One of our favorite things to do as a family is go to the local park. There is so much to do, from swings to slides to playing in the sand, but by far one of my favorite pieces of equipment is the merry-go-round! Maybe it is because of childhood memories of my mom and dad taking me to the park where we would spend the afternoon having a picnic, riding the swings, and flying in dizzying circles on the merry-go-round. It has always held a soft place in my heart. Honestly, the merry-go-round is probably not one of the safest things on the playground, but who can stay away from its spinning, dizziness, speed, and no-safety-restraints goodness? Ahh, the memories. I vividly remember being spun by my parents and friends until the world whirled about at what felt like warp speed, and than jumping off onto the grass to lay on the ground to watch the world turn.
Spinning can be fun, but it can also have a dark side as well. Check out some fun video footage Jess and I took of S and E.
Have you ever felt like this in your life? Personally, I have been there many times. It can be a very unsettling place.
Satan would like nothing more than to lull us into complacency in our faith relationship with the many good things that fill our plate. As more and more is placed on our plate, the spinning revolves faster and faster. Pretty soon we are barreling ahead at an amazing clip. The spinning starts innocently enough. It is the “yes” to bring baked goods to an event at church. The “yes” to go to a friend’s house for supper. The “yes” to sitting in on a particular board. The “yes” to signing your kids or grandkids up for gymnastics, soccer, and baseball. The “yes” to volunteering an hour at a local establishment. These many “yes” moments are placed on top of the established commitments of church, work, and school, squeezing more and more of our God-time out of the picture. Do you feel dizzy yet?
The truth is, our many “yes” moments may truly be good in and of themselves, but when you add them all together, it can quickly spell trouble for all involved.
A passage of scripture that has been a great source of comfort for me lately, particularly during the spinning moments of life, is from Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. – Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11
I encourage you to take time during this season of Lent to slow down and really reflect on the journey Jesus went through on His way to the cross. This time of the Church year has always been a meaningful time for me because it helps to recenter me on the important things of life. I pray that this would be for you and your family a time of “being still” and slowing down to recenter on God. I encourage you, from now until Easter Sunday, to consider emptying one or two things from your plate to take that time to be still before God. As we journey with Jesus through Lent, I pray the Holy Spirit’s refreshing wind cover your spinning areas to strengthen you on your life’s journey. May you be reminded that Jesus’ journey did not end on the cross but continued on to an empty tomb and than into our lives through His divine gifts of Word and Sacrament. This is all grace: undeserved, unexpected, pure love freely given to us as gift.
For those who believe and follow the call of God from the cross, His supreme sacrifice and glorious resurrection from the tomb come crashing into our swirling lives to dig an anchor firmly into our teetering hearts that are seeped with self-gratification and pride. In this Easter moment, this glorious moment, the spinning stops! It is in this place that a new life, a redeemed life, begins! This does not mean He takes the spinning away, but it does mean His presence in the midst of our dizzying life.
So friend, take courage in knowing that in the midst of the moments when it seems earth is giving way, waters are roaring, and the mountains violently quake you to your core, be still and know that He is God. He is with you. He loves you. Trust Him, He is able!
On the journey with Jesus,