MAKING U-TURNS

 

     Back in the 80’s I lived and taught in the country of Spain for a semester.  I was assigned to our Bible College in Guadalajara, but I lived in the lovely old city of Azuqueca on the way to Madrid, which meant that I had a commute each day.

Once I reached the highway from the city center, where I lived, it was a straight shot to the school just off the same highway.  However, coming home was a different matter.  As I reached the outskirts of the city, I realized that I did not know which exit to take.  Along the highway, to my left, was a wall, which impeded the possibility of spotting anything that looked familiar, so I just kept driving.  Before I knew it, I had passed the city and was headed toward Madrid.  I Knew I had to turn around, so at the next intersection, I looked carefully to make sure that a U-Turn was not prohibited.  Seeing no such sign, I swung around and headed back hoping to find my way home.

Immediately a phalanx of motorcycle cops roared up behind me.  With lights flashing and sirens blaring, they pulled me over.  I didn’t speak Spanish and they didn’t speak English.  When English didn’t work for me, I automatically resorted to French, but they didn’t understand that either.  With arms waving and voices raised, we tried to explain to each other, but without any success

Finally, giving up, they motioned for me to follow them.  Leading me to the far edge of the city they stopped at a hotel and insisted that I go in.  What now?  By then I was totally confused, and not a little bit afraid, having no idea what was happening.  To my surprise, there we found a clerk who spoke French.  I explained my predicament to him, and he explained it to the officers.

“There was no sign prohibiting a U-Turn,” I told him.

“O, Yes,” said the officer.  “It is posted on the wall at the side of the highway.”

It was partially covered with vines, to be sure, but that seemed to make no difference.

So, I had broken the law, and there was a fine to be paid.

“Seven thousand Pesetas,” the officer informed me.  Then with a sweet smile, he said kindly, “You can just give it to me.  You won’t have to go back into the city to the court.”

He didn’t fool me.  I knew he would pocket the money, but I just wanted it to be over.  So he got the $47.00 that I could ill afford, and I got to go home.

I guess I’ve been thinking about U-Turns, because this is the time of the year when many people take stock of their lives, and determine to make changes.  We make resolutions about what we will no longer do, and what we will begin doing.  Most people never get off base with New Year’s resolutions.  They may make a feeble try, but that is as far is it goes.

However, sometimes in this life one is required to make a complete U-Turn in order to get back on track.  When you honestly examine your life and discover that you are going in the wrong direction, it is time to make changes.  It is time to turn around.  It’s time to go back to the place where you first got off track and start all over again.

In Revelation 2:5, God says, “…turn back to me again and work as you did before…”

Jeremiah puts it this way, “Stand in the way and see.  Ask where the good road is, the godly paths you used to walk in…Travel there, and you will find rest for your soul.”

Turning around or turning back is not an easy decision to make.  You will always be tempted to try a different route, a short cut, hoping by chance to finally make it.

Once the decision is made you are still not home free for the enemy of your soul will not be happy that you are determined to get things right.  He will jump on his motor cycle and chase you down with flashing lights and blaring sirens.  He will try to convince you that you are wrong, and will attempt to entice you with all manner of goodies.  He may not charge you 7000 Pesetas, but this kind of decision, nevertheless, will cost you.  It will cost you strength and determination and dedication and the old way of life.

BE ENCOURAGED!!!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message) says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.”

I pray that 2019 will be the best year you’ve ever had.

 

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow

WHAT CAN I BRING HIM

 

Just so you know.  I have not abandoned ship.  However, I am only steaming ahead at about 3 knots per hour, certainly far from full speed.

2018 has been a difficult year.  In July I had a complete knee revision.  When that did not relieve the terrible pain I had suffered for many months, I underwent a total and successful hip replacement.  Thank God, the pain vanished, and I was home free.  Well, not quite!

It seems that the wound was not healing as expected and I had a swelling on my hip the size of a cantaloupe.   A wound vacuum would take care of the drainage promoting a speedier recovery.  So—I was hooked up to this little miracle worker.  That was five weeks ago, and I am still hooked up with no end in sight.

My comedic home health nurse, who interjects scripture at appropriate or inappropriate places, in our conversation, comes three times a week.  When I asked, “How long,” he answered, “Two weeks.”  A week later, I asked again, and the answer was, “Two weeks.”  Did you lie to me I asked?  Truth is he has no idea how long it will take to heal.

Now, I love Christmas and almost everything about it, but this heavy device with its long ugly tubing greatly hampers any preparation I might make.  So, I just figured there wouldn’t be any Christmas this year—not at my house.  Did I feel sorry for me?  Absolutely!

Then a quiet voice whispered.  “You’re too late.  You can’t cancel Christmas.  It happened two thousand years ago with that baby in the manger.  Christmas is perpetual.  It is an ongoing miracle.  Just because there is no wreath on your door, and the aroma of baked goodies does not fill your house, still, Jesus has come and Christmas is here.  Get over yourself.

Mulling this thought over for awhile and deciding that it took too much energy to feel sorry for me I hung this monstrous contraption on the handle of my walker and wheeled to my Christmas closet.  Stacking the walker seat high with Christmas stuff I turned the TV to a Christmas music channel, and when I put the red cloth on the table and placed the poinsettia pillows on the sofa, I knew I could do this.  It would be a little late and not quite so elaborate this year, but you can’t stop Christmas, because Jesus has come.

I thought of this wondrous gift God gave to a dark and sinful world—a gift He gave to me—a gift that surpasses all others.  Then, the question came.  What can I bring Him in return?  What do I have that is worthy of Him?

Reading through the Old Testament almost to the end I came across Micah 6:6-8.  “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God.” (Shall I bring Him a burnt offering, a year old calf, a thousand rams, rivers of oil, or the fruit of my body?)  None of that seems adequate or worthy of Him.

WHAT SHALL I BRING HIM?

Micah asks, “What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  That’s what He wants from me.

I figure, if I can give this gift back to Him, even without all the familiar trappings, 2018 will be the most spectacular Christmas I have ever experienced.

Think about it.  The tree is gorgeous, packages are lovely, baking cookies smell great, but the reality of Christmas is Jesus’ advent 2000 years ago.

He is your ultimate Christmas gift.  What will you give Him in return?

So, dear friend, I wish you a joyful Christmas and a heightened awareness of His presence in your life.

 

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow