December 10, 2008

Teachers, Polishers, SUVs in the Pulpit?

"Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?" -- Walt Whitman

"Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me." -- Psalm 144:1,2 (NIV)

I am reminding myself of how God uses offensive people and situations to teach and polish me.

On one of my favorite blogs, What About Our Daughters?, a recent post described a worship service in a Detroit church. Three large SUVs were placed in the church's pulpit and those in attendance prayed for the U.S. Congress to save the American auto industry from unwanted changes and a possible demise.

Well, for the record, I am in favor of saving the Big 3. The industry needs serious restructuring and government oversight, but I don't think it should be allowed to fail. Placing SUVs in the sanctuary just seems like an exercise in poor taste and a failure to see and understand the true source of our provision.

Do we need to be reminded? Perhaps I do. In God I live, move, and have my being. I will be guided, cared for, and protected throughout all of the changes waiting for me in 2009 and beyond. I may have to re-tool my priorities, my time, and my attention to see, understand, and accept God's provision. As I work on making these changes, I can rest assured of God's love and care for me and for those around me.

My teachers and polishers have been active this year. Whitman's statement is true: I have learned at least as much from those who have fought me and challenged me as I have learned from those who smiled at me and said "yes" to my requests. I am carrying this thought with me into Christmas celebrations and the new year.

I expect to experience teaching and polishing. I cannot live without the growth that comes when someone forces me to take a stand and pursue right in the midst of difficulties. hostilities, and uncertainties. Human muscle is made stronger through the exercise that breaks down and rebuilds tissue. Spiritual growth often happens in the same way.

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