Friday, September 22, 2017

Contentment and Happy Fall (or is it Merry Autumn?)

20170922_085345 (960x1280)I have learned the secret of being content in whatever situation I am in. Umm, that is not me speaking. That is Paul in Philippians. I would need to change the tense to a progressive present: I am learning to be content in whatever situation I find myself. Joyce and I were having one of those late night talks a couple nights ago where you share the things you are really thinking or concerned about. I was talking about my fears and concerns about the upcoming medical issues we will be facing and my big concern that I might not be taking full advantage of the situation I am in by learning what God is trying to teach me through this situation. (Theological point: I don’t blame God for my cancer. It happened because we live in a fallen world. But God walks with us through these situations and uses them to grow us into His image.) I asked her what she thinks I am learning. She laughed and said, “you are learning to be content. I thought you’d be a terrible patient and mad at your situation, but you have done very well.” I thought, “well there’s not much I can do about it, so I just had to trust God through the process.” Then I thought, “but that is contentment. Wow, I have learned something.” I have a long way to go. I have been able to trust God through most of the cancer adventure, but I still find myself, weirdly, getting unreasonably angry when my reading glasses slide off the top of my head because I don’t have enough hair up there to hold them any more.

I listened to a sermon on contentment by Tim Keller a while back. One of his big points was that contentment must be learned by going through adversity and responding well to it. It is not a spiritual gift or talent. It is gained through experience. When we experience adversity we must respond in 3 ways: Think, Thank and Love. First, we have to think through the real cosmic situation which includes the biblical worldview, God’s promises to be with us and the truth that this life is preparation for the next one. This enables us to thank God that He is working through the situation. Finally, as we go through these experiences we learn to love God, because we also experience His presence. This is something that I have found to be true. Through cancer I have experienced God in ways I never I have before. I have also had a few dark nights of the soul, but those seem to go together with the former. I, definitely, cannot say “I have learned” like Paul, but I am learning and have been able to praise and thank God in the midst of it. Honestly, I am hoping to Iearn what I need to and can get off the bench and back into the game soon, but I know I need to keep living and ministering in the present, where I am right now.

20170916_142916 (960x1280)20170916_142935 (960x1280)So, Happy Fall and Merry Autumn! One side benefit of all this is the time I have had for family relationships. I am blessed to have my daughter Missy and granddaughter Leila living with us. We have some fun together and I enjoy being close to them. Seeing the world through the eyes of a very energetic five year old can be quite enlightening. These pictures were taken as Leila was getting ready to go to Placerville’s Oktoberfest. Yes, Placerville had their Oktoberfest in September. But it did include a wiener dog race. May God grant you contentment in His presence. Blessings!

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