Sunday, April 29, 2012
It is a process!!!
How many of you understand the meaning of life?
Oh I know what the church has traditional say… “to love God and enjoy God forever”
But do you understand the meaning of YOUR life?
Do you know what you are here to do?
Where you are headed?
What God has in mind for you? Specifically ?
There is a story about a person who wants to figure what life is all about. He has heard that the wisest guru in all of India lives atop India's highest mountain, so the seeker tracks over a hill in Delhi until he reaches the fabled mountain. It's incredibly steep, and more than once, he slips and falls. By the time he reaches the top, he's full of cuts and bruises. But there's the guru, sitting cross-legged in front of his cave.
Oh, wise guru, the seeker says, I have come to ask you what the secret of life is. Ah, yes, the secret of life, the guru says. The secret of life is a teacup. A teacup? I came all the way up here to find the meaning of life and you tell me it's a teacup? The guru shrugs, so maybe it isn't a teacup
Many times we resign ourselves to the fact that we might not get certainty
So then we go to sayings like this…
I know I am not who I want to be
But thank God I am not who I used to be
Comforting ourselves with the fact that perhaps we have learned some lessons along the way…..
And there is truth in that…
I usually think about it this way…
I don’t know what the heck just happened!
I have no idea what is going on
And I don’t have a clue where I am going…. But I am hopeful!!!
The good news is that I can be hopeful
We can all be hopeful
If you are not too sure about that, well think about from the early life of Moses in Exodus 2.
One thing that is very clear from the life of Moses: when God is working with us, to get us where we need to be
To get us where we need to go
To get the job done, it is a process!
A wonder, crazy, confusing, but grace full and hope full process
What a weird, twisted process it was…
First the birth
Then the rescue
Then… life as a prince
Smooth sailing, right?
The twist comes, Moses knows his origins, he knows he is a Hebrew
He sees the oppression of his people
And -- it eats at his heart to the point he can’t control himself.
And suddenly we have an act of violence. Moses kills……
And things start heading a whole new direction.
But we have to note… the process started when the princess picked Moses out of the river.
He had time as a prince… quite a bit of time. And In that time he learned some things
He learned to be a person of authority,
Perhaps learned some leadership skills
But it is clear he also learned to think of himself as “a power”
As a person who could do what he wanted
Reminds me of some professional athletes in our time….
So he kills the guard
But then he gets ratted out by his own people, and has to flee
Off he goes, into the deser!
Surely the process is off track, right? Maybe.
But god is working, working
So there he is in the desert
Meets the women at the well
And ends up connected to a bunch of nomads
Probably not Jewish at all. Not if the names are any indication!
In fact they were Bedouins… Arabs… hmmm
Not necessarily what we would have expected. But there he is
And he taken by these people, Into their family
So there he is, part of a Bedouin family with what?
Six sister-in-laws… Now that is something.
Can you imagine?
I have to believe that one of the things Moses learned here was humility J
But I also believe he learned how to live, how to survive in the desert as a Bedouin
So now he has some humility
Mixed with his pride
He has leadership and an understanding of power, and its limits
But also a knowledge of how it is to live in the desert
As a Bedouin
See anything here that might come in handy as one leads the people of Israel into the wilderness?
I can correlate this story with my story
I started out as an English/Philosophy major at Whitman. Not a very useful degree, to be honest,
But I learned, how to read, to interpret, and to write, to express
That was very useful, in seminary and in my work as a minister…. So many tools gained and lessons learned….
And for a while my story just rolled along. Seemed on track!
But then I had my Moses and the guard moment
I blew it
So there I am in the desert. Feeling pretty lost. What do I do now?
But I find myself working at NW Medical Teams
Not only does my ministry stuff come in handy, because I am asked to recruit and work with volunteers
But time spent learning to be an EMT when I was in my first church now comes into play
So suddenly there I am, working with international disaster relief work….
Earlier parts of my story helped me in this new part of my story
Then there I am at OHSU. Lessons learned from ministry and NW Medical Teams enable me to be a part of the faculty there for 10 plus years. And write a book on Healthcare and Spirituality. Cool.
God seems to know what God is doing…..
Then, tired of the city I come out here
And I get the chance, because of skills learned as a minister, at NW Medical, at OHSU, to be a part of Wallowa Valley Mental Health, which is now the Center for Wellness….
It’s a process
When God works in our lives
Sometimes I think we expect things to
Presto, chango…. Its all done
Clear journey from A to Z
It’s a process.
Its one step at a time
Its following the breadcrumbs…
It is a matter, as we saw last week
Of God taking whatever is there
And whatever has been
Good bad or indifferent…
And moving us forward….
God can use whatever is there, whatever happens
Whatever choices we make, even our mistakes
To fulfill his intention for our lives…..
Think about your life
God has been busy leveraging all kinds of things in your life
Taking them and using them, whether you knew it or not
To move you forward……
But it is always a mystery I think. You think you are on the way… then wham
Everything falls apart.
You think you have the answers, then suddenly you don’t
You think you have totally blown it, but God takes the pieces, puts them back together, and uses them to move you on to the next thing.
That is the way it is with God
So I guess the question always is this….
What is next?
What is God preparing me for?
What is happening right now, for good or ill
That God is going to leverage, into the next ‘new thing in my life?
What is that next step God is going to ask me to take?
You may think you have it all figured out, and in fact you may have your life planned for the next ten years. Don’t be so sure that plan is going to play out.
You may think you don’t have a clue. You may think your life has fallen apart, and there is no next step. Don’t be so sure.
The main thing is to keep the faith.
Keep looking to God
Keep looking for the breadcrumbs
Keep looking for the next right choice
The next step….
And God will shape your future
And get you were he needs you to be
With the tools you need
To do the task to which you are called.