Page 303 was a Monday and I finally started the day feeling better than I had in a long time. A couple days of good rest and catching up on a messed up medication schedule seemed to go a long way in helping me feel more “normal” — whatever that is. 🙂 My morning prayer, cleaning, and building prep was done to the background music of “It is Well With My Soul” going on in my mind. It has long been one of my favorite hymns, and I believe one of the most complete in addressing the peace that can be found in Jesus regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
It was a good hymn to carry with me through the day as I had those times of great “peace like a river” attending my way. But I also had times throughout the day when the “sorrow like sea billows” would roll into my mind and I would find that sorrow leaking from the corners of my eyes — which is an unusual reaction and emotion for me to experience in that way. While the entire song is filled with great encouragement and comfort for me, my favorite part is in the last verse as I consider the Lord’s return knowing “even so, it is well with my soul.” It is always a great reminder that even though my life isn’t perfect, often falls short, and could never earn favor with God; even so, through being cleansed by the blood of Jesus, it will be well with my soul when He returns.
Once the usual work of getting the building ready for the day was finished, I turned my attention to some minor plumbing issues to occupy part of my morning. The other part of my morning was spent on some follow-up in regard to the Growing Strong retreat and putting together another introduction/invitation video for the retreat. It is looking like this weekend’s retreat will be nothing like I expected it to be and I’m learning to be okay with that. I’ve thought many times over the weekend about just cancelling this upcoming retreat, but every time that thought comes to mind I hear the scripture that “He who began a good work in you is faithful and will complete it.” I did not enter into the idea of leading these Growing Strong retreats lightly and am convinced they are a work that God has begun in me, so I press on with the confidence that He will be faithful and complete this work — even if it looks very little like my initial mental picture. God knows what He is doing and I rarely find out what that is if I don’t keep walking with Him in faith.
By mid-afternoon I was confronted with the fallacy of being able to skip a medication time at the first sign of feeling better. My mind was starting to become foggy so I headed out for a late lunch, but ended up going home and warming up some leftover ribs because my mind couldn’t focus enough to decide where to eat. My afternoon at home included some relaxing of the mind, but it also had a lot of continued preparation for the weekend. In looking at area and regional weather forecasts, I noticed there were gale warning posted for Lake Michigan so by early evening we decided to drive up to St Joseph, Michigan to photograph the wind-whipped waves around the lighthouses of St Joe. One of the self-made challenges is to try to capture a photo of a wave crashing over the end lighthouse while the lights are on in both of them. Today’s photo is a combination of patience, timing, and luck — but the first step in being able to capture it was to put myself in proximity to where this was likely to happen. There was no way I would shoot this photo from home! Many times we want certain things out of our relationship with God, with others, even with our self; but we don’t do anything to put ourselves in position to experience what we want and then become discouraged that “such and such” didn’t happen. God says that when we seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with a whole heart. If I desire a more vibrant, “wave-pounding” experience with God, then I must step out of my place of comfort and seek Him with my entire being.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Following instructions can be difficult . . . especially when you think you no longer need them.
- When we ignore God’s instructions because we think we are beyond them, we find ourselves walking into troubled times.
- The seeds we plant in our mind in one season of life becomes the fruit we harvest at another season — plant good seeds.
- While peace is valuable in good times and in stormy times, the greatest peace comes when we can be at peace with God when Jesus returns.
- While we often engage in long-term planning, God typically leads us a step at a time.
- Even when our long-term plans are directed by God, the steps He leads us on during that journey will often be steps of faith rather than steps of comfort and our own knowledge.
- Sometimes roadblocks come in the spirit of Balaam’s donkey because God doesn’t want us to go in a certain direction, sometimes they come from the enemy because he doesn’t want us to go in a certain direction, and sometimes they come in the form of trials and testing with the purpose of increasing our faith. Wisdom is seeking God for His perspective on the perceived roadblock.
- I love watching the wind-whipped waves on Lake Michigan and picturing in my mind Jesus on the Sea of Galilee saying, “Peace! Be Still!”