Scripture – 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
So often we are too full of what we think should be happening to us in our spiritual lives that we fail to notice what God is actually teaching us. We must be still enough, simple enough, humble enough, to let him plan the course, and use whatever opportunities there may be for our instruction. I think, too often, that as we progress in prayer, that everything will just become far more overtly holy. What it will become is simpler, more humble, and more actual.
St. Ambrose gave his congregation some very interesting advice. Using the old Christian symbol, he told his congregation in the stormy times in which they lived to act like fish swimming in the sea. To them he said, “Be a fish!” We need to learn how not to be swamped by the situations that we find ourselves in. We need to learn how to get through them with a minimum of damage and a maximum of profit.
One aspect of this learning is to simply get through situations and not always take them with us. There is a story told of two monks in Japan travelling down a muddy road together. A heavy rain was still falling when, coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross at the intersection. “Come on, girl,” said Tanzan. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido, his companion, did not speak until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and pretty ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan, “Are you still carrying her?”
We must learn to pass through situations like a fish, rather than carrying them all with us like a snail. We should and will certainly emerge with a little bit more experience of the world, but there is no need to carry more with us than we have to – each situation carries quite enough trouble with it by itself.
O God, I know all the words designed to comfort and assure. I am aware of your promise to stay close beside me, whatever the crisis that confronts me. But I am frightened, Lord, and I cannot evade my anxieties. Forgive me for my small faith and large doubts, O Lord, for finding it so difficult to trust you on the threshold of this fearful chapter in my life. Amen
Some things to be mindful of this week:
- We will be visited by the group “Sailing Free” from ENC this weekend. The High School, College and Career class will be hosting them Friday night, helping with Hammers for Hope (Habitat for Humanity) on Saturday and sharing their testimonies with us in DiscipleTown and in the service on Sunday.
- This Sunday’s Mission’s emphasis is World Mission Broadcast. $4.00 a minute will help us reach 99% of the world via radio, television and the internet. How many minutes will you buy?
- We are moving the service on Sunday July 4th to Sunday night 6pm due to the Antique Car Show. We will have service and then take time to enjoy a Sundae nite fellowship complete with ice cream and games.