Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bad with the good

I did a service project this morning with other members of my Kiwanis club at a nearby park. We were picking up litter, repainting grills, disinfecting playground equipment, etc. I spent my token two hours bending over and picking up garbage. I know my smaller back will suffer for this later, but it beat the alternative of bending my knees and squatting down. My knees have been creakier than usual lately and I didn't want to aggravate them anymore. I know it's because of some of the exercise choices I make, but hey, it's not changing my regimen ... you gotta take the bad with the good.

We got home early enough that I could still knock out a 2 1/2 mile run (speaking of those creaky knees). It was a cool 62 degrees with a moderate breeze. Sunshine. Birds. Flowers. Absolutely beautiful running environment! I saw a man on the trail who apparently buys into the bad with the good philosophy. He was pushing his baby in the stroller with one hand and carrying a golf club in the other. (Obviously, he had stopped to drive a few balls.) His dog was along for the walk as well. I was impressed -- this was the most memorable exhibition of male multi-tasking I have ever seen. If you count the fact that he was also making his wife happy by taking the baby out of the house, that's technically 4 things he was doing at once. Wow!

We had a staff change at our church in the last week, with our youth director deciding it was time for greener pastures. Suddenly, I find I have all these extra responsibilities in my life as several of us "common folk" pool our resources together to try to keep the youth program afloat. I have been amazed by other related turns of events that the Lord has directed in the last few days. Bad with the good, no doubt about it.

Tonight I am going to a gala benefiting the organization where I teach the weekly Bible study. Our church has purchased a table and we are bound and determined to put in face time with the powers that be. I confess I have several names in my head that I hope to press palms with tonight. I'm trusting God for an opportunity to bend one ear in particular concerning the seemingly frustrating and unfair lock down policy at the facility. I have learned that it is difficult at times to do business with social workers, especially if you are viewed as a meddling outsider who doesn't really know what she is talking about. Of course, I don't think I'm viewed that way, but the risk of it is there all the same. No, they know I have chosen to put myself in that facility 50 weeks a year for the last 2 1/2 years. I trust they believe that I have the best interest of the ladies at heart. And I know the Lord has gifted me with some degree of finesse, charisma and charm when gently trying to wield my way with others. Given the administrative parameters that my ministry operates under at this particular facility, we often have to fly by the seat of our pants. We have to accept the bad with the good. And that's OK.

Shoot, look around. Look at all the people God has to deal with 24/7. Talk about taking the bad with the good! Any many of us flip-flop that position of bad and good on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.

Further more, we often have a short-sightedness about us when labeling situations, conditions or predicaments as bad and good. What I see as bad ... you know the rest. There are many things about the way God operates that I don't fully understand, but one that I do is this: God can take any bad and redeem it, making it into a good. Let's face it, it's one thing to create a good situation out of nothingness. But to take something that is bad, catastrophic, immobilizing, devastating or otherwise distressing and transform it into something not just tolerable but magnificent, beautiful, awesome, glorious, splendid or brilliant? That's God at His best.

Walking with God means accepting the bad with the good? Yes. Living for God means seeing him convert the bad to good? Yes. What else would we expect from an loving, merciful God who makes all things new?

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