Sunday, March 25, 2018

 Reflections from the Home Team, March 25, 2018

“It’s important to be aware when unfair circumstances of others make us uncomfortable, I believe that’s the seed of Jesus’s compassionate heart nudging us to do something about it…”

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

Well, I guess spring is right around the corner and I’m thinking sunshine and warm temps as I finish cleaning up the 12 inches of heavy, wet snow we received this past weekend. One thing about spring in Iowa is that we tend to get a sampling of nearly every type of weather...  Keeps us hardy and balanced!

I wanted to share a few thoughts today that have been on my mind as I’ve had the opportunity to visit with a number of folks over the past few weeks who have been struggling. As I visited in those unscripted conversations, my mind focused on learning to be joyful when things don’t go as I might like. It reminded me to pause and not begin my day determined to make everything go my way. 

Each day we will all most likely bump up against something that just doesn’t “yield to our will”. It could be as trivial as looking at our reflection in the mirror in the morning (sometimes scary for me) or as serious as a serious health concern (I can relate). If we are intent upon having our way in everything, we most assuredly will be frustrated much of the time. We shouldn’t waste our energy regretting things that have happened. My most important take away is that the past can’t be changed, and that we have God’s help in the present as well as His hope for the future.

One story recently shared with me by a young person following a presentation I gave really hit home for me…She shared that she and her mom were curled up on the couch one winter day when she was in elementary school, both suffering from a serious case of the flu. As they sat and colored pictures and fought aches and coughs, they watched a movie about a little girl in another country that found herself in a bad way.

She told her mom “I don’t want to watch this movie, mom, it’s making me uncomfortable.” She shared the movie was about a young girl who made history as a chess player in Uganda. Her life was anything but glamorous, and the “reality” of the young girl’s “reality” made her uncomfortable.

She shared her mom said “It’s important to be aware, and explained that when unfair circumstances of others make us uncomfortable, I believe that’s the seed of Jesus’s compassionate heart nudging us to do something about it… God pushes us out of our comfort zone to do some major work on our hearts. He can meet us with the flu on the couch in our comfortable family room, to teach us a lesson in compassion, gratefulness, and our duty to take care of each other on this earth.”  A wonderful lesson on awareness!  By being aware of the struggles people are experiencing around us, we can reach out with compassion, love and a listening ear to help take care of each other in those times of need, even if we may be feeling uncomfortable.

Another conversation I had a few weeks back was with a young man who I am following as a baseball prospect who told me that if he were a Major League baseball player, he would be thankful for every minute of every day. That certainly is a worthy goal to pursue, but I had to think to myself, no, you wouldn’t be thankful every minute of every day, because it’s all a matter of perspective…

 Millions of people in this world would be grateful to be able to turn on a faucet and have clean water come out, but how thankful are we when we do so? People risk their lives in some countries to vote.  Here we often hear people complain about how many political commercials are on television. (Guess maybe I’ve been guilty of that from time to time).  I’ve also witnessed many people that have been struggling with sickness or even a life threatening illness, who given their circumstance are treating others in what I might consider and “unloving way”.  Given their perspective, they may be reaching out for the compassion and love that those around them can help provide.

So yes, I’m sure that the young man I visited with would be thankful to be a Major League player… at least for a while.  Then he might wonder why he wasn’t playing more, or why he wasn’t making more money like some of the others he sees.  I will try to remember to be thankful for as much as I can each day, seeing the miracles that are present in my life while being thankful for them.  If we would start to look at the world like that, I think we might be surprised at what we see!

God does this not to make us feel guilty for our blessings or lazy for our lack of action. He pushes us out of our comfort zones with people’s “stories” to set us free. Having a heart of compassion that drives us to action sets us free. There is no commandment greater than to love each other, and we are living truly free when we are extensions of His love.

My conversations led me to think about the blessings that I can count in my life. It also shows me that I need to extend my hands and heart to those who need love and support. There are so many big things, little things, daily things that we can do to help others.  That is what my “Home Team” is all about, both human and divine. My “teammates” are there for me always, and I try my best to be there for them as well, no matter what!  As we are about to celebrate Easter, let it serve as a reminder of the greatest “teammate” we could ever ask for, that being Jesus.

As John 3:16 tells us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  God gave us Jesus so that He could be with us at all times, both good and bad; and, as a bonus, He loves us no matter what! 

Wishing you all a blessed Easter as we extend our hands and hearts to those who need our love and support!


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