The girls and I were in the kitchen one morning, getting breakfast and packing up school lunches, when we hear Michelle tell us to “look out the window.” I look out the window and scanned the ground, thinking there is a creature in the back yard, but I don’t see anything. Then I look up and got to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise. I called out to Michelle saying that it was a beautiful sunrise to which Kaitlyn, who was standing beside me says “It happens every morning.” I just laughed and shook my head.
So, Kaitlyn is right. It does happen every morning and it got me thinking about all the incredible things that happen and how often I miss them. I forget to see them because I am distracted by other things or my eyes aren’t paying attention.
There is a passage of scripture in Lamentations 3, that some of you will know. It is the one that implies that God’s mercies or compassions are new every morning (Lam 3:23). New every morning, just like the sunrise. It is true and something for us to be thankful for, but the verses before 23 are important for us to hear today.
The section from Lamentations 3:19-23 goes like this: “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I think it is important to hear the verses before 23 because I know, at times, I never make it to 23. I get stuck in 19 and 20. I remember my affliction, my wandering, my bitterness and my gall. I remember all these things and my soul is downcast. Maybe my day is going lousy, my week has not been great, my month has been tiring, and my year has worn me out. My soul is downcast, or to say it another way, I’m just down and if not in, close to the dumps. When you are there, it is easy to stay there. It is easy to just look at what is going wrong, to look at what has gotten you into your funk, to play over and over again what has made your soul downcast. All we remember is the bad, the trouble, the pain, and the weariness. But there is a yet.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God’s compassions (sometimes translated mercies) never fail, they are new every morning and our God is faithful. Do we forget the yet? Do we get so consumed with our eyes on our own problems and situation that we don’t see the sunrise, hear the birds chirping, or enjoy the smile of a friend? Do we miss what God is doing in someone’s life around us that should remind us that God is still at work? Do we forget that there is a yet? Trouble will come. Heartbreak will happen. Affliction will find its way into our lives. YET. Don’t forget the Yet.
I know that there are days that I will enjoy a sunrise, but it is not every morning. Sometimes it takes someone reminding you to look out the window, reminding you that God is doing something wonderful and beautiful and life changing. To be reminded, with Him is great love and His mercy is new every morning, that He is always faithful. May your eyes be open to all that God is doing, yet. May your heart be awoken again by all that our Lord is yet to do but will because He is always faithful.
Because of Him,
Michelle, Kaitlyn and I went to the furniture store the other day. We normally don’t just visit furniture stores, but we had some time to waste before we picked up Madison from an event and we were close by, so we went. Kaitlyn was so excited to go in, when we told her where we were going she said, with a smile, “I love furniture stores.” Of course we know why she loves them. She gets to try out different chairs and sofas, lay on different beds, and it is a lot of fun. Kaitlyn likes to do more than the normal person though. She saw a blue fuzzy carpet and went over and felt it. Then she ran back a little way, got a running start, and just slid, head first, onto the carpet – kind of like a baseball player sliding into second base. She looked up at Michelle and I and said, you have to feel this. It is so soft. Michelle and I just laughed. I did bend down and feel the carpet and it was soft. I didn’t go for the slide though.
As I thought about our trip to the furniture store, Kaitlyn’s slide onto the fuzzy blue carpet, and how much it made me smile, I started to wonder if I need to slide more in my life. Really, everybody sits on the couches, tries out the chairs, lays on the mattresses, but how many people slide head first onto the carpet. I’m not even for sure that the carpet is for sale. People don’t seem to be there to shop for that. I have started to wonder if I should start doing the unexpected, the thing that is out of the ordinary, those things that most people aren’t going to do, as a follower of Christ.
We see this in the life of Jesus, don’t we? He stops a funeral procession because He touches the coffin (Luke 7:14), He reaches out and touches the leper (Matt 8:3), He ate with sinners (Matt 9:10), He remained quiet when accusations were flying (Matt 26:63), He slept while storms where raging (Luke 8:23), He didn’t fret when food was short (Matt 14:15-16), and He didn’t run when the enemy came for Him (John 18:4). That is how we find Christ acting. How do we act? Do we act as expected? Do we talk like people think we should? Do we limit our sharing, protect our pride, defend our honor, try to be seen in the right way, or be on the right side?
The cross is called foolishness (1 Cor 1:18) and if it is our hope, we are called to be fools (1 Cor 3:18). We are called to surprise the world with an attitude that is unexpected. To make them wonder with our gestures and acts that are unanticipated. To bring something different to the table, a new song to the dance, light into the darkness.
Most people visit furniture stores and test out the furniture, but maybe we, as Christians, are call to dive on rugs. Go through the power and call of the Holy Spirit and look like a fool, a fool that hangs every hope on the cross.
Because of Him,
Rev. Lynn Beach is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two adorable daughters. He has been at Park Church since July 2013.