Row, Row Your Boat

DO YOU KNOW HOW TIRED YOU WOULD BE IF YOU ROWED A BOAT FOR 3 to 4 MILES IN CHOPPY WATERS?  That was the dilemma in which Jesus’ followers found themselves. Oh how they were aching for the Prince of Peace! They were yearning, longing for His Presence- but when? When? Will He ever show up again?!  They were carrying around the beauty of His message in weakened bodies. You’ve been there. The hurts, the questions! Are you destined for a watery grave, an eternity of hopelessness? But by faith you didn’t give up. Like the Apostle Paul you kept looking into the darkness –

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-17‬ 

Isn’t it amazing!  Jesus always shows up “when we have exhausted our hoarded resources.”

“When they had rowed the boat about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water, coming toward the boat. The followers were afraid, but Jesus said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.””

‭‭John‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭(ncv)  

“‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on Thee.’

When the shadows come and darkness falls,

He giveth inward peace.

Oh, He is the only perfect Resting Place!

He giveth perfect peace.

‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on Thee.’”

(Vivian A. Kretz) 

 

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WINTER

ITS 3am. COLD.  FOGGY.  WINTER.  George Bush is gone at 94.  My good friend, Rev. Les Shelton, passed away at 78.  It’s winter.  Long ago, Willie Nelson wrote: “Ain’t it funny how time slips away.”  Yes, it’s winter.  It caught me off guard – before I knew what was happening.  It makes no difference that Willie also wrote,  “I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday,” because my future is as bright as the promises of God. As is the case with many of us, part of my past was painful.  If I had it to do over I would change a few things.  I shoulda, coulda, woulda. Isn’t that the case with most of us?

“But now the days grow short

I’m in the [winter] of the year

And now I think of my life as ‘vintage wine

from fine old kegs,

from the brim to the dregs.’”

Forgetting the past, you can

“Take this old world, but give me Jesus;

In His cross my trust shall be,

Til, with clearer, brighter vision,

Face to face my Lord I see.”

(Fanny Crosby)

It’s still winter.  It was just yesterday …; seems yesterday  I was so immature – high school, college, embarking in a fragile canoe called Life.  I held my son in loving arms as he looked at me with blue eyes.  I said to him, “My Son. I love you so much.” He looked at me as though he answered, “I love you, too.” Time caught me. Where did the years go?

And then in El Paso, living on a dirt road, two miles from Juarez, Mexico.  My precious daughter caught her breath, laboring as though she would die with Hyaline Membrane Disease.  No money to pay for hospital care. Would she be left to die?  Would it be winter in springtime?

The grunt work chased me.

As a breath of fresh air in springtime hope found me in the midst of my slog.  O my-my  yes!

I knew I was Blood-bought.   The One who had a plan, had a plan!

“Like the sunshine after rain,

Like a rest that follows pain,

Like a hope returned again,

Is the peace that Jesus gives.”

(Haldor Lillenas)

Springtime came in the form of an addition to my son and daughter.

Carole brought her two amazing little guys, 6 & 3, joining us making a family unit of six.  It was Spring!

Hopes and dreams anew. But where did the years go?

Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams. But, here it is… the winter of my life and it caught  me by surprise…How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go?  Where did my youth go?

I well remember seeing older people through the years and thinking that those old people were years away from me and that winter was so far off.  I could not fathom it or imagine what it would be like.

But, here it is, … my friends are retired and gray… they move slower and I see an older person now.  Some are in better and some worse shape than I …, but I see a change. They’re not like the ones I remember who were young and vibrant … but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.

Each day now, I find that finding my way to the shower takes concerted effort.   Taking a nap is not a treat anymore.. it’s mandatory because if I don’t on my own free will, I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so … now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done… things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

If you’re not in your winter yet … let me remind you, it will be here faster than you think. Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long! Life goes by quickly.  Do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life ….  Squeeze the sweet juice of today. Say all the things you want your loved ones to remember, “and make the world go away.”

“‘I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.’”

John 14:27 (nlt)