II CORINTHIANS 4:8-12: “In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. We’re persecuted, but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured, but we’re not killed. We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies. While we are alive, we are constantly handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our mortal nature. Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Welcome to “Reality”! These are the words that screamed loudly in my mind over the past several days. My wife and I had just enjoyed 8 wonderful days in Hawaii celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Everything went wonderfully during this trip. We were blessed beyond measure as we greeted the beautiful Napili Bay (Maui) each morning and had the awesome opportunity to snorkel with the Honu (sea turtles)! Everything was going so wonderfully – until the journey home. It has been a comedy of unfortunate events since, and these words from the Apostle Paul have never been more relevant to me than they are today.
To begin with, our plane returning from Hawaii was 5 1/2 hours delayed. This put us in LAX at 2:00 AM, and by the time we got to the hotel and to bed it was 3:00 AM. With less than 4 hours sleep we got up to travel back to Dallas. We were glad to get home, but to be honest we were not prepared for the jet lag. Adding the delays and lack of sleep, we both looked and acted like we were trying out for a starring role in the “Walking Dead”. Facing Monday morning and going back to work was not fun, but life goes on. We both started our regular routine, and I prepared for a trip to Nashville to call on a major account. With the events that followed – “Reality” suddenly came rushing in like a flood!
The day before I left for Nashville I was working at the church catching up on administrative tasks. I frequently push one office chair aside and do a “Michael J. Fox” routine from “Family Ties”, of sliding back and forth in the chair from one side of the office to the other. Well, I don’t think this “slide” is meant for someone who is no longer in their teens. However it happened, the office chair suddenly flew out from underneath me. Suddenly both the chair and I were airborne, flew up, and then like Newton’s Apple…(you guessed it)…came crashing down. I thought I just bruised my arm, so I carried on, just shaking it off. The next day I was up and on my way to the airport for my trip. So far so good.
As I walked to the gate I noticed that my left knee was getting stiff and sore. I did not think I had done anything to my knee, but by the time I got to Nashville I could hardly move it. My plane landed at the farthest gate from the ground transportation exit, and my car was in the farthest corner of the rental yard. By the time I got to the car my knee was the size of a grapefruit. Then leaving the airport a severe thunderstorm hit. I was traveling along Interstate 65 heading to my hotel – when it happened! I took my eyes off the road for just a moment, then looking up – the traffic had suddenly stopped! I tried to stop, but my car simply slid on a thin curtain of water until….”Crash”…I rear ended a Corvette! There was no apparent damage to the Corvette, which surprised me, but the front end of my Hyundai was folded and the grill was gone. After waiting almost an hour for the police to arrive and write a report, I finally made it to the hotel room. I was able to put some ice on my knee while I made the necessary insurance calls and all the stuff that goes with it. Oh, and I had to settle for some Burger King instead of the White Castle Hamburger I had my heart set on.
So, am I sharing all this to garner sympathy? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am sharing this to let you know that “REALITY” happens to everyone. I had done my devotions in the morning. I had spent time in prayer. And still all this stuff happened. Yet, in it all I knew that the Lord was with me. I did not get discouraged. I knew that even if these were attacks by the enemy I would emerge victorious. We all have trouble – but in Christ we are not crushed! We all get frustrated – but in Christ we don’t give up! We all experience persecution – yet Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us! And all the junk that we experience in life – through Jesus Christ it is REDEEMED and TRANSFORMED by His Grace and Mercy! In fact, when we are pressed and tried we are also positioned to be greatly blessed and comforted. So even though “Reality” sometimes is not so much fun, God’s Grace is always present to uphold us, strengthen us, and see us through!
So, as I sit on my plane headed back to Texas – I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds!
The first part has truly been a hoot! Woo Hoo!
- “Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15 GW)
In Jesus Name!