Sunday, March 21, 2010

Clarity #4 The water is STILL mucky!

This has been a series about 'muck' in our lives. So what about it?

  1. God is bigger than the 'muck' in our lives.
  2. Muck/silt has good qualities to it: the silt that is left behind produces fertile soil which is ground for crops. Silt left behind can produce barrier islands that provide protection for the land.
  3. When muck overwhelms, over runs and consumes us we need to step back away from the muck and ask God to give us His perspective which is far broader, far bigger.
You set out on a hike at the bottom of the path, follow the rippling creek higher and higher over a rocky path in the midst of rustling trees and forest fauna. The strenuous hike finally leads to the top where you stand awed at the beauty and majesty of the scene below you. Beauty and majesty?! That is where you started! In the parking lot, circling to find a parking spot, sweltering in the heat of summer. Beauty and majesty?! But from above you take in the landscape that includes a beautiful river, a sailboat skimming easily and lazily along, an eagle soaring in the skies, the blueness of the sky...yes! The air is cool and refreshing. Beauty and majesty! It does look so different from this high perspective.

So you've enjoyed your picnic lunch, taken your pictures of the splendor below, breathed in the cool, refreshing's time to return to the muck. You pass beautiful spots on the way down. You watch your step so as not to slip on loose rocks. You hear the sound of the rushing creek as you get closer and closer to the parking lot. Finally there you are hit once again with the heat of the summer, cars parked so closely together you notice another car has left a little crease on your door where theirs touched yours. The muck is tell yourself quickly, "God is bigger than the muck, muck produces something good, there is a bigger perspective, God is bigger!..." step by step you are immersed. You know with your head but struggle with your heart and emotions.

The Psalmist said, "The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow." Ps. 116:3. Entangled, anguish, overcome...are smothering, choking, grievous words. That describes the intense experience of overwhelming "muck". How do you survive here? How do you make it through another day? The Psalmist then says, "Then I called on the name of the Lord: 'O Lord, save me!' " His machinations and solutions have been exhausted. There is only one thing left. "O Lord, save me!" All too often that is what we do as our last resort. But, better late than never. And what comes next? "The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion." Rest--and wait. God is gracious, righteous and full of compassion. He is still way above the muck. He knows all the purposes of it and the outcome. When all around you wag their tongues and shake their heads at you, as Job's peers did in his unbearable circumstances, God is gracious, righteous and full of compassion. Rest. Wait. The muck WILL eventually settle; the water will clear and you will be able to see the bottom again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Clarity in the Muck #3 A different perspective

When surrounded by muck, it is all too easy to think there is nothing but muck, everywhere permeating, all consuming. It promises to over-run, to crush, to smother, to destroy...You find yourself laying at night exhausted yet eyes wide open, thoughts tumbling one upon another. It seems to grow like a mushroom cloud promising destruction and devastation. You finally fall asleep only to wake up to yet another day where muck rules the day...again.

So what benefit is it that our Creator is bigger than the muck? The benefit is that He has a view that is much greater than ours. He has given us a glimpse of what it is like to have His view when we climb a mountain and see the valley below, above the stream, above the trees, above the hills. His view is far greater than ours. With this clarity we can step back away from the muck, to a higher place and see that the muck may actually only be small in size.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is there any purpose to muck?

Clarity #2

Muck, or silt, is a fine substance that causes turbidity in water. It is lightweight and can be carried many miles by moving water. Something very interesting about it is that it created rich soil that made for fertile land in the Ancient Egypt civilization (see Wikipedia). You will read further that due to a system of levees built in the New Orleans area, silt from the Mississippi River decreased. This contributed to the loss of wetlands and barrier islands. So there IS a good purpose for muck or silt.

Since there IS a Creator who is bigger than all the muck, then could another Clarity be that muck does not just happen? Like silt that is chemically different than clay (see Wikipedia), could it be that the muck/silt in our lives produces fertile soil, soil which can be used to produce 'crops'? So silt/muck does not just gum up our lives; it has purpose. Further, the lack of silt contributes to lack of fertile soil, wetlands and barrier islands, protective islands, you might say. So, just like in the physical world, the silt, the muck, the turbid waters, set the stage for life and growth and 'barrier islands'. We have all experienced a new understanding following a particularly turbid time in our lives. This new wisdom brings new insight, providing protection. Our perspective then can be that we welcome the muck/silt, knowing it has a wonderful purpose. It does not just happen. Our Creator purposes muck for growth and protection.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Clarity in the Muck #1

Have you ever tried to get a look at something on the bottom of a creek bed and the water gets mucky when it gets stirred up? You're straining to see if what you thought you saw really is there? You have to wait until all the silt settles back down and the water is clear again. Do you feel like that is what you are experiencing? Life seems to be mucky and cloudy; you've lost clarity. And haven't we experienced times in life where the muck seems to be unending? What then? It turns out there really are absolutes and principles to live by so the muck of life doesn't turn you upside down waiting for the muck to go away.

So this will be a series of principles to live by in the muck of life.

Clarity #1 In order for muck to not permeate your soul you must have a foundation. The reality is that there are absolutes in life. The first being that there is a Creator who is above all the muck. That means there is order. There is Someone bigger than the muck.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Have you lost yourself?

Do you know who you are? Do you know what you like? What you don't like? You are a unique and wonderful individual. Your feelings and opinions are valid. You were not created to please others. Time and intimacy with God will help you regain who you are.