Tag Archives: Synchronicity

An Easy Thing

An Easy Thing (CaD 2 Ki 3) Wayfarer

This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord…
2 Kings 3:18a (NIV)

I woke up this morning in a fog. I was having really strange dreams and my brain didn’t want to wake up. I really just wanted to go back to bed. Nevertheless, I got to my office and pulled out my journal to write my morning pages. I scribble out 2-3 pages, stream-of-consciousness style. Whatever is on my heart and mind I pour it onto the page. I try to keep the pen moving and not let my brain wander down rabbit trails which then causes my hand to stop writing. That’s hard for me. I have a very active inner world.

Out of the brain fog, my hand began scribbling out some of my fears about what God is doing, or not doing, and my doubts about what He is doing and will do. These are the fears and doubts that my conscious brain stuffs deep down most of the time. Then they ooze out the side in strange places and ways. I began to counter these doubts and fears by scribbling out words of affirmation and declarations of faith.

“Open the doors. You can open the floodgates,” I wrote in my scribbled prayer.

Having finished my morning pages, I read today’s chapter. The Kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom go on a campaign against the Kingdom of Moab, marching their army through the desert of Edom. It is hot and they run out of water for themselves and their animals. The campaign is doomed. But the King of Judah asks if there’s a prophet of the Lord nearby, and an officer says that Elisha is. Elisha is called and prophesies that even though the armies will not experience rain or a storm, yet the valley will fill with water.

“This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord,” Elijah states.

Sure enough, God opened the floodgates and the next morning the river beds were full of water.

Oh, me of little faith. Some mornings I find the synchronicity between my heart and the Great Story amazing in humbling ways.

In the quiet this morning, I find myself simply embracing the reality that what I need and desire is “an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord.”

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Of Twisties and Pantry Lights

Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. Aaron shall set it up in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain of the covenant, to burn from evening to morning before the Lord regularly; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
Leviticus 24:2-3 (NRSV)

Wendy and I live together quite comfortably, but we are no different from every other couple on the planet. We have our differences, which don’t always become acutely clear until you live together for a period of time. Wendy and I were both raised in our Dutch heritage, and we both exemplify the legendary frugality of Hollanders. Our frugality, however, is exhibited in very different ways.

My wife’s frugality is exemplified in the hoarding of things that might  be useful in her kitchen. For example, one should never throw away a “twisty” (the little colored paper covered wire that binds the bag on a loaf of bread). You never know when you might need a million or three of these incredibly useful utensils. The same principle can be applied to sacks (especially the ones with little handles on them), and zip-loc bags. I may roll my eyes at the piled rainbow of twisties in the kitchen drawer, Wendy will remind me, but I know without a doubt that there is one (or 12) available when I need it, and I know exactly where to find them.

My frugality (thank you, Dad) is exemplified by my compulsive desire to turn out lights that are illuminating empty rooms (and the accompanying rage that rises in my soul when I see it). Wendy has no problem keeping a room illuminated if there’s the possibility that she might enter it some time during her waking hours. When I see lights on in empty rooms I go into panic just short of cardiac arrest. After all, the unnecessary illumination of empty rooms will certainly be our financial ruin. They will drain our retirement fund of necessary pennies and lead to us living in a dark, cold, rat-hole of an apartment in our old age in which we will rock in our chairs and grieve long hours over this stark reality: If we’d have simply turned out more lights in empty rooms all those years, we might be able to afford turning on the furnace to ease our frigid, arthritic appendages.

So, where am I going with this? Well, just yesterday in the middle of a bright, sunny summer day I walked down to the kitchen to get a cold beverage. Sure enough, I found that the light in our empty kitchen pantry was on. Wendy was in her office working away at her desk. My frugality alarm went off and, as usual, my blood pressure went into its rapid, steep ascent. In a moment of lucidity, however, I reminded myself that entering an argument over turning out the pantry light was futile. We’ve been down that road to nowhere before. I am also frugal with arguments (especially those I’ll never win).

