Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life in a Fog (C)

Driving to work this morning my progress was slowed, hindered, and made more dangerous by fog. Fog is literally a cloud sitting on the ground; its density reducing the visibility of those caught in its midst. Within the fog are hidden dangers. We cannot avoid what we cannot see; likewise we cannot run to that good thing that is hidden from our view.

While driving through this physical fog I was reminded of the spiritual or mental fog we can sometimes get caught in. Our minds can become foggy; we can’t think or ‘see’ things clearly. The busyness of life can fog our minds; distractedness steals our vision. While the fog of our mind is present we are exposed to hidden dangers. We act without thinking clearly or sometimes thinking at all and we make wrong choices. Other times good things pass us by as our vision is clouded. We aren’t even aware of what we’ve missed as we go about life ‘in a fog’.

As my 2 hour trip approached its completion the bright and morning star made an appearance and the fog cleared. We have our own bright and Morning Star that is always available to help us see things clearly revealing the truth of what is ahead. When we focus on our Savior, the Son shines brightly in our lives casting out darkness and fog. With Him “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” Luke 12:2. If we rely on Jesus He will put his hands on our eyes and like the man in Mark 8:25 we can have eyes opened, sight restored, and see everything clearly. Today let our fog be lifted and let us receive that good thing He is waiting to bestow on us.

By Liz Hall

Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Monday, September 12, 2011

See Saw(C)

By Liz Hall
My work office has once again been moved.  For those of us that work in corporate America we know that there is no such thing as permanence anymore.  Gone are the days when you work for a company straight out of college and retire from the same company 30 to 40 years later.  These days it seems that even the very office space that you occupy is subject to repeated relocations depending on company re-structuring, leasing of new office space and on and on.  And so, my office has been moved.  It is now deep inside a building once occupied by ESPN, far down a narrow hallway and further still from any kind of discernible cell phone service.  This later issue troubles me a bit.  I often have missed calls from people I need to talk to.  I was attempting to make a call recently and meandered to the end the building near an emergency exit door just to get a couple of bars on my cell.  Waiting for a connection, I decided to sit on a stray conference table left in the hall.  Here is where the situation becomes interesting.  Apparently, I sat at the very end of this long table but did not realize that the legs were closer to the middle of the table rather than the end.  As the connection came and the phone started to ring I was suddenly in motion.  I was going down as the opposite end of the table went up!  Plop!  My would-be table seat became a singularly occupied See Saw and I hit the floor.  For a moment, life seemed turned upside down.
Have you ever had your life turned upside down?  That’s a loaded question I know and many will say ‘Oh sure, I know exactly what you’re talking about, I’ve been there’.  In today’s economy and high unemployment rate many have had life as they know it completely altered.  In 2003 I lost my job of 16 years and was out of work for 2 ½ years.  As a single, working Mom things for us changed to say the least.  In hindsight I consider myself lucky.  That was before unemployment was the crisis that it is today and eventually I rejoined the work force.  Natural disasters have recently paid an unpleasant visit to the Northeast.  Tornados in Massachusetts, earthquakes felt from Ohio to Canada, hurricane Irene battering the Carolinas to Vermont and flooding in the weeks to follow due to additional tropical weather.  Sometimes these things are forecasted and we heed the warnings and prepare.  Sometimes there is no warning.  From unemployment to loss of electrical power our comfort zones are removed and it feels as though life has been turned upside down.  And yet, when we finally get that job or when the power is eventually restored, the recovery process continues.  The cost can take years to overcome.
This business of having life turned upside down is not new.  Those who followed Christ and were witness to his life, death and resurrection were accused of this very thing!  Turning the world upside down!  In the 17th chapter of Acts when Paul was in Thessalonica preaching that Jesus was the Christ, unconvinced Jews caused a riot and claimed “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.  Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus”  Acts 17:6.  The Jewish people seemed surprised, yet the coming of Christ was foretold. 
And so I suggest that sometimes having our world turned upside down is a good thing.  It is often in retrospect that we realize the gift of what having gone through an unsettling time is.  I lost my job, but I gained perspective and learned not to lean on my own understanding.  I was encouraged and supported by family, friends and a community of believers.  I was humbled at a community food bank and that’s a good thing.  My faith was strengthened as I comforted others who worried about my ability to raise my family and pay my bills.  My son was 13 at the time and he finally got to go to a skate camp that had previously not fit into my work schedule.    I worried less about the whys and focused more on being thankful.  I can look back and say that what I gained during that time far outweighed what I lost.  The benefit outweighed the cost.  I can’t say I look forward to the next bump in the road, the next time life is turned upside down, but I don’t fear it either.  After all, I have been warned…tribulations will come, but I believe in the One who has overcome the world and He is always with me reminding me to be encouraged and of good cheer.