Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 8, 2018

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

                                                                                                Galatians 6:2

 I can’t believe that it’s been almost three years since I suffered with the medical issues that came close to ending my life. Following my release from the hospital and a stay alone at home while my family visited with Ellie’s sister and her family and her mother; after a week, I made the plane trip to Minneapolis, right after Jordan and Sunshine returned, so that I could visit with them and spend a week recuperating from all that had occurred.  Part of that recuperative process included doing some traveling around the Twin Cities.  It was one day as we were driving back from St. Paul to Minneapolis, that we crossed over a bridge on I-35-W.

It was on that same bridge eight years earlier, during a typical afternoon commute, that tragedy struck when, without warning, the bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River below, killing thirteen people and injuring one hundred forty-five others. In a way it was also amazing that so many others who had plunged into the river managed to survive.

In the Pittsburgh area, we’re very familiar with bridges, as the city has one of the greatest concentrations of bridges in the United States. I’m certain that those who travel those bridges daily rarely give thought as to whether they’re structurally sound.  They simply drive across them with their minds totally preoccupied by other “more important” issues, at the same time taking for granted that they will remain intact.  It’s such a matter of trust for them that they don’t even consider the possibility that the structure they’re on may not be safe.

Think of the many people around you every day, including those who make up your world of relationships. Some bear the physical scars of this life, while others don’t.  Most of us never give a moment’s thought to what might be going on in the lives of these people.  Yet, many people bear tremendous emotional and spiritual damages… interior damages that few, if any of us, see.  Much like one of those unsound bridges that appear to be normal, but have unseen structural damage, most of these people appear as though all is well in their lives.  Yet, many are teetering on the brink of collapse from all the damages done by wounds that have weakened them.

When that Minneapolis bridge collapse occurred, heroes emerged: People caught on the collapsed bridge along with rescue workers who quickly arrived on the scene. These were people who courageously put their own lives at risk to help those caught up in the tragedy.  What a marvelous reminder that we, as Christian followers, are called to be spiritual and emotional rescue workers in the lives of those around us.

In the New Testament book of Jude, we read, “Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.  There are still others to whom you need to show mercy…”

 So today, why not make the decision to look below the surface of the lives of the people in your world. Chances are, there is someone out there that you know who needs your support.  Through your love and care, you can help to shore up that person and prevent their life from collapsing.

Lord, give us the eyes to see and then equip us with the tools and the compassion to strengthen and rescue the lives of others. Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 1, 2018

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.

                                                                                                                                 Job 42: 16-17

 During my years of living, I’ve had more than one person tell me “You’re full of it!” I, along with you, know what that statement implies…and perhaps at times maybe I am.  But I have yet to have anyone tell me that I’m full of years…which, at my age, I am, although I certainly hope that there’s at least a little room in the old “year barrel” for a few more.

The book of Job ends on a note of contentment and peace after a rather tumultuous collection of chapters preceding its ending one. I read in a commentary a lot of years ago that Job was about my current age when the book bearing his name began.  And when the book begins, Job is this aged, contented man, a picture of peace, one whom God has greatly blessed.

As you’re reading this, you are also likely looking ahead to the New Year that lies before you…a new year, symbolizing a new beginning. The old is past, put away forever.  As we prepare for this new beginning, God invites us to, as he has so many times in our past, forget about all our distrust and fears, all the anxieties of the past, all the resentments we’ve been holding against others, all the grudges, all the criticisms…to put them away and begin anew.

God invites us to close the book on it all, and as we close that book, there may well be a question that hovers over us (one we may feel deeply within our heart)…”On what basis am I going to live this new year? Will it be on the old basis of it-all-depends-on-me, do-it-yourself goodness before God, trying my best to be pleasing to God and meaning it with all my heart but never fully realizing the depths of evil with which I have to deal?”  Or will I accept the gift of God that is waiting for me every day, fresh from his hand, a gift of forgiveness, or righteousness already mine, of a relationship in which he is my dear Father and I am his cherished, beloved child, and in which he therefore has provided for me all I need, all day long, so that I can stand up to and say no to evil and yes to truth and right?

