Friday, March 18, 2011

In the Chaos of Life

CHAOS.  This is the word that best describes the last couple of weeks on both the world scene and in my own personal life.  Car trouble, sewer line problems that resulted in water in our basement, challenges at work, earthquake and tsunami, concerns about family living near Crescent City, CA in the path of the tsunami and the hospitalization of a family member—these are just a few of the challenges that have tried my patience and strength recently. 
The day of the earthquake in Japan I was driving to work, listening to my favorite Christian radio station.  Already I was feeling exhausted by my concerns and worries when the DJ said, “Whatever the tsunamis you're dealing with in your life right now, remember that God is in control.” 
“Really?” I asked out loud.  “Is that true, God?  You’re in control?  What about free will?  What about random bad luck or chaos?  I know Christians say you’re in control all the time, but what does that really mean?!  Do I even believe it?”
Later that day

Monday, March 7, 2011


   Have you ever come to a crossroads and found you weren't sure which way to go?  For those of us who are "directionally challenged" this used to be quite a concern. Of course, now I have my GPS in my car that helps me get from place to place, prompting me,  "in one mile turn left", and even reminding me again when I'm just 300 feet from the indicated course change --just in case I've forgotten in the last few moments.
   Sometimes the crossroads in our lives are more metaphorical than literal.  Sometimes we have to wait for discernment or other insight about what direction we should choose to go.  These times of waiting can be difficult.  Most of us don't like waiting for anything.  Most of us don't like ambiguity.  We like things that are neat and orderly and predictable.  Are those words that describe your life?  Neat?  Orderly?  Predictable?  Probably not.  And if you are going through any kind of challenges in your life (and who isn't?) I am quite confident you are not experiencing life as orderly or predictable.
   So I've been thinking a great deal about what it must have been like for Jesus when he came to a crossroads in his life and chose, as Luke tells us:  "Now when the time was almost come for Jesus to be receive up [to heaven], He steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem."  (Luke 9:51 Amplified Bible)  Jesus, in his divinity, must have known that going to Jerusalem was the only course that could fulfill the divine purpose for his life.  Yet Jesus the man with free will - like all of us - must have longed to turn and run away from Jerusalem and the danger, cruelty and pain that awaited him there.
   Jesus chose the path of hardship.  He chose the selfless path.  He chose the will of God for his life, even as he struggled with that choice.  The struggle was not fully resolved for him until the night before his death when he sweat blood and shed tears in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Still, his trust in his Heavenly Father was so great that he could walk "determinedly" toward the very thing every fiber of his being wanted to run from.
   As Christians, God's will is our GPS system.  Because of the nature of my work, I often set out for places I have never been before.  I have to trust the technology of my GPS to get me safely there and back.  This causes me some stress at times when I drive into areas outside my comfort zone, especially in remote rural areas.  However, my GPS rarely lets me down.
   I am praying to let Christ's way be my way as I face my own crossroads in life.  I am confident that with God as my GPS system my trust is well placed.  Though my path may be unfamiliar, dark or even dangerous at times, I want to choose the self-less path.  I want to choose the path of faith and trust.  I want to choose the path that draws me closer to the all-sufficient grace of our awesome God.  I want to choose that path that ultimately leads to light and life!
   Have a blessed and holy Lenten journey.