Back 9 or10 years ago, I remember the days I would make the long drive to seminary and ask myself the question, "Why am I doing this?" Serving two churches, trying to be a husband and father to my wife and four children while making the long commute would often begin to erode my devotion to a lot of things. One of those was my call to ministry. The monotonous routine would melt meaningful details into a mass of unrecognizable stuff.
It was early September 2006 and I was heading back to school for the fall semester; it was one particularly dull day, I dropped off I-78 onto exit 10 and began the winding drive down the road toward Myerstown. I say it was a dull day only in my mind. The day was a beautiful fall day with blue skies and bright sun. I think I could have driven that stretch of highway blindfolded. As I crossed over the lonely intersection with the blinking red light, and proceeding ahead, the same thoughts rolled through my head. Does anyone know what this feels like? Does anyone appreciate my efforts? Would anyone care if I stopped this nonsense? What other vocation could I get with my undergraduate degree?
I rounded the same sweeping curve, rattled across the steel grate bridge and started up the slight grade when I suddenly saw my answers.
(Photo creds: Kayt Hughes, 2016)
Off to my left was 'thee' brightest field of sunflowers I had ever seen. In fact, I had never seen a large field of sunflowers ever! I had planted a few of these flowers but never a field of them. Here is the kicker. As far as I could tell, when I drove by, every flower was facing east. Each plant was facing the sun. My spirits lifted a bit. I continued on to classes. On the way home the next day, I retraced the same route toward Frystown and glanced to my right at the glowing field. This time, the flowers were all facing west toward the sun. Over the course of the day, these gorgeous yellow beacons of hope tracked with the warm sunshine and kept a steady gaze on this source of heat and life.
In many of my times of prayer, I would seek God's will and would often ask God, "Do you want me to continue to pursue ministry or is there something else I should consider." Mostly I would hear silence, but from other sources and from other situations I would receive the same message. Randy, you are right where you need to be and God will continue to bless you and your family. Stay faithful and keep your eyes on the Son.
Are you in a place of despair? Is there a light at the end of a tunnel and it's a southbound freight train threatening to bowl you over? Have you sought God's will? Have you heard silence? Have you listened to voices of hope or those negative voices that erode hope and purpose? Maybe those negatives are your own.
God always seeks to communicate to us in various ways and sometimes will use the simplest forms to get his point across to us. Hey, listen up. If you are faithfully listening for God's guiding and your heart yearns for meaning, consider facing the Son....at all times. This is a subtle shift in thinking. So often, we face the Son when hardship arrives or when we feel desperate for hope. Rarely do we praise God and give thanks for the many blessings that flow from God's hand.
He (Hebrew alphabet pronounced "hey!")
"Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I
will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find
delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from
worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you
may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness." (Psalm 119:33-40, NIV)
Face the Son today and everyday and see if your perspective doesn't change.