Will we begin this New Year on that basis? If it is, this is going to be a year in which our life will be characterized by peace, love and beauty.  Or, if we insist on living this coming year on the same old basis, we may find ourselves like those friends of Job, arousing the anger and the wrath of God.  Though God is patient and merciful, and slow to anger, our only escape will be to repent of our evil ways and rest upon the righteousness of our perfect substitute and return to God for the blessing he’s waiting to give.  This is the choice before us, each one of us, as we prepare to set that first foot into this New Year.  So, how are you going to live this New Year?

Loving God and Lord… thank you for this New Year that lies before us. We choose you.  We choose to depend on you, trust you, and accept from your hand all that you would give us.  Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

October 30, 2017

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and burden is light.

                                                                                                                             Matthew 11:28-30

 Whenever we hear the name Herod the Great mentioned, we immediately associate him with Jesus’ birth. But Herod was also the great builder of the ancient world, as he left his footprints all over Israel.  The sheer size and grandeur of his structures were second to none.

It was he who remodeled the great Jerusalem temple, and along with ten thousand men, built the retaining walls around the Temple Mount, which took ten years of construction. Just one of the stones on the second course of the wall’s foundation was sixty-four feet long, eight feet high, and twelve feet deep.  It must have taken many hernias of “free” labor to get into place.  Capable of encompassing four football fields, the Temple Mount still remains the largest man-made platform in the world.

Another of Herod’s construction projects was Herodian, his summer palace, fortress, monument, burial ground and district capital. Upper Herodian contained water cisterns, tunnels and hidden apertures to prevent against sneak attacks.  Lower Herodian had a large pool in the center of a garden surrounded by pillars.

Herod also built Masada, a sprawling palace with numerous fortifications on a high plateau overlooking the Dead Sea.

And then there was the deep water harbor city of Caesarea, a “planned city” of crisscrossing roads, a Roman temple, amphitheater, hippodrome, markets, residential quarters, aqueducts, piers and giant warehouses.

Interestingly, the majority of the structures Herod built served as fortifications, primarily due to the fact that, even though he was Herod the “Great,” he was also a very selfish, insecure, cruel, and paranoid person, established by the fact that he had numerous members of his family murdered and various rabbis to secure his leadership role in his kingdom. It was all just about him!

And then there was Jesus…who also left a footprint, but over the entire world. He didn’t own a home where he could rest his head.  It was with total peace and contentment that he chose to do his Father’s will.  With all power at his fingertips, he willingly gave up his own life.  By sending his Son to earth to die, God stooped down to become a servant for us.

Lord, help us not to follow the world’s visible and ostentatious ways of building a kingdom. Instead, remind us that the kingdom of God is inside us, as we choose to obey Christ’s example of a meek and pure heart.  Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

October 23, 2017

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”                                                                                                                                                                                          John 14:8-10

 About two months ago, I finished an interesting little book by renowned astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. For the most part, I was able to understand what he was saying, even with so much technical jargon. But I will admit that there were certain entries and references in his writing that caused me to ask, “What on earth (or in some cases, beyond this earth) is he talking about”? The same thing happens to me on occasion if I’m listening to some politician or read some report on the Internet about a particular political issue when I’ll find myself asking that same question: “What on earth is he (or she) talking about?”

 I think there are also those times in our lives as Christians when we hear or read the words of Jesus and have that same collective thought…”What on earth is he talking about”? But if you think you’re alone in asking that question, have heart, because there are many others asking the same thing, just as the people did in his day. Take the disciples for instance. Even they must have had similar thoughts, especially when they listened to him tell his parables…”Now exactly where is he going with this one?”

 In the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus makes the astounding claim, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus is making a very profound statement here. “This God you worship, who’s far off, has come very near… in fact, nearer than you would have ever imagined. If you want to know what he’s like, then watch me”. In essence, Jesus was putting God on display.

 That’s the way this whole Christian thing takes place. If you want to know what God is like, watch Jesus. Do you want to see how God would love or show compassion? Then watch how Jesus does it. To see Jesus is to see God in action. In Jesus, the invisible God is made visible.

