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Monday, September 29, 2014

Run, hide - change is coming!

Every point of transition in our lives is an opportunity to leave a legacy of some kind.  It can be positive or negative, uplifting or kind of a bummer.  Either way, we leave some kind of legacy as we move from one point in our lives to another. When transitions occur, we have an opportunity to take them in stride, or we can go through them kicking and screaming all the way.  Transition is just a big word for change - moving from one position to another, passage from one state into another, etc.  The old adage certainly holds true - there is one constant in life and that is change.  Sometimes change doesn't come in easy, lulling waves, but in ominous, crashing ones.  When we face those times of transition which are a little frightening and overwhelming to us, we need to know we have an opportunity to not take them alone - Christ walks at our side, even leading the way so we have a clear pathway through even the most difficult of change.

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. The rich and the poor are all created by the Lord. When you see trouble coming, don’t be stupid and walk right into it—be smart and hide. (Proverbs 22:1-3 CEV)

A good reputation and respect go hand in hand, do they not?  Very seldom do we find anyone with a poor reputation that we can actually respect.  We might hear someone say they "respect" someone for being bold enough to stand up against the system, but in the end, the "repute" they have will be based on their rebellion, not their obedience!  How another "estimates" our worth or value is based on what they observe in our practice - good or bad, this is often the truth. We might think this is kind of sad since what someone may see might not fully represent who and what an individual is on the "inside".  I daresay this is often the case with my own actions - for sometimes they align well with what is at the core of my being, and at others they just go all askew and are totally out of character to the truth Christ dwells in me!

All of life is a journey from one point to another - enough of these smaller journeys and we form larger points of "transition" in our lives (such as when we move out of the house after graduation, or when we get married).  There are also points of transition which are almost thrust upon us and we have little to no control over their influence in our lives (such as the death of a spouse).  Either way, there is a plea given to us today in our passage to be "smart" about how we face these transition points.  We could go gang-busters on now being independent and make all kinds of wacky and not so reliable decisions which we would pay for later in life.  We could go deeply into despair and depression, finding it harder and harder to face each new day.  The range of possibilities are limitless - but the one constant we have in the midst of transition if Christ!

Change equals growth.  I have come to consider all of change as a matter of moving from one point of growth in my life to the next.  I could bemoan the next set of circumstances which will attempt to knock me on my hind end, or I could face them head-on with the power and grace only God can give.  The end result will be influenced by how we face the points of change.  It almost seems like our writer tells us to go somewhere and hide while transition is coming our way, but I want us to consider something a little closer to the point.  To ensure we face transition well, he is likely telling us to avoid the unwise choices, running instead into the place of safety we have in Christ Jesus.  After all, God is our hiding place, is he not?

In these Arizona storm seasons, we get high winds upwards to about 50 miles per hour or a little higher.  As you can well imagine, the Arizona desert is a little dry, so winds like this have a damage potential a little greater than in areas lush in green growth.  Trees are toppled by the handfuls, uprooted totally from their place of growth.  Why?  They don't have a deep root system - our soil is too hard and the evaporation factor when we do water doesn't allow for much more than what most would refer to as "surface watering".  So, when the strong winds blow, they topple easily.  We have to stake our trees, even when they appear to be strong enough to handle the winds, because their root system isn't strong enough to endure the force.

I wonder how we'd face the winds of change in our lives - are our roots deep enough to help us stand strong in the midst of their force?  If we want to know how deep our roots are we need only look as far as the soil in which they are planted.  Hardened hearts don't allow for deep roots.  Occasional watering (only going surface deep) of our hearts with a little of the Word of God once in a while is not enough to give us depth in our lives.  In fact, we will be deceiving ourselves if we think a little "taste" of God's Word is enough to help us endure the force of change in our lives!  We need good soil - in order to be made good, it has to be worked.  We need depth of watering - in order to get to the depths of our soul, we need to allow the time to be soaked in his presence and his Word.  Just sayin!