Monday, July 25, 2011


Round two of camping this summer is underway. We have divided our family into 3 teams and pretty much everything is a competition throughout the week. Two nights ago we joined a bingo game that the KOA staff put on. I am apparently a Bingo rookie. I bought 3 sets of two- game cards, 3 daubers and we gathered by teams around a Costco table. The first two games were filled with anticipation as we each were determined that we could somehow be luckier than the other 2 teams. But very soon it became apparent that no one at our table was going to win...ever. Our problem was not between family members but with the roomful of other bingo-players. I believe every single one of them had purchased the FOUR-game cards (giving them a huge advantage on every single round). As the realization settled over our table that our odds of winning were extremely slim, I watched shoulders slump and heard sighs escape. We played out the other ten games with as much good-attitude as we could muster. But most of the enjoyment, anticipation and pleasure of the game had evaporated with our hope...Aren't we the same in this life? If I had no hope that God will make all things right in the end then I would despair of going through the daily motions. If there is no hope that I can change those areas that I have been struggling with, that the people I love can beat their demons then my emotional shoulders slump and my spirit sighs. Without hope what's the point?! How thankful I am that I can trust in a God who does rescue, who does restore, who does rebuild! I can live this life with the pleasure of anticipation. It's like having a billion-game card! And I like those odds.

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27;13

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who Do You Suppose Is Gonna Clean THAT Up?

I seem to learn things when I am out running and walking (maybe that's an indication that I need to work harder so I'm not so easily distracted) But last week I discovered something not-so-pleasant. It was a pile of throw-up. Yep. A big, disgusting, chunky pile of vomit. (I was thoughtful enough not to take or post a picture of it) It was gross, as you might imagine and I managed to avoid it successfully. But as I strode on, I began to wonder, "Who cleans that up?" It was on the edge of the sidewalk so no street sweeper would get to it. I don't think there is a city sidewalk clean up crew. It was on a corner lot and not in front of the house so it could go completely unnoticed by the residents. So whose job is it? I doubt the person who deposited it there is planning on returning to scoop it up...
Then my heart asked the question, who cleans up after me? Who removes the stench when I've thrown up all over someone else? I mean, I try to go back and apologize and re-build relationships when I am aware I have caused pain. But who does the deeper sanitizing work? Who has healed the pain in the wake of my disobedience and rebellion? Who has removed the stench of impatience and selfishness that I have left on my children over the years? What about the messes we leave behind because we are too hurt or too drunk or too short-sighted to even know we left them? Jesus does. He heals, He restores, He cleanses. And how thankful I am He does. I don't have the power or insight to do that level of clean up but I have faith and hope that He does.
The pile was still there today. It is drying up and changing consistency but it remains. I thought about how I could clean it up. I occasionally pick up trash as I walk. You know, a stray Starbucks cup or a fairly innocuous looking napkin. But vomit? I have my limits! And I hear God ask, "Do you have your limits in relationships as well?" Am I satisfied with helping my friends through a difficult time but if things get really messy do I back off? Am I afraid to assist God in His clean-up work if the person has too much stench from their past? Or am I willing to face their pain and mine and roll up my sleeves? Do I trust that the His blood has sanitized the places in my life soiled by my own sins and those committed against me? Surely God has what we need to do some deep cleaning!

"Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean; Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7