 Now this whole “watch Jesus” process has some interesting ramifications for us. If Jesus was putting God on display and we are called to live as Jesus did, then in a truly mysterious way, we’re also putting God on display for this world to see… at home, at work, at school, wherever. Wherever we go… in all that we do… the question remains: are we putting God on display for the world to see? If people were to watch us (and they do) would they gain a better sense of who God is?

 What if in watching us and describing how we live, people actually would be describing God without ever knowing it? Wouldn’t that be truly amazing? Perhaps it might even change the world.

 Lord, mold us and shape us into your image, that through us, the world can truly come to know you. Amen.

 

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

June 26, 2017

Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise.

                                                                                                Proverbs 9:6

 As I’ve grown older, I find that decision making has become more of a challenge. Now logically, one would think that the older one gets, with the amount of wisdom they’ve accumulated over the years, one should be able to apply that acquired knowledge to make decision making much easier…but, for me at least, that hasn’t been the case.  I feel that part of my problem is that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also become more impulsive…another process that seems out of sync with one’s development, since we tend to equate impulsivity with the younger and in-a-hurry generation.  But the one thing about my condition that I think I share with other questioning decision makers of all ages is that tendency to ask, after just having made a decision (especially if it turns out to be a bad one) is “If only…”

Those two words, “If only” have a way of popping up a lot in our conversations with others, especially those close to us, a family member or a good friend. And when they do, it’s clear that the person who voiced them is living in this sea of regrets over the decision they just made.  “If only I’d said no to that adulterous opportunity.”  “If only I’d said no to that “get rich quick scheme”.  “If only I hadn’t allowed myself to become so much in debt.”  “ If only I’d married a Christian.”  “If only I hadn’t lied.”

So, how does one escape this poor decision making process? How does one avoid the “if only’s”?  First of all, we aren’t going to be able to all the time.  There are still going to be those moments of impulsivity, those moments when we become too overwhelmed by circumstances or just too busy to do the right thing.  But there is at least one step we can take (that is, if we’re willing to make the time to take it) that is guaranteed to be of help…and that is, talk to God…hit the knees and pray.  I know, this advice sounds a bit “churchy,” but I’m guessing far too few people actually take the time to do it, or even think about doing it.  But, do think about it for a moment.  When we’re faced with some life-altering decision, how many of us really take the time to drop to our knees, look up to God, and say, “God, I need your help with this. I can’t do this one on my own.  God, I need your supernatural wisdom.  I need Your help”?

 I’m convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that nothing would make God happier that to be invited to come alongside us and give us his wisdom as we struggle with our decision. In the book of James, the writer offers us this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”  In these words, James tells us that when we make any decision, large or small, the best place to get final input is from God, “the Great Decider”.

While it still remains a good idea to seek the advice of a trusted friend when we’re faced with some huge decision, I would encourage you to first seek the wisdom of the wisest and most trustworthy friend any of us have: God. Go to God first.  Talk to him.  There’s no reason for any of us to wallow in the mire of “If only”.  God’s always going to be there and he’s always going to listen…and he stands ready to generously impart is wisdom.  So take the time to stop, think, pray, and then decide.  It won’t help you to avoid that occasional bad decision and the “If only” that follows, but it will go a long way in making life’s decisions a bit easier to handle…I promise you.

Wise and Wonderful God… help me to always bank on your wisdom as I face the tiny and tremendous decisions of my life. Guide my mind and my tongue so that I’m more inclined to engage my brain before my mouth.  Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

March 6, 2017

Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.

                                                                                                                                    Luke 6:25

This world is filled with all sorts of characters…different people with different views, temperaments, attitudes, and personalities. Some of these folks can be easy-going, flexible, and upbeat, while others can be cantankerous, argumentative, and uncooperative.  Okay, time out here for a minute as I digress.  What a fun word…”Cantankerous”…don’t you think?  It’s not a word I find myself using very often, but it’s a word full of letters that basically just mean crabby and cranky.  Cantankerous. CANTANKEROUS!! Anyway, I’m a lover of words, and my appreciation to you for allowing me this brief moment of digression.

