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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lemonade, The Lighthouse, And The Drawbridge

Public Domain License -- South Haven Lighthouse Pier Lake Michigan
GypsyOwl's 40 Day Journey continues to be an experience of faith and renewal.  A time to learn about myself and the world around me.  A time of contemplation and learning to trust in a power who often times feels just out of reach.

Sometimes I would feel God wasn't really interested in my life. Partly because I often felt my life was so ordinary and perhaps I felt there were surely better things for Him to be doing in the world.

The truth couldn't be farther from my thinking.  The truth is God is interested in my life and those of each of His children in more ways than I will ever comprehend.  He truly loves and cares for us and He has set into motion a life of joy and challenge.  Challenge can help us grow and each measure of challenge is balanced with the same measure of joy as long as we allow it.

There is a saying I am not sure anymore who to attribute it to which says "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" and I believe this is true as well as symbolical for understanding balance.  The lemonade is a symbol of adapting as well as balance.  It is true we should learn to adapt to the world around us... this is an attribute which we need to survive the winds of change.  However, what happens when we take that too far can be disastrous.

You may recall a story about Hellen Keller which I am reminded of this morning.  The deaf girl's family adapted to her disability.  They began to give her everything she wanted or what they perceived she wanted to the point she was a spoiled and frustrated child.  When the new teacher arrived, the deaf girl was given a lesson in discipline which required her to learn, and to do for herself that which she could do or could be taught.

In short, The teacher taught her how to make a good, meaningful, and joyful cup of lemonade with the lemons she had received.  The parents, however well meaning, had only taught her the bitter side of the challenge.  The teacher taught her how to balance the challenge with joy and showed her the skills she would need to allow this joy to live in balance with the same measure of challenge.

The Lighthouse
We all could use a little guidance now and then when the waves are crashing against the rocks and the world seems to be pressing us with decisions to make regarding our path in life.  So where do we find this wisdom we need to learn to balance our lives with challenge as well as joy? The bible says:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, 
who gives generously to all without finding fault, 
and it will be given to you.  
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, 
because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, 
blown and tossed by the wind."
James 1:5, 6 (NIV)

When we are looking for wisdom and guidance we will be given the answers generously when we ask believing our prayers are answered.  To be honest, doubt will make its way into my thinking.  I will begin to doubt if the guidance I am feeling is God or is it me.  

I recall a discussion I was having (with myself and God) while driving which went a little bit like this... "When I think you are showing me wisdom how do I know it is really you?" and I felt the answer: 

"Think about how the answer you think I'm telling you would balance, or not balance, the measure of challenge and joy in your life as well as the life of others."

This answer was something to ponder.  I believe as I learn how to use that answer in situations I will come to have discernment and with a bit more confidence.  The Bible says:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5,6

The Drawbridge
When the ships coming through the harbor are too tall to pass under the bridge the bridge will adapt by drawing open.  The motorist traffic on the bridge is temporarily detained while the large ship makes its way past the bridge.  This is a challenge and a joy for everyone who takes the time to see the balance.  

The challenge for the motorists is waiting for the larger ship to maneuver under the bridge.  The joy for the motorists is they might have a few moments in their busy day when they have no choice but to stop and wait and perhaps this moment of waiting gives them an opportunity to think of something they wouldn't have noticed during the hustle and bustle of day to day busy-ness.

The challenge for the ship is to maneuver past the bridge's structure.  Even with the well designed drawbridge construction there are sure to be obstacles which if not taken into consideration could make the ship's effort problematic.  The joy, measure for measure, for the ship and her crew is to accomplish the task and be able to relax until the next challenge presents itself.

To Be Continued...
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  1. Your bridge theme fits your journey perfectly!
    And yes, without challenges, we cannot experience the joy of victory!
    Wow! what a post!

  2. Many years ago I was at bible college for a short time. One of the tutors used to say 'We can't be overcomers unless we have something to overcome!'. As life goes on I realize how true this is. But there have been times it feels as if I cannot take a step further. The problems and pain of life seems to be too much.

    I lost my health in 2005 which meant I had to give up work. It was tough. I loved my work. But I manage to trust God in it, believing that everything that happens in our lives has a purpose, and every life experience is a lesson and a way of shaping me to be more like Jesus.

    But then in 2008 my eldest son died in a accident, he was 25 years old. I have written about it here . This has been the biggest challenge to my faith.

    How do you find meaning in the loss of your child? How can you see 'good' in something that is evil? It's a struggle. It challenges your faith deep to the core. One thing I decided early on was that I would not allow it to make me bitter. I know God is more loving and gracious than we often give Him credit for and this has sustained me.

    I cannot see a day when I can see the loss of my son as being good. We live in a world where bad stuff happens and there are no easy answers as to why they happen. But I do know that God is faithful, and he is upholding me.

    Sometimes turning lemons into lemonade is a very painful and a very long process. But what we can be sure of is that God is there in the midst of it, upholding us and sustaining us. Even when we cannot feel His presence and feel we have strayed far away, still he is there. Being in his hands is the safest place to be.

  3. Challenges do seem to open the door to new beginnings and a time to learn, expand and grow. Thanks for sharing the significance around the turning lemons into lemonade because it can have a greater meaning to each situation or journey that we are in.