The Long Journey to the Pie

Pie is always a good idea.

Pie is an even better idea when it is shared with friends.

Not too long ago I got together with some good old friends. It was a typical “guys” night. Way too many buffalo wings, lots of laughter, and a sad realization that we all are a lot older than we used to be. As the night wore on everyone threw out options for what we should do next.

We stood in the parking lot for a solid 15 minutes trying to decide.

  • Go-karting? Too expensive.
  • Mini Golf? Too lame.
  • Video games back at so-and-so’s house? The baby was asleep.
  • Pie? Perfect.

“Why don’t we just walk there!?” I exclaimed. “It’s literally right down the street!” My idea was met with a lot of enthusiasm and even called, “the best plan of the night.”

So, we set off walking. And it was just about a half a block into our journey that I realized the pie place was quite a bit further than I had originally thought. Our short walk was not going to be short at all.

After about 10 minutes the group caught on that our walk was no small stroll. One person even asked if we should turn back and just drive. But the collective answer was, “No. We have come this far. The pie will be worth it.”

And let me tell you, the pie certainly was worth every step of that brutally long (I’m exaggerating just a bit) walk. At the table, one of my friends suggested I write a blog about the event (this is your shout-out Steve) and so here it is.

And here is the point…

Often times our journeys turn out to be a lot longer than expected, and that’s OK.

Many of us are faced with situations and seasons that cause pain, frustration, and fear. Maybe for you, it’s a frustrating situation at work. Or a broken relationship with someone you love. Or maybe you are dealing with health problems that just don’t seem to go away. Or maybe you are like my wife and I and are waiting to adopt and experiencing the pain of childlessness. Whatever your journey is, it may seem unbearable, or at least unbearably long.

But we must patiently endure and pray that God would help us to be content.

Proverbs 16:9 is clear that even though we may have our own plans ultimately it is God who directs our journey. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

And because it is the Lord who “establishes our steps” we need to remember that He knows what He is doing. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

As I walk through my own unexpectedly long journey I find comfort knowing that God is with me through it all. King David knew that truth as well. In the 23rd Psalm, he wrote about walking through terrible, dark, and deadly times, but he did not fear. Why? Because he knew that God was with him. We need to remember that truth as well.

The journey may be long, but we have a wonderful companion.

We also need to learn to be content in the midst of our journey. Now, please understand that contentment isn’t just simply saying, “I guess I’m fine with this for now.” Contentment is saying, “Lord, if I have nothing else in life other than you, I am ok with that. Because you have already given me everything I need, and you are what I want above all else.”

If you are reading this and you resonate with the frustrations of a longer-than-expected journey I want you to know that I am praying for you. I am praying that God will give us the strength to endure, joy in the midst of pain, and peace that can only be found in Him.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

Priceless

How much is a single human life worth?

How much is the life of a stranger worth? How much is a life of a “bad guy” worth? How about the life of a celebrity? What about the life of someone from that country or region? How much are their lives worth? How much is your life worth?

They all have the same answer.

Priceless.

I’m sure we all have read many history books that describe the “dark days” of civilization. Back when human life was viewed as cheap, and atrocities were commonplace. Unfortunately, for millions of people worldwide, those dark days are not just history, but a present reality. The human race isn’t as sophisticated as many would like to think.

Today, many of us will be waking up, drinking our coffee, checking social media on our pocket screens, and going about our normal everyday lives.

At the same time…

Today, many others will be waking up in slavery. Today, many others will not be waking up at all. Today, many others will decide that their lives are worthless and will choose to end them. Today, many babies will die and never be allowed to see the light of day.

It is incredibly hard to think of these things. The rush of emotions is a combination of heartbreak, sorrow, bitterness, anger, numbness, despair, and outrage.

But then there is hope.

