Friday, September 13, 2013

Rain Delay

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:5 (NIV)

As I stared out the airplane window at the rain, I tried not to feel irritated that my trip was once again delayed. It had been a long overseas trip, and this was just one more delay in a series of delays. I considered reading the airline magazine, but I had read the same one on the trip over two weeks earlier. So I zoned out for a few minutes, and as my mind wandered, I happened to notice a yellow square painted on the ground just beyond the edge of the airplane wing. A stenciled message warned, “No Standing.”  That made me curious. Why was standing prohibited in that particular area?

A few minutes later the pilot fired up the engines, and I got my answer. The yellow box marked an area that was in close proximity to the engines. I observed the falling raindrops get violently sucked into the powerful engine. Now I understood the warning on the yellow box.

The powerful pull of the airplane’s engine reminded me of the powerful pull of the world’s system. We often underestimate its power. Materialism, selfishness, greed, lust, hatred—these are just a few things that strive to pull us in as we struggle to overcome the world.

In 1 John Chapter 5 we read about overcoming the world. What is the key? The power to overcome the world begins with our trust in Christ. It’s all about Jesus. The same power that raised him from the dead allowed Him to overcome the world. He’s the author and finisher of our faith. If we are to overcome the system of this world and all its trappings, we must be connected to Jesus Christ.

Are you depending on Him today? Are you connected to the Overcomer?

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Four Lanes

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble… Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

He occasionally appears at one of my regular lunch spots, first emerging as a speck in my rear view mirror. I make my way through the drive-thru, order up my Number One—no pickles and a half Coke/half Diet Coke—and then make my way over to an adjacent parking lot where I stare at the traffic, eat my lunch, and enjoy the quiet. I watch with amazement as he pumps his way by me in his wheelchair, wheels across the parking lot, and heads toward the busy road.

As my friend nears the traffic, an incredible transformation takes place. He looks out at the four lanes of cars racing by, and an expression of determination washes over his face. It’s not a gritting-of-the-teeth resolve but more of a joyful anticipation. I’ve seen him do this numerous times, and he always sports that same cheerful look.

Today I spotted him again, only this time he had additional spectators: two young women in a car not far from mine. With hands cupped over open mouths, they watched him negotiate each lane of traffic as cars rushed by. Will he make it? Can he do it?

When he reached the other side, as he always does, the ladies broke into tearful, joy-filled applause and pumped their firsts in the air in sincere admiration. As I observed them, my heart, too, was filled with joy for my friend’s accomplishment. 

I thought to myself how God must cheer for us as we put on our game face and greet the tasks that await us each day. I don’t know if this young man knows Jesus, but there’s certainly something within him that generates a spirit of enthusiastic determination. It reminds me that when I face a daunting challenge, I have Jesus’ help…and so I have reason to smile inside, too.

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2 (NLT)