It Couldn’t Get Worse,
And Then It Did (and Still Does)
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
It Seems Impossible: Getting Our Bearings,
When The Wheels Come Off Of Life,
And Then Our ‘Frame’ Breaks.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.
Acts of the Apostles 3:8
Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
Words of Grace For Today
So often in the last 30 years I have said that it just could not get worse … and then it did. It seems two steps forward in one way were matched with ten steps plunging backwards down some deep hole in another way.
Now I am not sure what life will bring. It is still 2 steps forward and a slide backward. Instead of despairing (honestly, in addition to despairing) I have found ways to see the great wonders God has wrought through all the backslides, deep holes, and despairing moments-causes.
More than one pastor has written how their ministry is cut short by health issues, by unloving actions by congregations or colleges or bishops, and/or by small ‘mistakes’ (that really were not mistakes at all but they were contrary to some rule that should protect people and simply do not; they make victims out of good people.) Pastors usually do not write about the catastrophic end to their ministry until they have found a way forward.
Then, maybe, like the lame man, they are leaping with joy and sharing their boundless joy with all who will hear. Most often their ‘leaping with joy’ is figurative, for there will be no more actually leaping in the rest of their lives.
The theme they share, when and if they write about it, is not that life as finally turned out how they had hoped and dreamed it would. Rather the theme they share, and one I have found winds it’s way through the last 30 difficult years … actually it’s been more like 40 since I graduated with an M.Div. and really every year of my life is that (as these pastors say about their experience in one way or another) I have seen, heard, smelled, felt, known, and trusted that God walks with me.
We may not have been able to say that in every minute, but God’s presence becomes abundantly obvious often, and often enough, so that we can say with the Psalmist: But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.
And we know that it has nothing to do with us making God near to us. God has made it so, in spite of all we do to push God away, to have our freedom, to fix our lives for the better in our own way.
Thankfully God pushes, pulls, and spirits us along through all the backslides and holes, certainly not towards what we thought life would be for us, but towards …
well heaven on earth, walking God with us,
knowing, feeling, smelling, hearing, and seeing that this is life blessed, life abundant,
life worth sharing with all those who are despairing
in whatever way.