I asked myself: How do I get over my obsessive frustration over turning out the pantry light so that I can live in peace and avoid the cardiologist’s bill?

That’s when I remembered the eternal flame.

Growing up in the Methodist church, there hung a large cross over the altar at the front of sanctuary. From the bottom of the cross hung what looked like a large candle holder. I was taught as a child that this was the “eternal flame” which was always lit (except, of course, when the light bulb burned out) as a word picture of God’s eternal presence and Light.

I laughed as I thought to myself that I needed to stop thinking of the pantry light (which is the light I find most commonly lit unnecessarily) as the bane of our financial freedom. Instead, I need to think of it as the eternal flame that illuminates God’s blessing and provision (as evidenced by a stocked pantry).

In a moment of synchronicity, this morning’s chapter is the source of the “eternal flame” concept. It began with the Levitical law commanding that the high priest (Aaron) keep a lamp burning in the temple, just outside the curtained area which metaphorically represented God’s presence.

Today I’m thinking about frugality and eternal flames. I’m thinking about our individual differences and the compromises we learn to make in living together harmoniously. I can think of compromise as a negative (e.g. I’m having to “give up” or “give in” to something) or I can choose to find something beneficial in the process. The illumination of a pantry void of humans is also a pantry illuminating the evidence of God’s blessings and faithful provision. Perhaps that reminder is worth the pocket change it costs me.

An Invitation for You

This morning’s post provides a moment of synchronicity because I’m actually going to be sharing a two part message I’ve entitled Companions for the Journey over the next two Sundays. I’m going to explore the topic of relationships and friendships, and we’ll look at what God’s Message has to say about it as well as sharing some wisdom and practical lessons from my own journey.

I’ve been asked back to help fill in the gap at Westview Church in Waukee (1155 Boone Dr. in Waukee, Iowa) as they anticipate the arrival of their new pastor. I’ll be sharing the morning message on Sunday January 13th and again on Sunday January 20th. The gathering starts at 10:30 a.m.

I’d love to see you there!

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 35

Then, turning to the Recabite community, Jeremiah said, “And this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says to you: Because you have done what Jonadab your ancestor told you, obeyed his commands and followed through on his instructions, receive this Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel: There will always be a descendant of Jonadab son of Recab at my service! Always!'” Jeremiah 35:18-19 (MSG)

Over the past ten years, I’ve gone through a workbook called The Artist’s Way three different times. Twice I’ve gone through it with groups and I went through the material once by myself.  It’s been over four years since I last went through the book. Toward the end of 2010, I felt a strong prompting deep in my spirit that I was supposed to take up The Artist’s Way once more and do the daily ritual of “morning pages” prescribed.

A few weeks into 2011, I was invited to join with a few other men in a weekly study based on The Artist’s Way for ten weeks. The leader of the group had been prompted to get a small group of men together for the study and felt led to ask me to be a part of it. Coincidence? In our first meeting, I learned that another man in the group had gone through The Artist’s Way a few years ago and had received the same prompting I had to take up his morning pages and strike out on the path once more at the beginning of 2011. Synchronicity.

I was reading today’s chapter and scratching my head to understand what God’s very specific prompting to Jonadab and his descendants was all about. God’s message leave’s no doubt that He works to call people to specific tasks at specific times for eternal purpose. Whether it’s a family who is supposed to abstain from drinking wine and owning land for generations, or a few knuckleheads in a small town in Iowa who are supposed to strike out on The Artist’s Way.

Even before I read this morning’s chapter I was writing in my morning pages that I sense God is doing something. A man I had coffee with said the same thing yesterday. A different man said the same thing at worship team rehearsal last night. God is doing something. There is a shift in the wind. The game’s afoot. I can’t see the middle game or end game, but the pieces are moving on the board. 

I’ve come to accept that I won’t always understand the big picture. That’s why this is a faith journey. I’m simply to follow the prompting and take the next step.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Slayer23