time is fleeting

“Your poor heart, in which God put appreciation for everlastingness, will not take electronic gadgets in lieu of eternal life. Something inside of you is too big for that, too terrible, too wonderful. God has set everlastingness in your heart. All the things of this world are here for but a moment and then are gone. None can satisfy the longing for that eternal ragging in the soul of every man.”
― A.W. Tozer

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(a fleeting tiger swallowtail / Troup Co. Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015 )

Time is not mine this week. . .
Yet I wonder. . . is time ever really our own?
There are no guarantees, just all assumptions on our part.
I think we’re all actually just a bunch of gamblers who play the odds. . .
We bet that our days, our weeks, our months and our years will always play out
neatly and conveniently. . .that is. . .up until the moment both Time and Life intervene. . .

So while Life and Time have their way with me this week, I will grab hold, riding the waves come what may. . .clinging to the one Truism in my world—that no matter what life, time, the world may throw my way, God already knows how this week will pay out and in that I find my Peace. . .

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.

Isaiah 59:1

Clear trust

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
― Corrie ten Boom

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(a dense fog closes in on the light / Julie Cook / 2015)

That’s what it’s all about isn’t it. . .trust.
And we really don’t like trust do we?
Because we’d rather control wouldn’t we?

Because if we control, then we don’t have to trust.
And if we don’t have to trust, then we can just know (perhaps assume) that things are going to be done as we would have them done, as we don’t particularly like having to trust someone else to do what we know is going to be done right, right?

Can we make certain that things are always done right?
Yes, but only if we do them, right?
Because that’s the only way we’d do these things in the first place, as in right, right?
And of course we don’t have to trust ourselves to do things right because we know ourselves and we, only us, know how to do things right, right?
And we don’t have to trust anyone else because we can just do it all ourselves because we always do it right anyway, right?

And of course we’re going to want it to be our way, because our way is really the best way, the right way and the only way. . .right?
Because if we have to leave it to others, then we’d have to trust others to do things and. . .we just don’t “do” trust remember because we “do” control.
We make certain that we will be doing all things, only as we would do them, of which of course, is the right way and the only way. . .right?
Because we’ve always known that if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself, right?

And if, say, this something which needs doing, is something that’s to be happening in advance or in the future. . .then the questions begs.. .how do we really know it’s actually going to be happening in the first place?
How do we know it’s really going to take place?
How do we know we’ll actually get to do whatever it is we’re to be doing if it’s in the future, and knowing there’s no guarantee about that whole future business, as it’s in the future, we’ve got problems, right?

And of course the answer to all of this is, we don’t know.
And as we don’t know the future, what we do know is that there are no guarantees in that whole future business. . .
We just simply trust it’s all going to take place.
We simply trust it’s all going to go on like it normally does and normally should.

Which brings us all back around to that word again, trust.

But remember, we don’t like trust, preferring control and yet. . .we have to trust because we can’t see into the future, which in turn means we simply just have to trust we have a future.
We have to trust in what we think is the unknown, because really there’s no other way, right?
So we agree, right?
There’s simply no getting around the fact that we can’t control the future, right?

Well. . .I suppose we certainly think that perhaps we can lay out the ground work to pretty much have the future as we’d like it to be, prefer it to be, hope it to be, guarantee it to be, right?

Yet that whole best laid plans deal really isn’t a guarantee is it?
As this whole life thing is pretty much open to chance right?
Of course we work really hard to lay a plan, plot a course, chart the waters, setting it all into motion. . .we do this for this, then that for that, because it’s all suppose to follow one step right after another. . .falling all into place making certain we get to where we’re going as we had planned right?

That’s control, right?
But life, what’s that?
That is not control.
Life is life and life happens. . . and when life happens control gets jack-knifed and trust shows back up.
Because in essence we really don’t have much control in this life now do we?
Yet we do have trust.
Trust doesn’t get jack-knifed.
It’s just always steadfastly there, waiting in the wings.
Control, not so much.
And here we are, once again, reminded that we don’t really like to trust, preferring to control because we think we can control, control. . .
However we can’t really do that now can we?
So once again, here we are back to trust.

And that’s all God asks in the first place. . .that we put our trust in Him for it is the Lord your God who is in total control. . .and so. . . now we understand, right?
We understand that we need to simply trust because it is God who is in control, not us, and He has asked one simple thing of us. . . “Trust me”

“But blessed is the
one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Last Chance

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Thomas Jefferson

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(Downy woodpecker / Julie Cook / 2014)

“The last minute is finally here”
“Hurry, hurry, hurry”
“Last chance”
“Hurry it’s not too late”
“Save, Save, Save”
“Order by midnight and it’ll be there by Christmas”
“On time delivery, Guaranteed”

The promises
The promotions
The gimmicks
The pitches
On and on and on they go
The Television ads
The inundated email inbox
The glaring newspaper ads
The annoying radio spots
On and on and on
Ode to the frantic consumerism of Christmas
Prices slashed
Promises made
Guarantees guaranteed

Everyone seems to be vying for your business.
Stores are offering deals, savings, price cuts and rapid deliveries at almost super human speed.
There’s a franticness in the air.
A do or die sort of mentality.
All as the “last minute” fast approaches.

