaphat, king of Judah (Which means “praise,” by the way) was surrounded by invading armies. He called for a fast and prayed (vs. 12b) “… We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he said, (vss. 15b, 17) “… This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. FOR THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS, BUT GOD’S; You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; STAND FIRM AND SEE THE DELIVERANCE AND SEE THE DELIVERANCE THE LORD WILL GIVE YOU…” Then the neatest and most illogical thing was decided. Instead of putting his best troops at the front of his army, Jeshoshaphat put the choir up front (vs. 21b) “to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.'”

Then it says (vs. 21) “As they BEGAN to sing and praise…” the Lord defeated the enemies. So today in the waiting place I am going to praise the Lord, stand firm, and wait with hope, keeping my eyes on Jesus. Every bit of life is an opportunity to find that quiet place deep within ourselves where we exalt the Lord, not our fears. Life is fleeting and made up of minutes that are minute chances to love, not hate, to make peace and not hold grudges, to hear God’s voice above the cacophony of crows out to get us. Two of the songs that keep playing in my head are “Seasons of Love” from Rent and Five for Fighting’s “100 Years.” I’m praying for Narcie to have more and more seasons of love to add to the ones she’s already lived so well, a 100 years to proclaim Jesus’ love. With Jesus, eternity lasts even longer than that. It is a timeless truth especially in the midst of life’s frailties: Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.

I hope this inspires you as it does me to listen, listen and love, love, every minute.

This video/song underscores my desire that we appreciate every moment and never miss what we give away. In the words of Jim Elliott, great missionary who gave his life to take the Gospel to the Auca Indians: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

The Burden

I have a sense of unease this morning. It’s Tuesday and I am already longing for the weekend. I preached last Sunday and then presided over 3 Charge Conferences, had consultations every hour on the hour yesterday with clergy, plus worked in a few crisis situations; then experienced a great Charge Conference last night. Consultations will begin again in less than 45 miniutes, go all day, then another Charge Conference tonight. I did walk for 45 minutes early this morning in the dark – praying, pondering – trying to give it all to God, but here at the office the dread has come back.

I just reread my testimony in a misconduct trial, and that is what probably pushed me back over to the dark side of pessimism. I’m overcome with sorrow about the state of “affairs” that I have to deal with. Nobody blushes anymore, whether they are lying to my face or hedging the truth. Last night I looked forward to getting home and watching the season premier of one of my favorite TV shows, “House.” The build-up in the paper was well-hyped. It said that it would be another Emmy-winning performance by Hugh Laurie, and finally “he would have a mature relationship with a woman.”
Well, as good as the show was, especially in its plug for good therapy and how to deal with pathological persons, the “mature” relationship House had was with a woman who was married with children. In light of Governor Sanford and the idiocy of adultery (There’s nothing adult about adultery), I am appalled at the lowering of our standards of morality. Manipulation, half-truths, and outright lies have jaded me to expect lesser of people rather than better. My gift of discernment has been in overdrive and it’s wearing me out.
One of the things I did yesterday was read a person’s paper on doctrine and theology. One section was on humanity and the need for divine grace. Sure, we have been made in God’s image: moral, legal, and social; but we have fallen beyond any semblance of self-repair. Total Depravity is total, and only by God’s gace in Jesus can we find salvation.
My prayer for today is to hear truth in every conversation, spoken in love with accountability. As a District Superintendent, I must expect no less if I truly believe that God saves us through Jesus to transform us for the transformation of the world. I long for days of truth-telling seasoned with love and grace; but not “cheap grace” or avoidance.