Uncertainty

The weather provides an endless number of real life analogies.

There are the storms of life, the cloudy days, the fog, the raging seas and the tropical depressions.  OK, maybe I’m more prone to the tropical depressions in the high heat and humidity of Florida, but it’s still a weather-related emotion.

So now I have a new one.  The “Cone of Uncertainty”.

Not sure when the weather professionals changed the name of hurricane tracking models from the “cone of probability” to the “cone of uncertainty”, but the minute I heard the name, I thought to myself, “now THAT’S a weather term I can relate to”.

With all of our recent storm activity in the eastern United States, those hurricane tracking models and their “cones” have been a daily fixture on the weather reports.  “We think it might go here, but we’re not certain”.

I think I live in the “cone of uncertainty”.   I think I’m on a certain track, but I really have no idea where I’m going to land and what it will look like when I get there.  Uncertainty can make us anxious and worried and distracted.

But there’s something exciting and daring about NOT worrying about it.  There’s something exhilarating about staring it in the face and saying, “I’m not going to let you get to me”.

Go ahead.  Bring on your “cones of uncertainty”.  There’s one thing I am certain about.  My God is in charge of my tomorrow.  And no “cone” is going to change that.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…    Hebrews 6:19

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.  Psalm 62:6

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness.         Lamentations 3:22-23.

   
     

Hope

Isaiah 35 (from “the Message”)

Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower—
Like the crocus in spring, bursting into blossom,
   a symphony of song and color.
Mountain glories of Lebanon—a gift.
   Awesome Carmel, stunning Sharon—gifts.
God’s resplendent glory, fully on display.
   God awesome, God majestic.

Energize the limp hands,
   strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
   “Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
   on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
   He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”

Blind eyes will be opened,
   deaf ears unstopped,
Lame men and women will leap like deer,
   the voiceless break into song.
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness,
   streams flow in the desert.
Hot sands will become a cool oasis,
   thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
Even lowly jackals will have water to drink,
   and barren grasslands flourish richly.

There will be a highway
   called the Holy Road.
No one rude or rebellious
   is permitted on this road.
It’s for God’s people exclusively—
   impossible to get lost on this road.
   Not even fools can get lost on it.
No lions on this road,
   no dangerous wild animals—
Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.
   Only the redeemed will walk on it.
The people God has ransomed
   will come back on this road.
They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
   unfading halos of joy encircling their heads,
Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness
   as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.

Anxious

I woke up with a vague sense of anxiety yesterday morning. 

At first I thought it was because  it was 6:15 and I panicked thinking I was late getting up for work.  Then I realized it was Sunday and I had more time.  And then I realized the anxiety wasn’t going away.

Have you ever had one of those mornings where it takes you a few minutes of sleepy consciousness to remember why you’re feeling unsettled?

There’s been a lot going on in my life lately.  New challenges. Things I’m trying to sort out. Things I’m trying to manage on my own.  And they came to the forefront of my first waking moments.

I don’t like waking up that way.

But waking up that way was God’s way of drawing me closer to Himself.  He drew me out to my kitchen table, and then He drew me to Philippians 4:6.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. “

Really?  Try to find something to be thankful for in the midst of my uneasiness? Before I make my requests?  Despite my hesitation, I tried it.  I wrote down everything I could find to be thankful for about my particularly anxiety provoking situations. 

And you know what?  It worked.  It’s hard to be anxious when you’re counting your blessings.

The next verse says, “and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

It did indeed surpass understanding.  My circumstances didn’t change.  But my heart did.

Be anxious….for nothing. 

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Matthew 6:26

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

Chapter

“You know you’re from Montville when…”

There’s a  Facebook trend going on right now.  People create pages titled “You know you’re from (insert hometown name) when…”,  and then others who are from that place start reminiscing about their hometowns.  They remember teachers, hang-out places, events and friends.  I spent way too much time reading the one about my hometown in New Jersey the other day, reliving that chapter of my life.

chapter: a period of time or an episode in a person’s life, a nation’s history, etc.      (Oxford Dictionary)

Our lives really are a book, with periods of time and different episodes.  We can look back at the chapters already written, and wonder about the ones to come.  But I realized that we can’t read the one that’s happening right now.  We’ll have to wait to see its context, to see how it fits in with the rest of our story.

And that’s why it’s important to make it good.

I don’t want to make stupid mistakes or bad choices that set the tone for this chapter. No matter what happens in this one,  I don’t want it to have an underlying theme of faltering faith or complacency.  Even if this episode in my life turns out to be punctuated with disappointments or challenges or struggles, when I look back on it, I want to see steadfast hope and perseverance and joy.

I don’t know how or when this particular chapter will end.   Something might happen today that will suddenly close this chapter and start another one.  I won’t always have control over the events and the circumstances and the other characters in the story.

But I do have control over the main character. 

Her adventures and scenes and dramas may change, but her faith will not.

And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.  Psalm 139:16

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them.  So a book of remembrance was written before Him, for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.  Malachi 3:16

Does He not see my ways and count all my steps?  Job 31:4

Grownup

Yes, we were laughing at his expense.  But watching a 6 month old eat solid foods for the first time provided endless mealtimes of entertainment.

My nephew Noah is growing up. 

And he’s only beginning his journey.  His parents will keep giving him new things to try.  He’ll develop the skills and the abilities to eat much better things than watered down cereal and apricots out of a jar.  It will be a long process, but there will come a day when he’s ready to tackle real meat. 

I feel like I’ve been hanging out in the meat department lately.  Not literally (although give me a nice, rare steak and I’m happy), but in life’s meat department.  God has definitely moved me beyond the spiritual milk.  He’s giving me things I really need to chew on. 

And I realized that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  If I am a growing Christian, then I’m supposed to be tackling the meaty things, the things that aren’t spoon fed to me, the things that don’t always go down easily. 

I look at baby Noah and think about how simple his life is right now.  But I know I wouldn’t really want to go back to that kind of simple. 

Meat is more work than milk.  But it’s evidence of maturity and growth and progress. 

So, Lord, while it’s not always easy, keep bringing me the meat.  After the meat comes the dessert.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.   Hebrews 5:13-14

Whom will he teach knowledge?  And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk?   Isaiah 28:9

That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ.  Ephesians 4:14-15

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11