As we spin with the world
The stars and particles
Swirling around us
Tides ebbing and flowing
The moon and the sun rising
We must command
To simply stop.
To simply be.
Breathe in the air
Not polluted by hurry
And breathe out the spirit
Of mercy and peace
By Anne Jackson
The first stop on Joseph’s journey was a pit-stop.
It was the pit into which his brother’s threw him because they were so angry and jealous of the love their father Jacob had for their brother. Their anger wasn’t eased by Joseph’s arrogant attitude in telling them that one day they would bow before him.
Anyway, all of this landed Joseph in a pit – pit of rejection and despair. Joseph’s dream had come to an end before it even began. Where was the purpose in this?
Have you ever felt that? Like you were at the end at the beginning. Like you were in a pit for no reason at all.
Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time a man was walking along and tripped and fell into a pit. It was so deep that he couldn’t possibly get out without help. Hours passed and a doctor came by the pit. He felt very sorry for the man. He wrote out a prescription and threw it into the pit and walked on.
The man was still stuck in the pit.
Another few hours passed and a priest walked up to the pit. He felt very sorry for the man. He wrote out a prayer and threw it into the pit and walked on.
The man was still stuck in the pit.
More time passed and the man’s friend walked up to the pit and he jumped in.
“Are you crazy?” The man exclaimed. “Now there’s two of us stuck down here.”
His friend calmly replied, “Don’t worry, I’ve been down this pit before and I know the way out.”
It’s simple really. The reason you are in your pit might not even be for you. The person beside you, the person coming after you will probably fall into the same pit and you can be the one to help them out because you were also in the pit.
Get a bigger perspective, it’s not all about you.
Lately I’ve been studying the life of Joseph so over the next few posts I’m going to be letting you in on some of the lesson’s I’ve learned.
Firstly the thing that struck me was that Joseph’s whole life was a journey. He knew his destination from the start – to rule over his brothers – but God knew that Joseph needed to go on a journey to make him the person he needed to be when he arrived at his destination. Joseph loved his destination but I’m sure there are times when he hated his journey.
I’ve been the same recently. God has given me a rough idea of my destination but he has shown me the journey it’s going to take to take to get there and I have to be honest and say that I’ve really struggled. I would love to say that I am like the traveller Michael Palin – seasoned and knowledgeable and willing for anything. But if truth be told I’m more of a Karl Pilkington – An Idiot Abroad. Sometimes I just don’t see the point of the journey and I refuse to yield to the process and so I don’t learn the lessons that the journey is teaching me.
On a practical level I have an awful sense of direction, thus I need a sat nav to get me anywhere. However the ironic thing is that I don’t trust the sat nav. Before I go anywhere, I will look at my destination on Google maps and street view and I’ll get my dad to give me directions. So I head out on the journey armed with all these resources. I’ll put the post code into the sat nav, purely as a back up measure. But the thing is I have an awful memory as well as an awful sense of direction – not a good combination when you are lost in the middle of Belfast – it is only when I am completely lost and causing a traffic jam that I then begin to trust the sat nav. Then it begins to lead me from the point of my lost-ness to the place where I’m meant to be. It doesn’t take me back to the start – it just leads me from where I am.
I treat God a bit like the sat nav. I know he’s there but I bring along all these back-up measures which inevitably fail me and it is only when I am at the point of despair that I turn to the One I should have trusted all along. But just like the sat nav he leads me from the point of my lost-ness. I don’t need to travel back to the place where I think I may be found. He just meets me where I am and leads me where I need to be.
We are on a journey and it is inevitable that we will get lost at some point, for whatever reason. Sometimes its because we are looking so far ahead into the distance at our destination that we lose the next step. Sometimes its because we think we know better the sort cuts we took ended up making the journey longer. Sometimes it’s because the journey has led us to a place so unfamiliar and we are so terrified that we refuse to take one more step so he has to come down and lead us from our fear into the place of his peace.
For whatever reason you are lost, take hope, if you are an Idiot Abroad like me – be assured that we serve a patient and loving God who ‘came to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10).
Redemption is a line of demarcation.
There’s guilt and forgiveness
There’s bondage and freedom
There’s rejection and acceptance
There’s lies and truth
There’s fear and peace
There’s dark and light
There’s night and day
There’s shame and beauty
There’s death and life
There’s sin and redemption
There’s before and after
There’s a line that you step over. It’s instant. There’s no grey area.
There’s no ‘no mans land’ where you fight the enemy and sometimes he wins and sometimes you win – but it’s all such a struggle.
There’s war and peace.
So lay down your arms. No more need to fight.
God has declared, “It is finished.”
the most important words I’ve ever said.
have you said them? if not, you really should. you’ll be amazed at what happens…
…when I see your face
…when I feel your embrace
…when I will know as I am known
I cannot wait for that day.
I live with a holy dissatisfaction
With a divine frustration
Until I see the One I love,
The One who loves me just as I am in the middle of this earthly mess
The One whose love will carry me through to that place
…where my soul will be satisfied.