Choices

I’ve always heard “life isn’t fair,” but I’ve not often heard what it is. It occurs to me that life is not about fairness. It’s about choices. Instead of asking what is fair, perhaps a better question is…

What do we do with the choices we have every moment of life in an unfair world?

East of Eden

If the sun’s path can be a metaphor of life then we are always traveling westward toward its setting. Thus, every event we have yet to encounter is west and we are heading toward it from the east. Liz and I are closer than ever, but still “east of Eden.” We named our daughter for that Paradise where we once walked blamelessly and blissfully with our Maker (Gen.2:8-9) and for the hope of returning to another Garden yet to come where we will do the same forevermore (Rev. 22:1-5). However, the arrival of this Eden will not be the return to Paradise, but rather like the chaos on which God eventually imposed order. It will be traumatic.

It will be traumatic for Eden, because whether we realize it or not birth is the first traumatic event every human experiences. Our birth is our introduction to trauma. It will be traumatic for Liz as this alien who has invaded her body and lived as a parasitic host for 9 months is about to be…delivered. And while I only use on verb for gentle propriety, I am sure you can add other verbs and a host of adjectives to confirm the event as one of trauma. This even will be traumatic for Noah. Before reaching age 2, his home, family, life, and the world as he knows it will be invaded beyond his control and changed forever. And finally, as a spectator and active participant in the entire aforementioned trauma, this event would be traumatic enough for me if I had no trauma of my own. But I will.

I have now preached my 35th sermon here at Shalimar. I’ve done my first few weddings and my first handful of funerals. I feel as if we are finally getting to know one another. But you have not yet watched me go through an event of this magnitude. I make a special apology in advance for the first sermon I preach after Eden’s arrival. If it is coherent at all I am certain it will contain things for which I will need to apologize and at the very least an untrustworthy level of content. I also apologize for all one-on-one conversations I will have the first days or even weeks into her arrival. If you walk away thinking, “Was it just me?” rest assured it was really me. While I am here to serve you and you owe me nothing, I ask openly and unashamedly for your understanding, love, support, encouragement, and most importantly, for your prayers. For, only God Himself can get families through this! We’ll see you on the west side.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Jonathan

Questions

Tonight I realized a truth that has proven itself over and over to me as I received a revelation about a question I’ve been asking silently for months.

If you ask a question long enough you’ll receive one of two things: an answer or a better question to ask. Either way the asking was fruitful.

So, I encourage you. Ask questions. And keep asking.

A prayer by Ralph S. Cushman

I do not ask
That crowds my throng the temple;
That standing room be priced;
I only ask that as I voice the message,
They may see Christ.
I do not ask
For church by pomp or pageant,
Or music such as wealth alone can buy;
I only ask that as I voice the message,
He may be nigh!
I do not ask
That men may sound my praises,
Or headlines spread my name abroad;
I only pray that as I voice the message
Hearts may find God!
I do not ask
For earthly place or laurel,
Or of this world’s distinctions any part;
I only ask when I have voiced the message,
My Savior’s Heart!

~ A prayer by Ralph S. Cushman