Sunday, May 4, 2008

...the "in-between times"


we had a visit from "our bishop" today...

[I'll leave it to other more erudite minds...
to deal with all the fallout...
from the ECUSA/Diocese of SJ situation...]

I have always enjoyed his sermons...
and today's, was no exception...

there is an old Chinese curse...
"may you live in interesting times..."

Charles Dickens began his novel, "A Tale of Two Cities"...
with the lines...
"it was the best of times...
it was the worst of times..."

today, Bishop Schofield spoke about...
"the in-between times..."

he began by speaking of 5 points that he gleaned
from the writings of an early 20th century
Dutch Reformed pastor...

as a young man, he had been so impressed
by the sincerity and simplicity of the message...
that he had copied the 5 points
inside the front cover
of his Bible...

[disclaimer : the 5 points are as I remember them....
I didn't take notes...
the "extrapolations"... are mine...]

point 1....
"God loves you...and has a plan for your life..."

[hummm... sounds like the 1st of
"the 4 Spiritual Laws" doesn't it ? ...]

people who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord...
and ask Him to heal their brokenness...
accept His death as ransom for their sins...
and accept the gift of eternal life...
must believe this basic tenant of the Christian faith...

they accept and believe in God's love...
and surrender control of their life, to Him...
because... they believe ...
that He has THE plan for them...

if you believe that God loves you...
then you believe that He will guide you...
because He knows your best way...

point 2...
if you believe point 1... then you MUST believe...
that everything happens to further God's plan for you...
this is also known as,"everything happens for a reason"...
though that is skewed to a more secular viewpoint...

so if everything that happens to a believer...
happens to "further God's plan for him"...
then we must gladly accept ALL things...
and grow as we are directed by God...



point 3...
if you believe points 1 & 2...
then you must do NOTHING...
to disengage yourself from the "situation"...
until the "lesson is learned"...
the "change is made"...
or the "task accomplished..."

if you "work" your way out of the "situation"...
on your own...without accomplishing God's purpose...
you will probably soon find yourself "right back in it"...



point 4...
God will keep you in the same situation...
["going around that mountain..."]
or keep putting you back into it...
until the "lesson is learned..."
the "changes are made..."
the "task is complete..."

point 5...
if you want to "move on"....
learn fast...
or you will be "stuck" in point 4...
ad infinitum...

point 1... is wonderful...
point 2 can be both wonderful...
or devastating...
points 3, 4 & 5... are the "in-between times"...
there may be pain, confusion, frustration, hopelessness...
for you are "in-between" the baby stage...
and the "bearing much fruit" stage...

most of us get stuck... somewhere in point 3...
we can believe in God's loving plan...
we can accept that He can make...
"all things work together for our good..."

but then..."stuff happens.."

and we are right there... taking back control...

"FIXING" whatever situation we've found ourselves in...
though OUR understanding...
using OUR powers...
following OUR PLAN...

the results may not be catastrophic...
our world may not collapse in rubble...
we may even be "relatively happy"...

BUT...

it's NOT His plan for us...

who among us would choose to eat junk food...
if a customized feast...with all the very best...
was prepared... JUST for them...
by a loved one ?

as someone who has "dropped out of the program"...
around point 3...
MANY times before...
"trying to do it on your own"...
doesn't lead you to peace...

only Jesus...
and His way of "stay the course" ...
brings you peace...

the key here... is to learn to "abide"...
to spend enough time with the "God in 3 Persons"...
so that you will hear Him speak...
you will listen to His plan...
and will follow His will for you...
joyfully...

there are generally instructions...
sometimes... with pictures...
and NOT in Japanese...
you must LOOK for them...

but sometimes...
perhaps... even, often...
the "in-between times"...
are times of waiting...

think of training your dog...
you put the treat on the top of his muzzle...
he needs to sit, quietly...
waiting for you to release him from the discipline...

THEN... he can enjoy the treat you have
so lovingly prepared...

so, let us move closer to the God who made everything...
let us accept all His good gifts for us...
let us allow His loving plans for our lives to unfold...
in His way... in His time...

may we learn of Him...
and grow more like Him...
day by day...

and may we "learn quickly"...


2 comments:

Loretta said...

I am afraid I am completely no good at this progression and stuck in #3. I cannot embrace a point of view that would leave my husband in such pain over so much of his life as being God's will. I suppose he or I have not learned what we are supposed to from this. I prefer to believe in a God that will answer prayers. I've had enough of this inbetween time!

catsinger said...

...I've often felt this way too...but when I can "move" past #3...it is glorious...
I've discovered that our re-taking control often causes all the pain we attribute to God's will.. it wasn't Him... merely us... doing our will...not the same thing at all...
but still...we do it anyway...
I wish I was a faster, better "learner"...