Eternal Midsummer Sun

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16) 

 

sunrise

 

I sit here very reluctantly with the imminent threat of storms looming overhead… yet still I eagerly await another early rising midsummer sun…. As the darkness continues to linger into daybreak… I am attempting rather unsuccessfully to embrace the predicted series of slowly moving storms which hastily interrupts my early midsummer morning. Late night storms have left my water starved annuals laying on their uprooted mangled sides… and a scattering of white and pink petals now lay across my parched wooden deck….. My sleepless night thoughts persist and I wander just too long in anticipation of the approaching storms… and my wandering mind only complicates the mix of emotions I’m experiencing from yet another one of life’s greatest disappointments….. Just another “failure” to add to my repertoire…but like too many failures in my already overstuffed life….this failure comes from within a deep and painful crevice of spiritually rooted connections and convictions with fellow believers….. Yet I feel a remarkable and undeniable familiarity to this type of great disappointment as I glance out my patio door staring blankly at the searing sheets of endless rain just beginning to pound the south facing side of my home…..

My thoughts take another turn to not only my own failures, but also to the multiple losses I have suffered throughout my life… Trapped within the walls of this sadly wandering state of mind…..  My thoughts turn to my sister.   I struggle to envision a much happier time where she stood firmly beside me… bravely fighting with her diseased and ravaged body in tow…. It was an extremely aggressive intruder which hastily interrupted her late winter morning sun many years ago…and many months before she finally succumbed to this ultimate life-robbing enemy…this sickening invader who eventually won the hard fought battle against her constant desire to remain here in this familiar yet darkened place….her final and seemingly unanswered plea to witness yet another one of her own early rising midsummer suns…..and in this frozen memory…. my heart sinks even lower.

With much regret….I think of the many disagreements my sister and I once shared….. Far too many of our own life’s experiences stood between the two of us and the One and Only Truth and our many experiences almost separated us from creating a final spiritual truce.  I being the lost prodigal child of a Great Comforter not too long ago and she being the ever faithful and everlasting daughter of a Mighty King… born in the faith and never wavering.  Sometimes this uncomfortable wedge created too wide a space for a compromise to even take hold…for a conversation to take place and grow…and to at last realize…… the simple understanding that our belief in the One and Only Truth did indeed take very different roads…. But both roads led back home!!   There are varied paths of Light that occur in this life’s constant darkness.   My road being twisted with many unwanted, and sometimes self-inflicted roadblocks… my footprints disappearing at long intervals of time upon its jagged edge and teetering on a lack of trust and commitment …her road well-traveled and worn with the unbroken trust of her steadfast feet.. Scattered were her footprints but never ever too close to its well-developed edge… yet narrow and unbending along the border…

 

road 1

 

The rain is tapering as the sound of thunder rumbles off into the distance as the storms move to the unsuspecting East…and my sadly wandering thoughts are slowly turning to the present-tense as I sense the departing storms and begin to plan my day…..yet I pause and attempt to envision my sister’s present day view of her eternal midsummer sun….so Majestic….so Gracious…and so very Merciful……but I cannot envision it for both the current and departing storms here cause too much turmoil……And there is yet another winding road for me to travel… but I know my simple belief in Him gets me through one more storm and one more jagged edge along its path…and I seek…and I plead… and I’m given comfort by Him once again… and by this simple truth…..

My faithful sister is the daughter of a Mighty King and I am the rebellious child of a Great Comforter!

 

pic of road 3

 

Take comfort in knowing He is there with you on your current winding road…..and there is nothing that can separate you from Him as long as you are a believer and you continue to simply believe in His promise!  

 

My Progressive Transformation

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

(Philippians 1:6 ESV)

Jen running

Leaving a lasting spiritual legacy should be the hope and desire of all who come to know Him.  Helping others see Him through you is the greatest gift you may ever give to someone wandering in the darkness, and unable to see His light of life.  I hope to leave a spiritual legacy where those who know me completely understand I have finally… “I HAVE FINALLY” (shouting here) come to serve a God who unconditionally loves His children (not flee from them) despite their continual shortcomings, and our God completely understands the weaknesses and frailty of a fallen humanity in which we now live. I want people to know that Christianity does NOT begin with what we do for Him, but ONLY begins with what He has done for us! 

Our ultimate act of worship is in living a holy life.  Scripture says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12: 2 ESV)  It is not a “molding” brought about by a high-walled childhood legalistic church, but an actual transformation which occurs from the inside out… not from outside in.  A transformation that Christ is actively involved in, and through this process of sanctification, we become more Christ-like.    It is not in learning “sin management” techniques that ultimately leads us down a path of failure, but in the continual and daily act of loving Christ so much, you only want to please Him by living a holy life.  It is not in frightening non-believers and skeptics into believing in Hell, but helping them understand and believe in the love of Christ, and of His loving act of complete and willing sacrifice… the bloody and torturous horror of Calvary, and the glorious resurrection of a now living King!   It is in lowering the most intimidating and legalistic church walls, and truly helping each other as followers of Christ through this life-long battle of progressive transformation.  

long road

It is Christ and the love He exhibited to us while He walked among us.  It is written in Scripture and also known by this once wandering prodigal who knows and has truly experienced the radiating love of Christ, and who also knows without doubt that nothing can separate us from Christ! For Scripture states, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39 ESV)  How glorious is our God!  These progressive transformation stories of God’s grace in your life and of your family should be spoken of and preserved, not hidden and wrapped in anguish and disgust! 

As I continue my progression toward Christ-likeness, I continually struggle with poor habits and bad attitudes.  I have a negative (and slowly healing) attitude toward His church.  I have a negative attitude for those who do not love and embrace non-believers. I have a negative attitude toward self-righteousness.  I struggle with my spiritual disciplines as I see myself many times less than others I perceive as more “godly”, but I know I so love Jesus!  I try to keep my eyes focused only on Him but it has become so difficult!  I sometimes feel we all have lost our perception of true spirituality.  The religious leaders of Christ’s day had a kind of differentness that pushed people away.  Jesus had a kind of differentness that drew people to him.  True spirituality is that way.  Do I draw people in like Christ did?  Do I love people who are not exactly like me? Do I love people who do not know Him?  Do I pray enough?  I know I have periods of drought!  Do I read God’s Word enough?  I know and confess how I hate to read!  I struggle with disappointment and I ask for His help.  I have recently become so disappointed that I seem to still love God so little and sin so much.

“Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

(Psalm 42: 11 ESV)