Saturday, December 24, 2011

"A Sword will pierce through your own soul"

This phrase is found in Luke's account of the Christmas story. The man Simeon says this to Mary.
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
(Luke 2:34-35 ESV)

Oddly enough this righteous man was waiting for the consolation of Israel and now seeing the Lord's Christ welcomed his own death. Simeon could now depart in peace. Death will come to each of us, but when dead takes someone from us, the pain is great. Where do we find comfort? The only comfort for me is in believing that God is good and God is sovereign. The sovereignty of God is something that I am just beginning to understand and I imagine that by the end of my own life, there will still be much mystery gone unsolved.

As a new mother Mary was warned of the coming heartache. Every mother will or has experienced the heart breaking at the news of their own child's suffering. My thoughts and prayers have gone out to a friend of mine who's 19 year old son died this week over and over again. Having our three children home together is all the more precious in light of this tragic news. We do not know the hour or the day that anyone of us will die. Even when we are given the word and we watch someone die it does not lessen the pain.

The joy of the season is in the shadow of the Cross and for many it is a very tough time and can be agonizing especially for people like my dear friend who is weighed down with grief and great sorrow. My heart and tears go out to her.

The greatest gifts this Christmas was showing up for life and being with other people, sharing the love of Christ, being in the fellowship of other believers, and remembering that Jesus Christ came humbly as a baby with his destination already in place in order to die that we might live.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Who's Directing traffic?

When I first started this blog (nearly 8 years ago) our children were journeying with us in this life along the pilgrim highway. The girls are in college now and our son will set out sometime in 2012. My thoughts about this journey called life are daily yet my writing is not - daily. It has been some time since I have reflected on the road thus far.

First of all, "the pilgrim highway" was the subtitle for this blog in its early stages because my husband became a traveling nurse and we set out on experiencing more of the United States with our children. In a physical sense we returned to our homeland of Massachusetts but in life's journey there are no U-turns. The highway keeps going, the scenery changes as we change and our children become adults and forge ahead and our parents grow old and slow down.

When I think about the comparison of the physical life and the spirit life, I keep seeing reflections. Coming into this world in the late 60's, I didn't ask to be born, I didn't choose my parents or where I would be born or the time that I would start out on this journey we call life. So it is with the spiritual life, I didn't choose the time or the place. It just so happens that I was 21 years old when Jesus changed the course and direction of my life. Jesus invaded my heart and I responded with gratitude to this outpouring of grace upon me, that Jesus would shed His own blood for the forgiveness of my sins. My freedom from sin had been bought by the precious blood of My LORD, the Holy and Perfect sacrifice required by the LORD Most High, the Holy God, my Heavenly Father who is the One who made The Way through His Son.
Our lives do not stop, they don't make U-turns and eventually life on the earth will come to an end. For those who are on the Pilgrim Highway en route to the Celestial City, life will never end we will only be changed. The thing is that during this life on earth we are traveling on both highways, our earthly life is like 128 which is a part of 95 from Canton or Norwood up to Peabody which is just a short stretch of 95 which runs from Maine to Florida. As the saying goes, "we are just passing through."
Life itself throws us road blocks, detours and traffic jams. At times we throw up our hands because none of it seems to be making any sense and we tire and maybe we just want to give up. These are not random acts of frustration to see how much we can take but these are our steps being directed by Some One greater who not only sees the beginning from the end but is the One who has laid out this road we are on. We have the choice of how we will respond. Whatever the obstacle is, it is usually something that we can't do anything about. It reminds me of a prayer I learned when I was 19 years old, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." So many things in this life we have absolutely no control over but our attitude, how we respond to those unmovables is completely up to us.
Who is directing traffic? Unless this is the first time you have read my blog then you know that I believe it is The Creator, the One Living God, Maker and Custodian of Heaven and Earth. He has set each and everyone of us on this highway and the thing that trips us up is that some of us are for noble and some for ignoble purposes. God is altogether Holy, Just, Loving, and Sovereign. (not a complete list of His attributes.) But as far as directing traffic goes, He is Sovereign and His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts Greater and more perfect than ours. We don't get it. However, I do believe that there is some things to help us accept what we indeed cannot change by getting to know God through His Word..
God has not only revealed Himself through His Word but He has preserved The Book, the Holy Bible. There have been times when men have tried to destroy the Bible and God has seen fit for it to be preserved. Extra time spent reading, studying, meditating and memorizing the Word of God is for this Christian not simply a discipline or to become a biblical scholar but for the sole purpose of getting to know God, who He is. And as I like to say my religious view is that I see through a mirror dimly. There is so much mystery, there are so many unanswered questions and so much more to see as I walk the Pilgrim Highway trusting that not only did God building the Road but that by the Holy Spirit He is walking with me and lately The Son, He has been carrying me.