Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Fallow Season

The air is crisp, the sounds of leaves crunch under my feet as I walk in the evenings.  The colors of fall in Oregon are so intense that they are nearly surreal.  

As I enjoy the changes of seasons, and Oregon begins to enter the chill of winter, I am reminded of the heat of summer in Las Vegas and Arizona.  Our entire family bemoaned the lack of true seasons when we lived in the desert.  It is odd, after being raised in Ohio, to live in a place where there are only two temperatures: Extremely hot and extremely cold.

In the desert, the leaves are generally knocked off by a wind storm before they fall.  Most trees are evergreens, so there is no change of color.  The spring is not a season, it's a week.  

In Oregon, spring bursts forth with amazing colors.  The streets are lined with tulips and daffodils.  The trees begin to show buds, which are such a bright green to be nearly florescent.  The smells are amazing, and the sun kisses the soil.  Then summer is filled with green grass, fields of wheat and corn bowing in the breeze, and the crash of blue and white waves boiling onto the beaches.  Fall enters with fire reds, bright yellows and radiant oranges.  Winter holds gray skies and a scattering of white snow.  The fields are empty, nothing is produced on the farms.  
We get rain, we get a lot of rain.  We have gloomy weather.  But what I have realized is that when we lived in Vegas, without the constant rain to live through, with skies that are nearly always blue, something was missing.  

In life, we get rain.  We have to endure those fallow seasons, where we aren't growing anything.  Our fields lay fallow, we feel as though we aren't moving ahead in life, or ahead for the Lord.  But a rebirth is coming.  The spring will follow those periods of our life when there is death, there is sadness, there is a season of frigidness.  

And after we come through the winter season in our lives, we will be re-energized and life will break through with vibrant growth.  We'll find new inspiration and new hope.  

As Christians, we are not promised perfect lives.  God's goal is not to create a gentle journey for us.  His goal is for us to return to his arms, laden down with the fruit of other souls.  Part of our our sharpening process is hardship.  We are not promised ease, we are promised that when the world falls apart, we'll be held.  And, we are promised that spring is coming.

There is beauty in every season.  If it is your fallow season, take time to rest in God.  He will provide a new spring...soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ephesians 3:20 (More than meets the eye)

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us."

"You missed signing a page of the paperwork, and the house needs to fund tomorrow.  You'll need to find the notary that came to your home and get her to notarize one more signature from you and get it to us immediately."

Wow, nothing about selling our home in Las Vegas has been easy.  We began the process in November of 2011, yet in February of 2013 the process still drudges along.  Now, we're down to the last few days before we lose the deal we have worked on for more than a year.  This is vitally important to us financially, so that we are not shackled by debt that was placed on the home in order to fund the lives of others... And I need to find a person who I know only by first name, with no clue of the company for whom she works, and I need to get her to make a special trip to my home for an additional signature.

Great.  This is how my life seems to go sometimes. Never an easy path, always the road is strewn with debris to be overcome.  Even something as "simple" as signing docs has been exasperating.

When I finally found Kristin, (she had left her number "just in case") she did indeed go out of her way to come directly to my home to gather the signature.  She was professional and courteous, and as she was gathering her things to leave, she said, "You know, this has only happened to me one other time, when a signature was missed.  And that time, it was because the person who I returned to needed prayers of healing."

Wow, a Christian.  Sometimes, you think you are the only one out there, and sometimes, they seem to be everywhere!

Then she went on to say that she sensed her appointment with me was about more than paperwork, that it was ordained by God. She asked if anyone had ever told me about Jesus, and I told her that we were also believers.   She prayed for my healing, laying hands upon my hip and shoulder.  She prayed for our kids, she prayed for Tony, for his job, for our household.  She prayed and she bound evil--and loosed blessings upon our home.

Sometimes paperwork is not just paperwork, and sometimes an accident is more than an accident.  We often through life, moaning and complaining about the things that seem to be obstacles to us.  When we lose a job, get cut off in traffic, or have emotional turmoil, we mutter, and we ask God "Why us?"

After all, as Christians, we are sometimes fed the message that God helps Christians, that He paves the way for us.  He will provide.  We can sit on our hands and He will see to it that our lives are perfect.  While the message may be pervasive, it isn't biblical.

Jesus himself told his followers that their lives would be difficult.  He said he came to bring a sword, and that if they wanted to come after Him, they would have to take up their cross and follow.  Taking up a cross is physically painful and challenging.  It is a mental load, it is a spiritual load.  There is no promise to remove the rocks in our pathway as we ascend our Golgotha 

Sometimes those rocks in our path are actually meant for our good.  We don't always take the time to appreciate them, or to recognize them as gifts.  The person who cuts you off in traffic could be saving you from a harrowing accident down the road.  The diagnosis could lead you to witness to another patient, and that may have eternal consequences.  There is so much spiritual activity about us that we simply don't see with our human eyes.

What appointments has God ordained for you today that are disguised as disappointments or interruptions?  Be looking for His Spirit at work...