Symbolic. Prophetic. Probably. Part 2

Arriving at the summit area, I drove to the nearly deserted parking lot and looked ‘down’ on the world. Gone were the valleys and hills, cities, and towns. Instead of seeing the vast vista of miles and miles in every direction, I could only see the clouds and fog blocking everything below.

I was at the top. I had reached my goal, but it hadn’t revealed all I had hoped for.  Instead of seeing with great clarity and perspective, I was limited to only what was immediately around me. My view was restricted, fogged in.

What a bummer!

Symbolic. Prophetic. Probably. 

I made my way around the summit area, taking pictures and hoping for the clouds and fog to part, but after about 45 minutes I gave up. Asking God for his presence. For some kind of clarification on the path before me in life.

Mt. Washington Summit

I heard the wind blowing, I felt the chill in the air and my breath frosting in the breeze.. but nothing else.

Symbolic. Prophetic. Probably. 

I drove down the mountain road slowly, carefully. The twisting turns and sharp corners demanding all of my attention, one distracted moment and I could be over the edge.  I could only navigate the space directly in front of me, not distracted by the wonderful horizon, just concentrating on the space ahead.

God was speaking. It was time to slow down. To pay attention to where I was. Not where I might be going or where I had been. He was subtly reminding me that even though the fog and clouds were thick and blocking my view of the horizon, I knew those beautiful vistas were still down there. I knew that the towns and cities below were there regardless of what I could see in the moment.

Symbolic. Prophetic. Probably. 

God often gently prompts us to live in the ‘today’. To avoid the temptation to look way forward or way back. Just focus on the now. When your life is full of fog, it’s important to trust him for the future, and accept his grace for the past.  

When your life is filled with fog, pay attention to the steps you can see clearly. The stuff immediately in front of you, wait for Him to show you more – He will… when he knows we’re ready. The waiting is the point sometimes. Faith grows during the ‘unknown’s of our life, trust is gained when we believe even when the fog of life obscures our sight.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I just wanted God to be my personal ‘oracle’. A personal crystal ball that I could go to for answers when I felt lost or discouraged. I wasn’t nearly as interested in the relationship we share, but in the comfort and guidance he was offering.

God is there for me/us, but how we approach His presence will make a huge difference.  I was looking for answers, solutions to my problems… and I made the time and effort to come to seek Him out, but instead of focusing on HIM, my attention was completely wrapped up with ‘me’. 

We have to remember… for the Christian, God does indeed have a plan, our life is in his hands. Learning to trust His plan and timing is the pilgrim’s path, and we are all on various stages and ages of that journey. Let’s agree that when the time is right, He will clear the clouds and reveal what we need to know.

Until then… we learn to rest.

Pastor B.

PS – the next few days would review a nearly identical pattern of fog, clouds, and obscured views. God was speaking, but it took me some time to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ what was being said to me. Only after I got back did it come into perspective. Sometimes we have to be patient. God is speaking… we have to learn to listen.

Substance or Style ?

Watching the recent Presidential debate… I couldn’t help but notice how different our choices are for the future of our nation. One candidate seems to be strong on Substance, and the other on Style.

Substance… or Style ?For many of us caught up in our modern hyper visual pop culture, that’s not always an easy choice…It reminded me as a nation we seem to be at risk of being “seduced” by well rehearsed words and noble ideas vs. actions and results.

photo Forbes.com

As a nation we have been conditioned by our media addiction to look for someone who entertains us more than challenges us. Reminds me also of the way we’ve been living in the modern Christian church and the american family.

I see dad’s in their forties running around the affluent suburbs of Nashville in the latest skinny jeans and  too tight for comfort“hipster” outfits, bulging and sagging in all the wrong ways and places. It appears they feel the need to stay as fashionable as they can in a delusion they are a decade and half younger than they really are.

YIKES! Not a pretty sight.

I have lots of friends in the music biz… middle age guys who are accomplished producers, writers and media executives. Some of these older cats are genuinely “hip” guys who live and breathe a modern vibe, but that’s because it’s who they are. Not something they are trying project, or fake… they are not posers, but legit.

My comments on middle age and fashion are not meant to perfectly illustrate the point or lump everyone who buys fashionable clothes into a negative category, but you know who I’m talking about. Ladies who steal their daughters clothes, live for botox and sport hair colors that border on radioactive, trying to maintain an air of youthful beauty that passed by them two President’s ago.

Toddlers & Tiara’s – http://www.bellenews.com

As parents it’s easy to be tempted to make our kids world our own. Of trying to blend in with them and their ways to win their approval, rather than challenging them to come on up into our adult world and earn our respect.

Our nation is faced with a similiar dilemma. We have chosen at times to support leaders whose on-air persona’s reassure us we are the hippest nation on earth. Our critera focusing on the outward looks and well crafted speaking skills that our media presents as “most qualified”, often overlooking the lack of real substance to their character or political ideals.

It’s harder to let our actions speak for us… we’ve been trained to focus on the externals. To worry more about our appearance than our private choices. We can become confused about what really matters, and exert ourselves to exhaustion on pleasing others, on making people like us or “want to be us”. Especially so when it comes to our teen and pre-teen kids.

What if we spent more time considering the values and beliefs we want our families to embrace than we do looking like we fit in? What about showing them what sacrificial love and keeping commitments and slowing down to have compassion on the less fortunate looks like in a real family setting?

What if we modeled the value of hard work, and taking personal responsibility for actions and living up to our word, even when it hurts ? I believe that kind of internal substantive stuff is exactly what our kids are going to need if they are even going to consider adopting our values for their own. Parents, lets be careful that what we say matches what we actually do. After all, our leadership role large or small… has great influence on those who follow.

Peace out 🙂

b