Who are the people you hang out with? I’m sure that most of try to hang out with those who display a positive and upbeat attitude.  Given the chance, most of us would choose to surround ourselves with people who inspire us, motivate us and encourage us.  Given the chance, we’d pick friends who view the glass of life as half-full rather than half-empty.  Few if any of us would purposely seek out someone grumpy or cantankerous, would we?

My apologies if I’d shared the following story with you before, but I want to use it again to illustrate a point.

There was this family with twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was in their physical appearance. Otherwise, if one felt it was too hot, the other felt it was too cold.  If one complained that the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up.

 These two were opposites in every way. One was the eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist.  So, just to see what would happen, on their birthday; their dad loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game.  The optimist’s room he loaded with horse manure.

 Later that night, the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him sitting in the midst of all the toys, crying bitterly.

 “Why are you crying?” the father asked.

 “Because my friends will be jealous, and I’ll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff. I’m going constantly need batteries, and some of these toys are going to get broken.”

 He then walked past the optimist’s room and found the boy dancing for joy in the manure pile.

 “What are you so happy about?” he asked.

 “I know there’s got to be a pony in this pile somewhere!”

Smiling much, are you? What a perfect example of half-full verses half-empty!

Now let me do two things, One is to ask you a question: What if you woke up this morning and ONLY had the things and people in your life that you thanked God for yesterday…the traffic light that finally turned green, a winning scratch-off ticket, or the promotion you waited so long for? Who would you share your joy with?

Now the other thing I want to share…a poem…FULL OR EMPTY?

How full or empty would our world be, if we only had the things we thanked God for on bended knee?

Would we have a home, some food, or money? How about a job, some clothes, or our Honey?

Could we see with our eyes and speak with our lips? Could we walk with our legs and dance with our hips?

Would our children be there to tuck in at night? Would the sun wake us up with new morning light?

How full or empty would our world be, if we had only the things we thanked God for on bended knee?

Would we have friends and family to call on the phone? How about some ice cream on a cone?

Could we turn on the A/C or heater at whim? Could we hit the gym or sing a hymn?

Would our parents be there to spend some time? Would we find that lucky penny, dollar, or dime?

Would there be hugs, kisses, and love? What about chances to thank God above?

Would there be stars in the sky for wishes? How about mouths to feed and all those dishes?

I ask again, so you can reflect and think. Ponder on this the next time you blink.

How full or empty would your world be, If you had only the things you thanked God for on bended knee?

Full or empty? We choose.  Half-full or half empty? We still choose.

Let’s choose to look for the pony! I’m in! Are you?

 Lord, if you truly are with us at all times, how can we be anything but half-full optimists? Amen.

 

 

 

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

February 27, 2017

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave; never will I forsake you.

                                                                                                                                 Hebrews 13:5

While I don’t necessarily agree with some of his theological views; I do appreciate the writing style of Max Lucado and have a number of his books, including one titled When Christ Comes.  From that book comes the following story, a story about a parent’s unconditional love.  Part of that love centers around those closing words from the verse from Hebrews above…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” As parents, we can only pray that ours is that unconditional type of love, a love that will transcend any and all negative things our children may do or become involved with.  But even that degree of love pales in comparison to the depth, breadth, and integrity of God’s love and compassion for us.  Lucado describes that kind of love in his story about a father, a son, tragedy and triumph, writing…

The 1989 Armenian earthquake needed only four minutes to flatten the nation and kill thirty thousand people. Moments after the deadly tremor ceased, a father raced to an elementary school to save his son.  When he arrived, he saw that the building had been leveled.  Looking at the mass stones and rubble, he remembered a promise he made to his child: “No matter what happens, I’ll always be there for you.”  Driven by his own promise, he found the area closest to his son’s room and began to pull back the rocks.  Other parents came and began sobbing for their children.  “It’s too late,” they told the man, “You know they are dead.  You can’t help.”  Even a police officer urged him to give up.

