Friday, April 20, 2012

Time flies

Ever heard the phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun”?  Well often, time just flies.  Watching the seniors lead our chapel this past week and listening to some of them make statements like, “This has gone by really fast,” and, “Where has all the time has gone?” make us all realize that time waits for no one.  And that can be really scary.

Whether you are approaching the end of your time here at Olivet, or finishing your freshman year, you might find yourself reflecting on questions like those above.  Finishing can cause us to reflect, evaluate, and for some, wish we could have a do-over.  But you already know that can’t be done.

Now, I’m not a believer in living in fear, or wishing away today in hope for a better tomorrow.  We can spend our lives not being able to make any decision, worried it might be the wrong one, or wishing away every moment of every day.  But there is another way.

We are told in Matthew 6 not to worry about tomorrow — easier said than done.  Jesus goes on to say, “So let me tell you: don’t worry about your life — what to eat, what to drink; don’t worry about your body — what to wear. There’s more to life than food!  There’s more to the body than a suit of clothes.  Have a good look at the birds in the sky…And why worry about what to wear? Take a tip from the lilies in the countryside.” Matt. 6:25-26, 28 KNT

He goes on to say that we are to make his Kingdom priority, and when we do that, everything else takes care of itself.  So what can we know about the time we find ourselves in?  I believe that if we are making God’s Kingdom priority, we can move with confidence into our futures, knowing that God is in it with us.  The things that have happened to this point in our lives can be used by God for His glory.  He can redeem, and He can restore.  He doesn’t play games with our lives.  He knows what we need, right now. Period.

So I’m praying for you as you finish this semester.  I’m praying, of course, that you finish well — that you get that paper done, do well on that test, and finish your reading.  I’m also praying that you get a sense that God is with you, that He knows, and that He is even now preparing you for what’s next. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The tension of the now and the not yet

I remember growing up. (We’ve talked about that a little this semester, and I guess for some, my “growing up” is open for debate.)  But, I do remember growing up.  One of the things I remember about it is always longing for what was coming.  I couldn’t wait for the next thing.  There certainly had to be something better than what this day was bringing, so let’s get on with this thing called life.  Not sure if you were like me, but it’s easy to find yourself wondering how the next phase of your life will look.

For instance, I remember the anticipation of my first day of school.  I rode our bus, which was a white station wagon carrying 13 students — far from legal!  First days of school are a big deal, especially when riding with 13 kids jam-packed in a station wagon made to seat nine.  But it didn’t end there.  I also couldn’t wait for junior high (still not sure why), then high school, the day I could drive, my first real date, graduation from high school, college, my second real date, graduation from college, my wedding, having kids, watching my kids grow up, my kids getting married, and now having kids of their own.  If you’re not careful, you can wish your entire life away.

When you get to be my age, you realize that you do this in big chunks, but we all do it in little ones too.  I play games almost every day — counting the minutes until the next meeting, class, lunch, until I can go home, until the game, until the news — only to find that the day is over. And at times, I’m not sure what I’ve done with it.

It makes me wonder why we do this.  What is it we’re moving toward?  What is it we’re longing for?  What is it we’re hoping for?  Where does this gaze into the future come from?  Everyone does it.  So what is going on?

This week, I’ve found myself thinking about that very subject.  This is the week we live in the tension of the now (what we have and are experiencing); and the not yet (things we long and hope for).  Where did that come from?                                                                                                                                            

I think for those calling themselves followers of Jesus, it was birthed this week almost 2000 years ago, when Jesus struggled with the same thing — the now and the not yet.  It was at the heart of the prayer in the garden.  It was felt in his abandonment and betrayal.  It culminates in the change that would take place from Friday to Sunday — the suffering Servant and the resurrected King; the man and the God.  It’s the tension of the now and the yet to be.

This is the week that sets us all up.  This is where the seed was planted for the longing.  This is why we hope, dream, die and live. This is why we are passionate and sacrificial, and why we are star gazers and other-world folk.  The resurrection makes us think about things we don’t see, longing for a day that is better than this one.

This Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, let’s live into the hope that is provided for us in our resurrected Lord.  He is not dead!  In the midst of hunger, pain, sorrow, neglect, abuse, and sin, He gives us HOPE.  It’s what his humanity and his death was about. He knows the depth of our sorrow and pain.  But it’s also what His resurrection was about, because he provides a way through.  It is good news, the best news, our hope.

He is risen. . .