Driving Blind

Driving home in the dark from work last week, I suddenly found myself lost in a sea of fog. The further I drove, the more dense it became. At times I couldn’t even tell where I was and I was disoriented. Was I in the right lane? Was I too close to the edge? As the fog became more intense, so did my fear.

Unlike a similar experience many years ago, there were pockets of clarity. The faint markings of the center line flickered momentarily in and out illuminating the darkness like a motion sensored light. The greatest assistance came from the light of a passing vehicle. Though the cars were barely visible, the light from the headlights helped to assure me I was on the right path.

Our spiritual journey in life is often like driving in the fog. There may be periods of days, weeks, months or even years when we feel lost in a sea of uncertainty or even fear. There may be flickers of light to keep us going or we may be driving blind for what seems like an eternity. We may be facing the fog of a financial hardship, divorce, sickness or even death with the feeling that we may be trapped in it’s hold forever. (As I write this, my own father is dying.) We may ask ourselves, where is our light through all of this? Where is our assurance of hope? Though He may seem invisible, God is with us.

He is present in each one fo us. We are called to be lights to the world. The gifts we possess are there to be used to help one another. We may not be able to remove the troubles from one another’s lives, but we can be there to guide each other through them. We can listen, comfort, support, and pray for each other. By being present for each other, we shine God’s light into a dark and broken world.

God is also with us in the Scriptures. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God’s word of hope pierces through the darkness and gives us the courage to keep moving forward. God does not promise to take away our suffering, but He does promise that He will be with us and that He will have the final victory! The Bible is filled with examples of how God brings people through difficult times. It is filled with eye witness accounts of His miracles. God is still working miracles today, but there can be no miracle without first the suffering. We must have the faith to know that God will turn our pain to joy.

Romans 5:1-5 says, “We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that our suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not dissapoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” God’s Word gives us the courage to drive through the darkest, most dense fog imaginable for “we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7

Life is going to be filled with joy and pain, darkness and light, laughter and tears, but God will be with us through it all. “Be not afraid.” Jesus spoke these words often because He knoes that as humans it is our nature to be afraid, but He will give us the courage to move forward through our fears.

As we travel through life, let us remember that fear and uncertaintly won’t last forever. Make room for daily Bible reading, be a light to one another, and make a space for Grace each and every day.

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A Call to Action

Tonight, as Martin Luther King Jr., Day comes to a close, I reflect on the impact this great leader had not only on me, but on the entire world.  Dr. King did not simply call himself a Christian, but he lived out his faith to spread the Gospel to the world with passion.  Christianity is a call to action and he took that call very seriously.  Jesus commands us, not asks us, to “love one another” and it is in our caring for one another that God’s gift of Grace is revealed.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 3:16  Our light needs to shine to the victims of the catastrophe in Haiti, those in need in our communities, our co-workers, and everyone we encounter.  Our light, a reflection of God’s light, is needed today more than ever before.  It is not enough to simply care about others, we must do something, in whatever way we can.  No action is too small except for the one that is not taken.

The poet, John Donne, said, “No man is an island entire of itself.  Each man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.  … Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  We cannot sit idly by when injustice rises to the foreground; we must take a stand and shine our light in the darkness.

Many celebrities use their positions of status to speak out for injustice, but I was struck yesterday by one particular celebrity.  My friend Tricia has always been a huge fan of Bono from the band U2.  Actually, I think she is his biggest fan and I could not really understand all the hype, until yesterday.  I saw a biography on Bono and was amazed at this man’s deep moral compass and Christian conviction.  He is not afraid to proclaim his faith publicly and stand up for injustice.  He is in a position of great power and he understands that it is his responsibility to use his status to fight for what is right.  I am inspired by his willingness to share his faith and stand up against injustice.

Dr. King in his book, The Measure of a Man, said that “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”  May we all rise to this challenge and make a space for God’s Grace in this world!

Epiphany

Tonight I’m gazing into the beautiful glow of my Christmas tree for one last night.  I always leave it up and decorated until after Epiphany, which  was yesterday.  The Christmas season doesn’t officially end until then, and it is perhaps my favorite part of the season.  It’s a more peaceful time when the greatest gift of Jesus has already been revealed and I am left in quiet gratitude. Epiphany seems to be almost forgotten to most people in the festivities of Christmas and New Years, but it is a day of great significance.  How does celebrating Epiphany, the day when the magi presented their gifts to the baby Jesus, apply to us today in the 21st century?  I recently saw a slogan that said, “wise men still seek Him.” Epiphany reminds us that we too, must still seek Him.  We need to find ways to draw nearer to God each day.  But what do we do if we cannot find Him?

It’s not always easy to find God.  He is revealed in the most unlikely of places and we need to be able to recognize Him.  God became flesh and was born in a simple stable. Today, we need to understand that God is found even among the homeless, the poor and the outcast.  During the difficult times in our lives, it may seem like God is lost, but I believe it is we who are lost. What can we do when we cannot find the way?

I recently traveled with friends who had a GPS to navigate our route and I was so impressed with this small yet ingenious device that I was the recipient of one of my own.  I’ve always said I could get lost in a paper bag, so to have one of these tools provides me with a great deal of comfort.  Whenever we decided to take a turn that was contrary to the GPS and to go our own way, it would immediately begin to recalculate a route to get us back on track.  In fact, no matter how many times we decided to go off-course, it would quickly bring us back to a route that would lead us to our destination.  With the help of the GPS we didn’t have to know exactly how to get to our final destination, but we were guided like the magi, by an unknown source.

The magi didn’t know exactly where they were going, but they knew Who they were going to see.  We may not know where we are always going, but we know Who is guiding us.  God wants to be our GPS and no matter how many times we may go off course or try to go our own way, He will quickly recalculate a new route for us and bring us safely to our destination.  And unlike a regular GPS that needs re-charging, God’s power is continuous.  With God’s guidance we will never be lost and He will provide us with lasting comfort and peace.

As I reflect on the blessings of Christmas and Epiphany, I am filled with awe and gratitude that God cared enough about you and I to make a way for His Son to enter the world.  I am inspired by the magi who followed in faith to find the miracle of Christmas and pray that I too, will follow in faith where God leads me.  This New Year, may we all let God direct our journeys and make a space for His grace in our lives.