Will you be happy in that little place in the mountains?
A friend of mine put a picture of a rustic little house in the mountains on Facebook. The little place could have sprung straight from a Thomas Kinkaide or Currier and Ives type photo.
And I could see myself living there, walking around all day wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt, chopping wood, killing squirrels (bears are too mean) and living life as it was meant to be lived.
It makes you kind of weepy just thinking about it.
Only problem is: I’ve found that rustic places are often more fun to look at than to live in.
When we lived in Luxembourg, I preached regularly in Reims, France, a bit over a hundred miles away. Often as I passed through the country side I saw this rustic village down from the main road and I thought how wonderful it would be to live there.
One day I decided to take a detour and look at my idyllic village up close. It was dirty, run down and neglected. It was more “rusty” than “rustic.” Disappointment and a bit of disgust filled me.
Another time my wife and I were winding along, following the Moselle river valley in Germany. The little villages looked like they sprang out of the Middle Ages. I told my wife, “I’ll bet everyone who lives here is happy with no problems at all.”
I imagined a kind of “Little House On the Prairie” in the west part of Germany. You know what? That kind of heaven doesn’t exist on earth. We get whiffs, flashes and foretastes of eternity but then we go back into life to deal with things.
Because life is full of things–good and bad.
“But there must be some people who don’t have these frustrating problems all the time,” you think. “It’s probably the pastor. He’s more spiritual than everyone so he probably walks around in a heaven bubble. No problems. No doubts. No temptations. No faults.”
You want to know the truth? Sometimes the pastor battles even more than others. God had a way of making his prophets go through things in the Old Testament so that they could make a parallel of their experience to the people they ministered to. I think He does the same with his pastors.
If you pastor is preaching on fiery trials this week pray for him. He may be bringing you a word forged in a fire he’s living.
We have to learn to deal with less than heaven on earth. It’s not bad. Jesus promised us an abundant life. It’s just that an abundant life is rarely an easy life, not if you’re going forward anyway.
There are places where everything stays perfectly in place and everyone keeps perfect order. Who wants to live in a cemetery, though?
So we go forward, dealing with rusty as much as rustic, rejoicing in battles that lend abundance to life, thanking God for His blessings, knowing that the heavenly Kingdom that God has prepared for those who love Him is a thousand times better than any Thomas Kinkade painting.
Romans 8:28, NIV “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Ephesians 3: 17-19, NIV, “… that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Have a Think—
Quitting is leading too. –Nelson Mandela
After climbing a great hill, one finds that there are many more hills to climb. –Nelson Mandela
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
Errors in church newletters.
1. The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
2. The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”
3. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Nelson’s sermons.
4. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
Here’s a good article that I read this week: The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War (http://carm.org/religion-cause-war)