 But the father refused. For eight hours, then sixteen, then thirty-two…for thirty-six hours he dug.  His hands were raw and his energy gone, but he refused to quit.  Finally, after thirty-eight wrenching hours, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son’s voice.  He called his boy’s name, “Arman! Arman!”  And a voice answered him, “Dad, it’s me!”  Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry.  I told them if you were alive, you’d save me, and when you saved me, they’d be saved too. Because you promised me, “No matter what happens, I’ll always be there for you.”

Can you imagine God, our heavenly Father possessing this kind of passion for us, his children? Of course you can, because that’s who God is.  Take a few minutes to go back and look at that verse from Hebrews.  Let the author’s words sink in about what it means for your life…to realize that God has promised us that he’s never going to leave or forsake us, even when our problems mount and our struggles seem to be more unbearable that we could ever imagine.  God’s got our back!  That’s for certain!

In the musical, Camelot, the late Robert Goulet sang of his unending love, a love that would last through all the seasons of the year, a song that ended with this promise to his beloved…

Oh, no! not in springtime! Summer, winter, or fall!

 No, never could I leave you at all!

And that’s the measure of God’s endless love for his children, a love that promises… No, never could I leave you at all!

 What a friend we have in Jesus, a friend that will never leave us. Lord, what comfort we can feel in that promise.  Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

February 6, 2017

For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

                                                                                                                       2 Corinthians 6:16

 I don’t know about you, but every time I hear or read that statement from Second Corinthians, I find myself feeling more than a little overwhelmed. To think that the great God, the Creator of all there is, would choose to live in the lives of his children.  Scripture tells us we are “God’s temple, the home of the living God”.  God isn’t one to just make the occasional visit, to “check in” every now and then just to see how we’re doing.  Oh no, not God.  At our invitation he comes into our lives to reside.  As he said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them.”

This great and Almighty God loves us as no other earthly person in this life can. He’s there for us, ready to supply our every need.  He walks with us as our Guide, Helper, and Comforter.  He’s there with us all the time, to encourage us along the way.  He lives our lives with us, sharing our problems, our pains and our triumphs.  He is our God through his Son Jesus Christ, and we are his people.

There once was an old woman who lived in one of the almshouses in England. Someone once asked her, “Has the Queen ever visited here?”  “Yes,” was the old woman’s reply.  “Her Majesty comes to see me.”  “And does the King of kings visit you here?”  “No,” the old woman replied, “He doesn’t visit here, he lives here.”

Try to keep that thought in mind as you go about your busy day today. God lives in your life.  He wants nothing more than to be your constant companion while providing his best for you.  Have you allowed him to be at home in every part of your life…or are you still keeping some of the doors locked?

Lord, not so many weeks ago we sang these words…”cast out our sins and enter in, be born in us today.” Is there room in our hearts and in our lives for you?  There should be…after all, haven’t you promised us a place in your heavenly kingdom?  Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 23, 2017

 

There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

                                                                                                                     Proverbs 18:24

 I received an email this week from my best friend from high school. He and I have kept in constant touch since he doubly surprised me with an email several years ago.  It was a double surprise because we had not seen or been in contact with each other in almost thirty years, and I was also surprised because I never thought of him as becoming some tech savvy person.  Now we send and receive emails at least once a month, talk on the phone several times through the year, and get together for lunch every October when I make my annual cider run back to Central Pennsylvania.

Now, while my next few thoughts may seem to have nothing in common with the paragraph about my old high school friend, hang with me for a paragraph or two.

One of God’s creatures that has always fascinated me is the spider. I’m fascinated by their species variety, their various behaviors, and the sheer beauty that some of them possess.  One species of spider native to various areas of the United States and also throughout the world is the crab spider.  It’s one of the more unusual of the arachnid grouping.  Unlike most other spiders, they don’t rely on a spun web to trap their prey.  Instead, they hide in flowers and wait for a honeybee, beetle or butterfly to come by searching for nectar.  Then they pounce, grabbing the insect with their powerful forelegs, and biting it.  With some varieties of this spider their powerful venom does the rest.