And what is this last minute business of which we are hearing so much about?
Is it the single final millisecond remaining to buy a loved one something that will “make their life??”
Because who wants to wake up Christmas morning disappointed because someone waited too late?
Is that what this is all about?
Disappointment?
Not having the latest and greatest?
No latest this or that waiting under the tree, hiding beneath the pretty paper and bows,
nestled gently in a stocking?
Does it mean we are loved any less?
Or is it that those we love, must not love us as much if they didn’t brave the madness or act quickly enough to get us our heart’s desire?
Making us not worth it?
Not worthy of time, effort or money?
Hummmm. . .

All sounds a bit trite really.
A bit empty.

There is, however, one gift waiting.
Not so much under a tree or nestled in a stocking or wrapped up in a pretty box.
Nor is it still sitting on the shelf at the store.
Or riding around on some UPS truck.
Or costing an arm and a leg to buy.
It neither sparkles, shines, whirs or buzzes.
Its price has not been slashed in half.
No loud voices are screaming for one and all to come in NOW, as time is quickly running out.

No this is not that kind of gift.

This gift breathes life.
It’s a gift offering fulfillment, love, hope.
It is a gift that will not break, tarnish or become quickly obsolete.

The gift whispers to us from just beyond the sparkles and the lights.
Just beyond the carols and the cookies. . .
Well beyond Santa’s sack and sleigh. . .

“Beloved, I am here” it can be heard to coo.
Quietly behind the noise.
Waiting away from the glaring lights.
Sitting without pretty papers and bows.

We are told it comes with no price tag or drastic sales cut.
It has no pitchman hawking in a buyer’s market.
It does not insist that you must come NOW although it would prefer that you do.
It can wait, it’s already been waiting on you most of your life.
And it will continue to wait for you.
As it does not need to be shipped overnight as a guarantee.
For there is no magic cut off day or time. . .

For simply it states “I am here, waiting, when you are ready.”

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

The only option for the journey… hope.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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(arbor walkway Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012

It’s the alarm again. . .5:00, 4:30, 4:00, 5:30 –all of the A.M. variety.
It’s Monday or is it Tuesday? I know it’s not Friday, I’d know if it was Friday.
It’s cold.
It’s dark.
Is it raining, do I hear rain? Grrreeat. . .
Pull the covers up.
The bathroom. I need to go to the bathroom.
D@%n-it!!
Ok, ok, I’m up–don’t you see, I’m up already.
Ugh, my feet. Oh they hurt.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this another morning.
I’m not doing this another morning!!

And so it goes.
Morning after morning. Day after day.
This is Life and Life is, for better or worse, a journey.
A long tiring journey.
–Or—
For some, perhaps the journey is far too short.
Time is limited. Deadlines loom, prognosis loom, the ending looms. . .
Depends on who you ask.

And yet we can’t seem to wait for the weekend, or for tomorrow, or for next week, or for the end of the week. . .
–Or–
For some, they don’t want it to be the end of the week, the end of the day, the end of a weekend, or simply not even tomorrow.
Depends on who you ask.

Life is a journey.
It starts the day we are born. . .no, better yet, actually it starts when we are conceived.
It doesn’t end until the day we die. . .no, better yet, that isn’t the end–but then again, I can’t speak to that part as I’ve not gotten that far. . .
But what I do know is that life is indeed a journey.
And there are day’s I’ve been on better journeys.

Yet delightfully each morning, each blessed beautiful brand new morning, hurting bones or not, there is something new, something unknown.
No one can tell me what this day will hold as no one has lived it yet. Oh we can guess given what transpired yesterday, the day before, but still, no one is certain, no one can say for sure what this day holds, what it entails.
There is a bit of mystery here as this is the unknown.
Uncharted waters.
New.

And so it is on this brand new morning to a brand new day to this brand new week, still in the beginnings of a brand new year, I wish for you a journey.
A journey new and full of discovery.
A journey of hope—as that is what each new morning offers to you, as it offers to me, a gift of hope.

Despite any dreary prediction for a new day— be it poor weather, dreaded meetings, unavoidable tests, undesirable appointments. . . no one, not any living soul, knows what is in store for any of us—as no one can see to the other side of the day. Thankfully no one can see.
We may not have much offered to us in this world but one thing is certain. . .just as it is one of the unalienable truths about life, we all have hope–each living breathing person is offered hope.
As hope does not discriminate. It knows not color, race, religion, sex, status, finances, education, geography. . .hope is offered to us all.
Thankfully there is always hope. . . the mere act of a sunrise is testament alone to that single undeniable truth.

So as you start the new journey of this new day, this new week, this new year—go forward, go forward with hope. It’s the only true guarantee any of us is given each new morning.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5