Many of you have likely wondered where I have gone since my writing came to what seemed like an abrupt end. Well, life sends us on journeys that may take us away for a while, but eventually brings us back to what is most important and to those roots which make the most sense. That is not to say that God takes us to places which make no sense, but we measure our reality through human eyes and the context is quite often hard to evaluate and accept. Moses, I am sure, wondered why he was going back to Egypt, when he felt comfortable in the fields of his father-in-law, as a herder. Well, God takes us on journeys that have meaning and into places where we feel uncomfortable and we may even come to the point as to question His motives and plans for our lives.
Well, that may have been part of the journey over the past 2 years for me. I made the decision to follow the Lord’s leading and the journey was long and hard. I was caused to examine my life, evaluate the ministry to which I had been called and was put so far into debt that I wondered if I would ever see the light of day, as expenses rose and income fell. But, I had to ask the question…. Was God in the journey? Was he pushing me nearer the edge to test my metal? Did He want to know if I knew myself and my skill sets and abilities and want me to measure what was important and what could be left behind? Well, I guess maybe that was the situation.
I find myself now, after 2 years, back to my roots. Back in my hometown, in my home Church, walking, working on small items and, as Frank (an electrician’s joke) once said in the comics, “I am taking some time off to let my eyebrows grow back!” The time I will spend over the next several months will be filled with an exercise in faithfulness. Faithfulness to the tasks at hand, which will include my annual trip to India to teach, more time spent in prayer and study, some renovations and repairs on our properties and as the temperatures pick up just a bit, some long morning walks. I want to spend more time reflecting on the journey. I want to see the sunrises and sunsets, have the wind blow in my face… if I can get the sailboat in the water this spring coming and for sure, hold hands on long walks with my dear wife. A year off… but not sitting still and more than I have to.
So how do we approach the edge when we see it coming? I suspect that we all have our personal take on that confrontation, but I have a tendency to just wait out the various aspects of the trip and evaluate the bends and potholes as they arrive. I remember asking myself whether I wanted to travel the east end of the Shore Rd. to the cottage (it was rough and full of deep ruts ) in the Spring, or take the western route, most of which was newly paved and made it easier on the car’s frame and running gear. Well, most of the time I took the same old route, but drove slower than usual and took my chances on not damaging the car. But damage was done nevertheless. Tires took a beating, alignment went askew, and the shaking made my back and joints ache. It had it its consequences! So, the question arises… do I just take chances and am willing to pay the consequences? It seems that way doesn’t it. Is the short way always the right way, does the hard path make us harder, tougher, more resilient for the next journey?
Living near the edge and approaching the edge is not always about the journey. It is sometimes about the preparation. Sometimes we need to do more prep work. I have asked myself a thousand times over the years in His work, if I am running ahead of His plans. My prayer life spans the gamut from fervent request to a complete walk of faith, and I still remain in awe of the fact that God answers after the fact as much as he does beforehand, much of the time. Knowing that expectation is the key, we have to decide which set of expectations we are to follow. There is first of course God’s. Then there are those of kith and kin, the workplace, the corporate eye of doers and dreamers in the faith and finally our own set of rules, limits and foundational truths from which we have scaled, modified, confirmed, shaped and lived our lives thus far. Solomon said, “vanity, it is all vanity!” and I am of a mind to agree with him more and more each day.
That is not to say that I am about to throw it all away, sit back and let death come as it may! No way! I am like the true explorer; I still want to see what God has in store. I don’t want to move away from the edge… being near the edge has its advantages. You get to see both sides much better… the perspective is great if you keep your eyes on God, in Christ Jesus, with the Spirit at the helm and not having our own personal enterprise or requirements holding us back. I would like to say that it is a challenge! None of us are that pure that we need not evaluate self-motive, self- image and our own expectations. No, they should always be under scrutiny and left to be checked by the Holy Spirit, for His judging and leading. All too often we are flying by the seat or our pants and not by a Divine Flight Plan, that has the stamp of His approval. Yes, I know! We have all submitted a flight plan and as yet have not received and answer. Well, have you ever considered that the flight was in the wrong direction, on the wrong timeline and perhaps you have found yourself in the air and had to turn back? Not just a waste of time, fuel and energy, but a proving ground for God’s way, being the only way!
I am not afraid of trying for sure, but, just now I am resting my options and waiting to see if a Divine Flight Plan has been posted for my immediate response. I suspect that I have been placed on standby to let those eyebrows grow back for a reason… God wants me to be able to see and respond with full fervor when the plan is circulated, approved and issued again. Did my last journey fail… no… or so I am told at least. Did it take its toll on my life?… for sure, but what journey for God doesn’t. If it didn’t cost us anything, it would be of no value to us or Him!
So, I am writing again: from a new perspective so to speak, with a bit of a different view physically for sure, but from the same “window of faith” that I have had since early childhood. God has taken me back again and again to the edge and living near the edge is what life is always about.