Choose Faith

salsonsThe sun rises earlier in the morning and sets later in the evening. Crocus are coming up and budding in the yard. Robins are beginning to arrive. Heavy jackets aren’t as necessary as they were a few weeks back. Bird songs are starting to punctuate the morning quiet. Baseball and soccer is starting up. Here locally, we are always happy to see Carl’s Ice Cream open and start scooping their four delicious flavors of ice cream. Stafford Meadows Farms opens for business after a winter rest and offers customers all kinds of trees and flowers for planting in their yards. Cafes set up their outdoor dining furniture. Pretty Easter clothes are hanging in shops and stores for buyers to handle, try on, and maybe even purchase. Of course, it still can be cold outside and there is snow forecast for here later in the week, but there are definite signs that a new season – Spring – is on its way.

Seasons come and go like clockwork. Seasons are like a musical score. It plays on and on through the changing scenes of life’s movie. Each season brings mostly the same natural and very common sights, smells, and sounds every time around. The coming and going of seasons is highly predictable and amazingly reliable. We all like the certain rotation of seasons.

What is a bit disconcerting, however, is that each season will always usher in something new and different for each of us. Our kids are one year older and have gone to school one more year. We are one year older and have worked one more year. New friends were found but some old friends may have needed to move on. New babies have been born and loved ones have passed. Hopes and fears have turned into memories. Planning and preparation has turned into management and maintenance.

A season is like the ice in an ice rink and life is like all of the skaters who scoot, shuffle, and zing across the ice. The ice sustains and supports the skaters. The ice is hard, resilient, and reliable whereas the skaters are somewhat fragile and fickle – fast, slow, easy, hard, beginners, and pros. The ice stays put while skaters come and go.

Mixed feelings are had when a new season arrives. It’s nice to enjoy, for example, the arrival of Spring with its warmth, sounds, and newly birthed vegetation. But at the same time, the arrival of a new spiritual season may bring as much trepidation as hope, concern as assurance, and loss as gain.

“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:6-8 VOICE)

I was talking with someone yesterday – I was distracted and she was distracted and we both really didn’t have much to say to each other because we were both distracted and the sum of our conversation was nothing. We both know better but we easily let ourselves get tired and frustrated. Too bad for us and we should have done better. But later, I was thinking about her and me and the Bible passage above came to mind – among many.

Faith is a choice and it requires me to choose it if I want to embrace it. Part and parcel with true faith is the ability to not be anxious and worried. I won’t speak for my friend but I am indicted by what I just said. If I claim faith but am anxious, what does that mean? Of course I have faith but I do get distracted, antsy, and concerned. I’m sorry about this. Perhaps my faith is not as strong as it needs to be.

With the changing of seasons – in the world and in my heart – I can easily slip off the bridge and find myself paddling around in the muck of self-pity and hurt. I know me – I can paddle for awhile but if I get tired and stay bobbing about for too long I won’t have the strength to pull myself up and out of the swamp unless I get some help.

But I want to be positive. I am alright as I write because of the strength I receive from finding faith-comfort in the passage above from Philippians. Particularly, “Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything.” And that is what I did and am doing. I prayed yesterday that I might enjoy the good that can come with a season’s change and that I might be protected from the negatives of a season’s change. And I prayed – and am praying – for my friend, too. I hope she is better now.

There is strength in faith. But I must hold tight to it else I will get crushed under the weight of my own thoughts. Faith is a good thing – I choose faith!

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