10 May

The Roundabout Way

So many times it seems as though the Lord takes the long way home. Rather than take the shortest, fastest route with plenty of paved highways and roadside accommodations, he takes us the roundabout way on back roads through the wilderness.

We operate with a sense of urgency and hurry. He is never in a rush but always arrives right on time.

The Lord isn’t always logical but he is always purposeful. He has a plan and a road map for our lives that ultimately brings us to the promised destination.

When the Lord is leading the way, it will likely take longer than expected and will require some extended time in the wilderness.

Why?

It isn’t all that hard to understand when you reflect on human nature. We want it when we want it and we tend to want it now. Like the perfect chocolate cake, sometimes in life, the best things simply take more time.

In our angst for what awaits around the corner, the Lord encourages us to take in the view from where we are in the here and now.

Like kids on a family vacation, we nearly miss the important landmarks and sights to see because we are focused on whether or not we are there yet!

The Exodus account, of the Hebrew people, reveals that the Lord led them out of Egypt, not on the main road, even though it was the shortest, but in a roundabout way, through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

There are times in life when we feel certain that the Lord missed the exit and is heading toward a dead end. Surely, he doesn’t mean to go in the direction we are heading? After all, if he keeps this up, how are we going to get through the Red Sea?

Trusting the alternate route on the GPS is the key. The GPS knows all the routes and is aware of where traffic jams are hiding. All things considered, the shortest route may in fact be the worst route.

Without faith it is impossible to please him. We would do well to recognize that we don’t always know what is best for us. We have to trust our GPS knows better.

We aren’t even on vacation. The Hebrews left Egypt like an army ready for battle. The road ahead is long, dusty and has challenges as big as the Red Sea.

But this we know, the road through the wilderness brings freedom from our past and all that has held us back. The road through the wilderness is packed full of life lessons. The road through the wilderness is guaranteed to be full of adventure and great reward.

God doesn’t always take the shortest and easiest route. He takes the wild route through the wilderness.

Pack your bags. The road ahead is certain to have plenty of twists and turns, hills and bumps, road blocks and high waters. Nonetheless, the roundabout way, His way, is the best way to get to where we’re going, the promised land!

(Inspired by Exodus 13:17-18)

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04 May

Offended?

Have you been offended?

What should you do?

Lash out?

Stuff it?

Pout?

Ignore it?

Run away?

Tell others about it?

Here is a novel idea.

If someone offends you, go to them privately and make them aware of the offense.

You might be surprised to learn they had no idea that they had offended you. Or perhaps you were too sensitive or misunderstood their intentions.

If the person listens and agrees, you have had great success.

But if you are unsuccessful, consider taking one or two others with you, who love you both, in a second attempt to try to work things out.

Hearing others perspective on the matter might help resolve the issue.

Still not successful? Then you might have to agree to disagree or involve a greater body of authority to resolve the conflict. It might even mean making a necessary ending.

Maintaining valuable relationships are worth the effort. But they do require healthy communication, plenty of compromise and a desire to understand another person’s perspective.

We don’t have to agree on everything. Discussions don’t have to turn into arguments. And even the best of friends have differences of opinion.

If being right or having your way comes at the cost of a longterm friendship or important relationship, it might be time to determine what really matters most in life. It might be time to overlook an offense and lean into, not away from, those you claim to love.

REFERENCE: Matthew 18:15-17 and I Peter 4:8

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01 Apr

Growing up in the end

Growing up, the rich kids lived in big brick houses with a maid’s quarters.

We lived in quant wood framed houses the size of a maid’s quarters.

They grew up with tennis courts and swimming pools in their back yards for fun. We grew up with gardens and rabbit hutches for food.

Their mothers went to the beauty shop. Our moms were the beauticians.

Their fathers took their cars to a mechanic. Our dads were the mechanics.

They parked their cars in multi-bay garages. We parked a used car under a car port or shade tree.

They grew up with saunas. We grew up with bathtubs absent of showers.

They hired people to groom their lawns. We were the groomers.

They took their clothes to the dry cleaners. We took ours to the laundry mat.

They had microwaves and dishwashers. We had electric stoves and wash basins.

Their parents drank bottles of wine and fine champagne. Our parents drank beer and whiskey.

Their family ran for office. Our relatives ran from officers.

They came from blue blood. We came from blue collars.

They played in central heat and air.  We prayed for a cool breeze and a box fan.

They laid down cash for nearly everything. We’d pick up a few things through lay away.

Their grandparents bought cartons of cigarettes. Ours rolled their own.

They owned exotic birds and show dogs. We went quail hunting with bird dogs.

They slept with guards at the gates. We slept with guns under our pillows.

They ate in restaurants. We heated up TV dinners.

Their fathers carried briefcases. Our dads packed lunch boxes.

They went on vacations. We went crawdad fishing.

They slammed doors and stomped their feet when upset. We knocked down doors and kicked in teeth when crossed.

They went to college. We went to the company store.

They shopped at shopping malls for school clothes. We traded hand-me-downs with family and friends.

Their pockets held hundreds. Our pockets had holes.

In the end, they died and left everything behind. We died and didn’t have anything to take.