There is a God who listens when the oppressed cry out and He rescues them when they call upon His name. (Psalm 107:6)

There is a God who created each and every one of us in His image. A priceless work of art. (Gen. 1:26)

There is a God who left heaven in order to save the helpless and hopeless. (Romans 5:6)

There is a God who offers unrestricted hope. (1 Peter 1:3-6)

There is a God who offers life. (John 14:6)

So many people in our world have proclaimed with their words and actions that life is cheap, meaningless, and in many cases just plain worthless.

We must be louder. Our message that life is precious must be uncompromised and unrelenting. Because that is God’s message. Life is so precious to Him that Jesus laid His own life down in order to ensure that others could have it.

So, what do we do? What do we do with the fact that tens of millions of people are being trafficked every day? What do we do with the fact that over 20 million babies have been killed since January? What do we do with the fact that suicide seems to be such a normal thing that there are now T.V. shows that glorify it? What can we do?

We can love our neighbors. (Matthew 19:19, Luke 10:25-37)

We can speak up against injustices. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

We can be a reflection of our Savior. (Romans 12:2, Matthew 5:13-16)

We can pray. (1 John 5:14-15, Matthew 5:44, Philippians 4:6)

We can remind people that God has made them and sees them as priceless.

 

If you need help, or if anyone you know who needs help, please check out these websites below.

https://needhim.org/

http://pricelessmovement.com/

http://anthemofhope.org/

All My Hope

Trust me on what I am about to say, be careful who you trust.

If you are anything like me, a living breathing human being, chances are that at one point in time someone somewhere let you down. Chances are that you put your trust in a person, organization, institution, or any other entity, only to see that trust misplaced as you walked away sadder but wiser.

Now, please understand what I am saying here. I am not advocating that we never trust other people, we actually do need one another. We need to rely on our close loved ones, we cannot, or at least should not, do this “life-thing” alone. But, we should be careful who we do trust. Even then, even if we are careful about who we trust, we still should not be surprised if, or more likely, when they fail us.

So, what do we do during the times where we face disillusionment? How do we respond to people and organizations who misuse our trust? How do we even move forward in the midst of our frustrations?

As always, we take our cue from God’s Word.

First, we need to understand that people, ourselves included, are fallible. We make mistakes, we mess up, we make errors in judgment, we disappoint, we sin. You don’t have to look past the reflection in a mirror to find a person who doesn’t have it all together and who is more than capable of letting others down. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) That means that all of us have sinned and therefore fallen short of God’s perfect standard of living. Therefore, it should not be a big surprise when a human being or a human run organization lets you down. We should actually expect it.

But there is also good news on the “fallible human front.” We actually can be better. 2 Corinthians 5:17 promises that if anyone is in Christ then they are a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come. Does that mean when a person becomes a Christian they are automatically perfect and perfectly trustworthy? No. But, as we let the Spirit work in our lives we will become more and more like Jesus. As a result of becoming more like Jesus, we should become more trustworthy as well. But again, we are still human. Humans will always eventually let you down.

Therefore, our ultimate and unwavering source of hope must be in God alone. We can, should, and need to trust in Him. He will not fail us because He cannot fail us. Take a moment to remind yourself of these truths,

Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 13:5 “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”

Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Revelation 21:5 “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

The Lord, He is God and He is trustworthy and true. People will fail you, I promise you that, but God never will. His love has, is, and will continue to pursue you. His steadfast love and kindness is literally following you around everywhere you go.

He will hold you in the midst of your hurt and pain. He will guide you when you don’t know where to go. He will pick you up when you can’t move. He will comfort you when you are alone. He will be trustworthy when everyone else is not.

In fact, Romans 5 tells us the beautiful truth that “while we were weak” and “at the right time” Jesus died for us. He provided for our most desperate need while we were weak and His “enemies.”

If anyone is worth trusting it would certainly be the one who gave His life for you.

As I write all of this, there is a song called, “All My Hope” by Crowder that I just can’t get out of my head, so I’ll link it here.

Our trust is not in men, women, governments, organizations, nor Institutions.

Our trust is in God alone.