Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Have you ever wondered why friendships seem that much deeper and virtually unbreakable when faith is the foundation? I've been marveling over this fact today as I've spent time with friends over this year and years past. I have the most authentic, beautiful and faithful friends. I really could end the blog right there.
I have a family of friends who would do anything for me. They would drive to wherever I am if I asked them and they would feed me and clothe me if I needed it. Matthew 25: 37-40 says "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Sanctified within each of my friends is the ability to recognize Jesus within me. This fact is such an encouragement to me because there were times in my past, and most certainly in my future, where I have not be able to recognize Jesus. God speaks through the eyes of those who look beyond the exterior, into the crevices of the soul. My friends are people such as this.
What saddens me is how easy it is for people in this society to slip into the trap and shut out the world and those that love them. They have been programmed to think that success is done alone. It is them against the world. The reason I feel as if I can dare to write about this is that I used to be that person. I could never let others in because I was so afraid of what might happen --> they might not like who I am. They would recognize how unworthy I am and how terrible my sin is.
I came to a crossroads in my life where I had to make a decision. I had to allow myself to get hurt and still not necessarily know the outcome or I could stay in a waiting room my whole life without any expectations. I chose the latter.
This choice does not come without challenges. I continue to stifle fear of pain and consciously decide to welcome the joys that come as the result.
Faith is not a feeling but a choice. I choose to have faith in my friends as they have in me. Why? Because that is exactly what Jesus does everyday. You see, these friendships are not just bilateral. There is a third party whose presence takes precedence over my friend’s and mine. Jesus’ proprietorship over friendships is the beginning and the end of what matters. This leads me to claim that not only do I have the best friends in the world, but in the heavens.
Once the ownership of a relationship is given over to God it becomes a source of empowerment rather than a continual letdown. You can find encouragement and raw humanity within them, which can reach into your own heart. You are uplifted by each other’s struggles because you know that each one is a vessel through which God can work.
I found this verse that I will end off with today. Psalm 121:7-8“The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” The Lord is alive in my friends, for they watch out for me. Their eyes are those of the Lord.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
This time was a bit different. I was alone and somewhat far from my house. I was using my brother's new bike and the brakes were in superb shape. I was trying to adjust my helmet when I realized I was approaching an intersection far too quickly, so my first impression was to squeeze the brakes with my left hand. Now, on this particular bike, the combination of good brakes and only engaging the front tires resulted in a head first approach to the pavement. I really didn't even have time to think about what had happened until I was lying on the ground. My arm hurt a little and all I remember thinking as 'PLEASE don't be broken, PLEASE don't be broken. Mom is going to KILL me-ANOTHER broken bone' (I've broken a few before...) or 'is James' bike okay? Did I ruin it?'
Fortunately, there were two men standing around the road who came over to help me. Minus a few layers of skin on my hands, elbows and knees, a nice bruise on my quad and a hurt ego, I am fine, and most importantly, the bike is without wear and tear.
I started thinking about my reaction to the accident and why my injuries didn't start to hurt until later. It wasn't until I got home did I really start to feel the collision with the ground. Of course, having spent years lifeguarding and much of my university career in science, I know the effects of shock and its intricate protective mechanism but I learned a good lesson.
I began to think over the connection between my upcoming journeys and my accident. Throughout the journey of deciding where to go and for how long, I've sought to include my family at every level. By no means would I ever consider otherwise when trying to figure out long term mission opportunities but my view of their position was limited. I realized that every action I take has an opposite reaction within the confines of my family.
This leads into the main point of this blog. How does one follow the will of God while at the same time remaining honouring to their parents and siblings? My parents have been beyond supportive in this journey but I wonder if the pain they are enduring, caused by my choices, is honouring them?
I am reminded of the verse in Matt where Mary weeps at the foot of the cross for her son. She knows that he is the Saviour of the world, but to her she is also his baby. As I try to put myself in Jesus shoes I would think that the last thing Jesus would want his mother to see is his suffering, but the other part of it was that she NEEDED to see it just like the rest of the world.
Let's get one thing straight, I am CERTAINLY not claiming to be Jesus but I like to think sometimes that my life is intricately linked to his own human experience.