There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Having had some well-deserved and much-needed downtime after a flurry of teaching classes this fall, I entered a period of fasting and praying following Christmas Day. I can remember when fasting was first introduced to us. I didn’t get it, in part because it was my first exposure to it through the scriptures (even though I grew up in church), and because I didn’t want to get it. How in the world did giving up food and other comforts of the flesh relate to Christian growth? Now I relish the time to sacrifice, and I have all kinds of excitement and anticipation about where my life will go as I complete this fast in 2007.
What has occurred to me over this time of reflection is how little people expect from God. I often hear Christians refer to the latter version as “keeping it real,” as if there is something fake or false about acknowledging Him as the source of our blessings. I’m not talking about beating people to death with the Bible, but about knowing that there is a larger force in my life that is without question my Lord and savior. God is still God in the midst of our most holy moments, or in the midst of our most “real” times when God seems far away. As a personal example, if 2004 was a year of drought, 2005 was a year of rain, and 2006 held even more rain for us. Over the years, through both the good and the bad, I’ve found a place of peace in know that all things really do work for good for the God lover who is called according to His purpose.
I had a chance to live this word not long ago. During Thanksgiving weekend we were in a fairly serious car accident while out of town. My husband swerved to miss a car in front of us, and we went crashing into a pole head-first. Well, the “keep it real” version of this story would focus in on the wreck, which was every bit as scary as it sounds. Then I’d talk about the car being totaled, us being out of town and having to remain in town longer than we planned, etc. My “keep it real” version includes all of that, but doesn’t focus on it. Just before the crash when I saw the pole growing ever closer, I yelled without thinking, “Jesus!” I am writing to tell you that other than a small cut on my husband’s arm from the air bag, we were totally unharmed. While we waited outside the car for the police, I reminded my husband that we had been praying for a new car, and I said, “Get excited!” That wasn’t pie-in-the-sky mumbo jumbo for me, or the right things to say; I was keeping it real. We walked with Him through a very smooth experience in getting a new car and in settling our insurance claim, and within a week we drove home a dream ride for me. That’s real, and that’s the version I tell everywhere I go.
As I anticipate things to come in the new year, I am expecting more rain. I welcome His peace, no matter what we go through. I am expecting blessings in unlikely places and through unlikely circumstances. Most of all, I plan to “keep it real,” telling my Christ-filled testimony as the Lord gives opportunity.