Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Durn nuisance!

Life happens. I am a little cranky today. Could it be because of the money we just put out for 2 new heaters and an ac unit in our hacienda?

Or perhaps the cost of repairing the bumper on my teenage son's truck after his fender-bender on Monday?

Could it be that it is sooo hot?

Or that I am coveting my neighbor's yard of the month sign?

Or that my quarterly taxes need to be paid?

Those are all annoyances, but the real nuisance for today is interference.

The ladies in recovery were not allowed to attend church on Sunday. Not a single one of them! The entire facility is on quarantine because of a particular health issue. On Monday, the volunteer coordinator informed me my volunteers and I would not be allowed to teach class on Wednesday. That definitely qualifies as standing on my air hose! I quickly made a few calls to staff at the facility, including the RN who assured me she didn't see why we couldn't be there. But dealing with these social workers can be such a bureaucratic nightmare! Today, I received confirmation that we absolutely would NOT be allowed in the facility tomorrow.

Bummer! Really, big, huge bummer.

I really wanted to play the tenacity card and make more phone calls. And I should have. In fact, I'm regretting it right now as I type these words. I have tried to position myself as an advocate of sorts for the women. But at the moment, I am feeling entirely powerless to effect any change.

It's a durn nuisance!

God is in control.

I needed to spend about an hour tonight putting the finishing touches on the lesson for tomorrow. Ironically (or perhaps I should say appropriately enough) the "gist" of it is, Peace and Joy Beyond Circumstance.

Since I can't share the message with my ladies tomorrow, I'll write a few comments about it here. Peace and joy are our inheritance from God. They are ours to enjoy today. God is a god of joy. How else would he want us to live but with joy? Outrageous, contagious joy?

I have to believe that God really is in control and that his will for me really is a good thing. And in those moments when we are tapping our foot and muttering indignantly, "Well, God, where's the joy in this circumstance?" we can remember God's ultimate promise: I will never forsake you.

There is a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness; a kingdom of spirit and a kingdom of flesh; a kingdom of truth and a kingdom of lies. The line is drawn in the dirt. We have to wake up everyday and decide which side of the line we're going to live on.

I know it feels sometimes as if someone is moving the line. That's just our limited human understanding trying to grasp and process what is in front of us, yet beyond us.

Yes, there is darkness in the world. It expresses itself in many ways, including quarantines that take away the few things my girls have to look forward to. But Jesus is clear on one point: "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

As the Christian artist/singer Mandisa says:

Cause it's only the world I'm living in
It's only today I've been given
There ain't no way I'm giving in
Cause it's only the world (oh cause it's only the world)
I know the best is still yet to come
Cause even when my days in the world are done
There's gonna be so much more than only the world for me
Do do do do do do do do do, yeah its only the world (o cause its only the world)

Life and all its silly details can be a durn nuisance. So I must choose -- focus on the nuisances, or push them aside. Let's face it, most of them don't deserve an ounce of my energy anyway.

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