But insects are not this spider’s sole diet. The male of some species of crab spiders also sip on nectar and eat pollen.  Think about that fact for a minute.  Both the crab spider and the honeybee drink the same nectar.  From that liquid, the honeybee makes honey.  The crab spider produces poison.  Same liquid ingestion with two very different results.

The same is true of people. All of us breathe air and drink water.  We share some of the same experiences, but what we do with them, or what we “produce,” can be dramatically different.

There are those of us eager to gain wisdom. We people apply what we learn to our everyday lives, including our relationships.  When we see others going through difficult times, we offer practical help.  We offer prayers, send notes of support, visit, and share in the struggle.  We’re very careful our their words, offering only truth and encouragement.  Like the bee, we produce honey.

And then there’s the “crab spider” crew who think they already know everything they need to know. They don’t even bother to seek God’s wisdom.  They live their lives consumed with their own desires, not really caring what happens to anyone else.  Sometimes they will initiate a conversation and seem friendly, but all they’re really doing is gleaning tidbits of gossip to spread around and looking for things to criticize… all for the purpose of causing immeasurable harm.  These “crab spiders” produce poison.

These honeybees and crab spiders can be found everywhere…in schools, at the office, in our families, and, yes, even in our churches.

While growing up, I remember my mother’s sage, old advice about making friends; Take time to observe the behavior of others before building friendships. Sometimes the people who greet you first are not always the ones who will make trustworthy friends.  So always be polite, but watch carefully how people treat one another before establishing a friendship.  Carefully avoid the so-called friends who destroy each other.  It’s Proverbs that reminds us to seek true friends who will stick closer than a brother.

I was never lucky enough to have a biological brother, but I am blessed to call my friend “brother,“ both in life and in Christ.

So be careful to avoid the crab spiders as you seek out the honeybees in this life.

Lord, what a friend we have in you. Amen.

Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 9, 2017

God has made everything beautiful for its own time, He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

                                                                                                                         Ecclesiastes 3:11

 Standing in the kitchen this morning, preparing breakfast, I paused for a moment to look out the window at our dogwood tree. Surprisingly, given the fact that quite a few years ago it lost two rather large branches during a particularly harsh winter, it has grown much larger than I ever thought it would, providing our patio with some very welcomed shade in the summer.  But the damage from those lost limbs has caused it to bloom and flower at a slightly different time than the ones my neighbor has across the street.  Thus, when his trees are in full bloom, ours sports nothing but green leaves with only the faintest hint of budding.  Right now it lies dormant with nary a leaf to be seen and snow covering the branches, but in another six months, there it will be with its abundance of green, as I wait anxiously (and somewhat impatiently) for it to produce its white flowers.  Until that happens, I suppose I’ll have to be content to enjoy the beauty across the street.

It’s all a matter of timing…God’s timing. The verse I listed above is part of a rather familiar passage from Ecclesiastes reminding us that “For everything there is a season”…God’s season with God’s own timing.  Everything that takes place in this life happens in God’s perfect time.  Solomon communicated this beautifully in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.  Not only does he say there is a season, or time, for “every activity under heaven,” he ends his thoughts with this striking statement… “God has made everything beautiful for its own time”. What may look wrong, out of sync, or just plain ugly to us is merely God’s unfinished work.  They are his plans yet to be completed, and in his own time.  God has the ability to bring beauty out of everything…in its perfect time, which only he alone determines.  As King Solomon says, “we can’t see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end”. The amazing work of God is far beyond our comprehension.  So that leaves our role to be one of waiting patiently, trusting that he can and will make everything beautiful…even the messes of our own lives.

On this very cold January day, with all things covered by a mantle of white, most of what we enjoy as beauty in spring and summer now looks dead. But those “dead things” are merely asleep, awaiting God’s perfect timing, ready to grow and to bring new life and splendor once again to God’s magnificent creation.

So we wait, patiently, which is often the highest form of doing God’s will.

Lord, Solomon reminds us that there is a time and a season for everything…your time and your season. God teach us to wait for that time and that season, with patience and great anticipation.  Amen.