Sunday, January 16, 2011

God--The Adventure Hero!

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today:

"Life is an adventure. And you know, the adventure never really begins until everything goes wrong...And then you get to watch the Lord work." -Pastor Jay Stark

I love this quote and it got me thinking about adventure stories and heroes.  For example, let's look at that classic adventurer, Indiana Jones.  We know that he's pretty amazing and can do some spectacular things:  running away from huge boulders, climbing along the underside of a truck while it's moving, falling out of a crashing plane with a rubber raft as a parachute, guiding a runaway mine cart along broken tracks, racing speedboats through the canals of Venice, defeating ancient death-traps...and let's not forget the whip!  Indy accomplishes things that no normal person could ever do and pulls victory out of certain defeat.

But all of these great feats come when he's in danger and when things seem to be going wrong.  Remember that Indy is also a college professor.  How many amazing things do you think he performs in front of his students?  Now this isn't a comment against teachers.  I've taught college Biology, so I count myself as one.  But I can't recall anything happening in a class or lab that would be beyond the capabilities of just about anyone to handle.  I also never faced danger in the classroom.  If Dr. Jones had stayed in his classroom, he would have been much safer but we also wouldn't be telling stories about him.

God is the same way.  If everything is going smoothly and there are no challenges, there is no way for His miracles to show.  What kind of miracle can happen when everyone is well, there is plenty of money in the bank, and the car is working fine?  But when things start to fall apart and everything seems hopeless...that's when our Heavenly Adventure Hero can show what He's made of!  So the next time things seem bleak, remember that those times are there so that God can show how awesome He is!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rearranging Your House

Over the last week my wife and I have been rearranging our house.  About 4 years ago when we moved we went for a relatively large house to a smaller one, losing several hundred square feet.  We've always been a little unhappy with the space, even though it's a nice house, and often have talked about wishing for a new home.  This is also the longest we've lived in one home in the 13 years we've been together, so we're feeling a little antsy and kind of wanting to move.  But there is no real chance of that happening soon, so we're trying to make the best of it.

As we started rearranging the house, switching furniture from one room to another, moving pictures, and so on, we discovered that we have a lot more open space.  What once seemed like a cramped home has suddenly opened up and feels roomy.  We look around and are amazed at what some new paint, slipcovers on the furniture, and a different arrangement can do to make us like our home.  We really haven't added or taken away things in the house, just changed where they were placed.  And that has made a world of difference in feeling content in our home.

This morning when I was praying God spoke to me about this issue.  I've also been struggling with being content in my job and our life.  I often wish that God has something else in store for me.  That he would help me find a different job, more money, and so on.  But for whatever reasons (and only He knows what they are), God wants us here at this time.  Since my desires don't seem to be in line with His, I've been struggling with personal contentment.  This morning He spoke to me and made me realize that it was no different than contentment with our house.

As I said, we really didn't add or take away from our home.  We used what we had and rearranged where we put them.  And that made a huge difference, increasing our satisfaction in our home.  So what if I did that internally?  What if I slapped a coat of spiritual paint on my heart and rearranged my priorities and activities?  By re-evaluating and rearranging my spiritual house, perhaps I could be content where God has me placed.

I'm not saying that suddenly everything is copacetic in my heart.  But it was a great awakening to me, and I'm glad that God spoke to me.  I don't necessarily have to add or take away from myself to be content.  God has already placed the things in our life we need to be happy.  When we're struggling with finding that contentment, we should look at rearranging things in our life.  We don't need to add things or even get rid of things (though we may need to get rid of sinful behaviors or add spiritual ones).  Like it took with my home, just looking at things in our life in a different way may help us find that peace that God wants for us.