Page 86 followed a late night of work so it was an opportunity to sleep in a bit and have a relaxing start to the day. Once we were all up, we ran some errands together as a family and then got ready to head to Hammond, Indiana for a birthday open house for one of MJ’s cousins. While the birthday celebration gave MJ a chance to visit with some of her Neyhart cousins that we don’t see often, we were more focused on helping Gene spend some time with his two remaining brothers. On the way up to Hammond, we stopped at the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Lake Michigan National Lakeshore park to take some pictures as well as at Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s to sight-see in a different way. 🙂
As I thought about the day, I thought about the picture I attached to this post of a tree on the beach standing tall. I thought about the wall of photos at the Hessville Christian Church where the birthday celebration was held today — photos representing those who were sent out from the church to stand tall in full-time ministry. I thought about the prayer offered by the son of the 70 year old “birthday boy” thanking God for a dad who stood tall and set the moral direction for the family. I thought about my father-in-law and his two brothers that sat at our table this afternoon — how they’ve stood tall in faith and family.
As I thought about each of these “snapshots”, and so many more, I was reminded of the strength of character and endurance necessary to stand tall in this life. From there, my mind wandered to the love required for Jesus to stand tall and endure the mistreatment, the mocking, the complete disgrace and dis-figuration that was a part of the path to the cross. Sometimes standing tall means standing our ground, but more often it means laying down on our cross and surrendering our will to the will of our Father. As we seek to stand tall in meaningful ways, we must find ourselves hidden in Christ and filled with His Spirit. We must be willing to be bent and shaped by His wind and waves in our life as we’re molded by His hand.
I pray that you and I would be “pliable putty” in the hands of God. I pray that our desire to stand tall is not about our posture but about our being found in Christ. I pray that as we allow Christ to shape us, we would be the representatives of Jesus to our families, our neighbors, our communities, and our world that God desires for us to be. I pray that our standing tall in this world would begin with the foundation of being found on our knees in prayer.