Friday, February 26, 2010

The Wind is Not a River

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans

“This too shall pass…”

During the time of the second World War, there was an unusual mix of progress and antiquity in the Aleutian Islands. The native people had been learning the new ways, while still trying to retain some of the old ways of living off the land. It was a difficult time for many, and a precious old saying bore new meaning. For Sasan and her brother Sidak, newly orphaned and having just weathered a terrible storm, the meaning of the saying went even deeper.

…when Sidak mentioned he was hungry, Sasan put out on the table the smoked fish she had brought along. As they sat silently in the gathering darkness eating the fish, Sasan saw a look of sadness come over her brother’s face. She asked, ‘Do you remember what Grandmother always used to say when we were unhappy or in pain?’

“Yes,” Sidak answered, “she used to say, ‘The wind is not a river.’”

Sasan said, “Yes, it is true. The sadness we feel today, like the wind in the storm we just passed through, must also pass away.” As she said these words, she tried hard not to show the pain and sadness in her own heart.

---The Wind is not a River, by Arnold A. Griese

Sasan and Sidak were learning a truth we often need reminded of ourselves. The wind is not a river. Our difficulty and trials we go through here in this life will pass away, and be quickly forgotten in the joy and rapture of the wonders of Heaven. Our trials will one day pass.

In this life, also, we find that the trials of life are temporary. Not only in Heaven will the children of God realize the difficulties will not last forever, but we find that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, sunshine after the rain, and morning after midnight.

Recently, we had a number of problems with our motorhome. Actually, it was an unreal amount of problems! It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Everything that could break, broke! And then the motorhome got stuck in the sand, and sickness swept through the family. It seemed like just too much. But, almost as quickly as the troubles came, they passed. The ill ones recovered, a kind man (with a very big truck) pulled our motorhome out of the sand, and we were able to get almost all of the things fixed. Our problems passed.

Just as Sasan and Sidak remembered the words of their loving grandmother, let’s try to remember that our troubles, though they seem to be so vast and so difficult, will one day pass.

“The Wind is not a River.”

Monday, February 22, 2010

Captain's Orders!

‘“First of all, I do not want you to give in to the pressure of the moment. Whenever you’re hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day. Then, if you’re still feeling bad, think about it long and hard before you decide to quit. Second, take it one day at a time. One evolution at a time.“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t startplanning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day, and there’s a wonderful career ahead of you.”

This was Captain Maguire, a man who would one day serve as deputycommander of the U.S. Special Operations in Pacific Command (COMPAC). With his twin-eagles insignia glinting on his collar, Captain Maguire instilled in us the knowledge of what really counted.’

---Marcus Lutrell, Lone Survivor

When my son came across those words while reading the book aloud to the family, he might as well have jumped up, got in my face, and yelled, because my spoon froze in midair over the large bowl of carmel popcorn. Immediately my mind began racing to something our Lord said in Matthew: “Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow takes thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I know my son read more, because I saw his lips move and I heard his voice, but for me, I was stuck on those wise words from the Captain.
My day begins the instant my alarm sounds. Those four beeps (and all the subsequent ones, if I don’t heed the first four!), signal the beginning of a new, jam-packed day. My “to-do” list can be unbelievably long, sometimes entirely unrealistically huge. With several loads of laundry a day (that’s a normal day; when someone is sick, it increases dramatically), several students to teach and others to moniter, meals, cleanup, etc., I’ve got my hands terribly full. Add a bit of ministry and some travelling to the mix, and you’ve got a very daunting schedule.

If I tried to take the whole week on at once, I might as well go right back to bed. It would be an impossible task, one I wouldn’t even want to consider. But my Lord does not expect me to take on the whole week at once; He only asks that I take one day at a time. Perhaps even one step at a time.

I jog about two miles four or five days a week, but it is no picnic for me. I picked it up a little over ten months ago, and It’s still very hard work. Many days, I don’t feel like running at all, and many times I am ready to give up halfway through. It is during those times that I concentrate on my stride. I take one step at a time, one breath at a time. That way, and some days it’s only that way, I am able to finish.

“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day…”

When life seems steep, concentrate on one step at a time: it's Captain's Orders!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Identifying Areas of Weakness

In our motorhome, we have cabinets above both “living room” windows. Since we spend long periods of time in our bus, on the order of months, our cabinets are pretty well loaded. Thankfully, each of these cabinets is equipped with a latch, designed to keep our debris in the cabinets and off of our heads. All of the cabinets, that is, except one. Unfortunately, that one cabinet is the one that houses our pots and pans.

Somehow the screws holding the latch became loose over time, and now the dumb thing needs to be personally put into position in order for it to latch at all. This works most of the time, as I am the one who makes sure it gets done…as long as I am available. Every once in awhile, it doesn’t get done, and I’m sure you can imagine the excitement that occurs when someone sees an errant pot poised to leap out on some unsuspecting victim.

The latch is the cabinet’s area of weakness.

Of course, it stands to reason that the right course of action would be to identify the area of weakness and correct it using another latch. That, however, is easier said than done, considering the uniqueness of the latch, and also considering that there are a number of more pressing items that need worked on first. And so, the latch will wait for awhile.
Now, remember my last post? The one on The Real Battle, and how it is in the mind? Let me once again quote from one of the Navy SEAL instructors:

“…the real battle is won in the mind. It’s won by guys who understand their
areas of weakness, who sit and think about it, plotting and planning to improve.
Attending to the detail. Work on their weaknesses and overcome them. Because
they can.”

One of the most important things to do in the Christian life is to grow, and continue to become more like our Saviour. Growth involves change, and we will never change unless we are dissatisfied with how things are going now. As long as we are satisfied with the status quo, we will never change, but as we realize our trouble spots, we can begin to see growth.

Many times we only notice that the cabinet is not latched when we are on the road. The bumps and bounces of the rough road push the pots against the latch, and its weakness becomes apparent. The same way, our weaknesses become readily apparent when we go through a trial. The bumps and bounces of life rattle us, and our weaknesses become quickly obvious.

Just like with the latch, the best course of action is to find the area of weakness and correct it. As ladies, we should examine ourselves and seek to improve. It’s a battle won in the mind. We should take some time to think and pray about how we can improve. We can work on our weaknesses and overcome them…because we can!

What are your areas of weakness? Consider how you can improve physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Take just a few minutes to examine your life to see whether you could take a step, perhaps just one small step, to get better. Identify your areas of weakness, and ask God to help you.

Because you can!