Monday, September 12, 2016
Skid Marks to Remind Me
Summer seemed longer this year, more oppressive, the air too heavy to inhale, mid-90's no matter whether Nashville or New York. We were all ready for fall by the end of July. Will the heat ever end?
A week or so ago when I opened the back porch door at dawn, a cool breeze welcomed me to the day. In the late night hours, September had crept in on its quiet little feet. I could breathe again.
I celebrated the changing of the seasons by going for an early run, audibly grateful to God for the coolness of the morning. Halfway through my run, I came to a section of level trail where I felt like I didn't need to be quite so careful. The path narrowed because of late summer foliage trespassing its boundaries. I was praying for a friend in the hospital. I was thinking about a million other things on my plate. I ran around a man walking his two dogs. I wasn't really paying attention, and that, my friend, is always a generous ingredient in the recipe for trouble.
Whomp! Down I went, skidding to a halt. If I had been a cartoon character, I would have had x's for eyes and stars rotating around my head. There was no one around. I rolled over and pulled myself to my feet. I couldn't just lay there, eating humble pie for breakfast. Nothing was obviously bruised but my pride, my clothes were covered in dust, and skid marks engraved both arms. There was no evident cause for my fall but a few small rocks hiding in the dirt, a couple of shadows, and my own inattentiveness.
What brings us down are not the huge boulders in our lives,
those big sins that we know we should avoid,
and watch out for,
but the slight crack in the pavement,
that bad attitude underlying my thoughts,
that lack of forgiveness I make excuses for,
that critical spirit that changes what I see,
those little innocent rocks
that just add to the scenery
and reach out to grab your shoe as you pass by.
I have skid marks on each arm to remind me.
As a pastor once said years ago,
(and I wrote down in the margin of my Bible),
"We live in a world where
careless Christians go under."
gird up your minds...
1 Peter 1. 13
I may not be able to prepare for all contingencies and hidden temptations, but I can avoid the obvious potholes. When I align my heart to God's, He will not just bring me through, but even help me with what I never see coming.
But as for me,
I will watch expectantly for the LORD,
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy.
Though I fall, I will rise.
Though I dwell in darkness,
the LORD is a light for me.
Micah 7. 7-8
And though I fall, I will rise again,
and a little more responsive to the path ahead of me.
I know that others are watching us,
to see how we respond in the hard places
when they come.
People are desperate to know
that this God that they have seen
living out in the everydays
is real in the crisis.
God did not say that the path will be easy,
but He promises,
"I am with you."
When he falls,
he will not be hurled headlong.
Because the LORD is the One
who holds his hand.
Psalm 37. 24