November 11, 2010

stand in the rain

"peace does not come from finding a lake with no storms. it comes from having JESUS in the boat." john ortberg

"life's not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning to dance in the rain." vivian greene

one of my favorite games of childhood was "the oregon trail." yes, you know the one, and don't even pretend like you didn't spend countless hours in front of the computer playing it. if you really never did get to play it then you missed out on one of the most educational and insightful experiences of life, and i would suggest you get it now and find out what you've been missing.

sometimes life is like "the oregon trail." just when you fix the broken axle of your wagon wheel, little johnny gets cholera and baby maria gets bitten by a snake. sue ellen breaks a leg while jim bob gets a bad case of the dysentery. the path you had planned to take gets flooded, and your favorite ox drowns in the process of fording. sometimes you're hunting for a bison, but all you can find are little rabbits and dinky squirrels. and for all the heartache and sorrow that you have to endure, you get a single verse and chorus of "poor wayfaring stranger" played while raiders come and invade your wagon, stealing all the goods you just bought from the general store.

for the past few weeks i feel like i've been on my own personal oregon trail. i've felt the weight of many burdens that i've been trying to carry in my wagon. there have been constant struggles and road blocks that have completely changed my direction. people whom i respected as people of character and truly valued have proven to be dinky squirrels instead of bison. other people whom i had been quick to judge or to whom i hadn't given a fair chance have proven to be diamonds in the rough. some friends have forded the river and fought tirelessly to salvage relationships. another friend fights daily for his own life. sickness, countless projects, and car troubles have made their presence known all at the same time. struggles, hardships, and tears have been sent straight from satan to deplete us entirely of all energy and happiness. and we travel our trails with heavy loads of care.

but it's times like these when i'm extra thankful to have JESUS in my boat. or my wagon. or my life. to give me strength, courage, and joy when i feel like i'm drowning in the storm. i'm realizing that life is always going to be a little stormy, and it really is all a matter of keeping JESUS in that boat and learning to dance in the rain, which is even better with a great pair of rain boots. the great thing about storms is that no matter how big they are, they pass, and the winds and waves will always know HIS voice. GOD'S faithfulness is as inevitable as change. and HIS mercy is new every morning and never ceasing. and it is with the knowledge that GOD walks with us that we can confidently continue on our own personal, turbulent trails because as robert frost said, “in three words i can sum up everything i've learned about life. it goes on.”

"be still, my soul, the LORD is on thy side. bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. leave to thy GOD to order and provide. in every change HE faithful will remain. be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly FRIEND through thorny ways leads to a joyful end." "be still my soul" (my favorite hymn)

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