Monica and I became grandparents this past Friday. Brooklyn Marie was born at 2:43 p.m. She came home from the hospital on Sunday. All is well, and this certainly is one of the most exceptional events a family can experience. With the choirmaster of old we say, "Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!" (Psalm 66.1-3). ... BUT
Oh, I know I am entering into the danger zone with that word. I have no intention of tempering the joy and excitement (and I know I couldn't even if I wanted to). Nor is my joy any less than anyone else's in the family, but ...
But other realities of life continue in the midst of all the joy! And another reality that is facing me this week is that many things in our world are broken, and I cannot fix them. For instance, the shooting in Texas has people across the country talking about Christians bringing guns to church to, I presume, "shoot the bad guys!" For instance, just as it appeared that Tuesday's Text was blossoming into a very special blessing, the app on my phone started malfunctioning (Three or four different attempts have been made to fix it, but, so far, to no avail - it continues to insist upon functioning like a typical group text). For instance, rather than catching up on the calls I really should be making, I see myself falling farther and farther behind. Not only is the world broken, so am I!
And then, just when I needed it most, God used Jim Leyland (of all people) to rescue me! There, on page 9C of Today's Free Press, he was quoted to say, "When you're high, never get too happy because you know you'll be going down. And when you're down, never get too low on yourself or mope and pout because it will go back up. It's a roller-coaster. And the people who can remain steady and even are the ones who end up at the top when it's all said and done." New babies bring 24-7 responsibilities. Technology glitches get updates. God gets people touched by the Gospel in many different ways, and by many different people.
A good way to work at becoming 'steady and even' is to follow the Philippians 4.4-7 Formula: "Rejoice in the Lord always" PLUS "Let your gentleness be known to all - the Lord is near" PLUS "Don't worry about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." The net result? "The peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus."
Or, as it was expressed in our Wednesday morning men's FHL, "Abide in God's Word. Be yourself. And know that the correctives will come."
Jesus puts it this way, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8.31-32). Neither the truth that Jesus speaks of, or the freedom, are of the type that the world runs after. However they do connect to 'the ones who end up at the top when it's all said and done.'
The bifocals I wear are very helpful. They help my eyes to see clearly things that are both far and near. What I need, though, is a second pair that helps everything behind my eyes see things just as clearly ... to remember that in the midst of life's joys and blessing that "the Lord is near" ... and to likewise be assured that, amidst the brokenness he remains "an ever present help in trouble." (Psalm 46.1) ... for this is the truth that sets us free ... the peace that passes all human understanding ... and what Paul speaks of as he writes, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." (Romans 15.13)
And, by the way, I know you are just dying to see the pictures I have in my phone ...