March 22, 2016

We have a cat.  His name is Yoda and he’s 17 or 18 years old.  He actually belongs to my son David, but David has come and gone several times in the past two decades and we get the honor and deep, deep privilege of living with Yoda.  Did I mention what a deep privilege it is to have DAVID’S cat?  Ellen really likes him (the cat that is).  Others who live in our house (me) tolerate him (the cat that is).  Yoda has taken to blessing us in recent years with regular puddles of vomit.  Thankfully, he is considerate enough not to do it on the bare floors lest it might be slippery so most of the time he makes sure there is a carpet under his feet when he barfs, yaks, ralphs… you get it right?  We have been told that this “heaving” problem (you can’t imagine the number of words for this relatively simple act) is a result of “stress.”  And for sure I can see why that might be.  After all he sleeps 18 hours a day and eats and defecates for 15 minutes or so.  Then the other 5 hours and 45 minutes are reserved for resting up after all that work and sleep.  STRESS?  NO KIDDING!!!!  I’m told that we are really going to miss him when he is gone… um… yeah I’m… uh… sure “we” will.

Did you know that “stress” is one of THE top issues that plagues young people in our country?  Seriously… STRESS!!  On one hand, it’s easy to ask, “Why?”  On the other hand, it’s about all they see modeled by adults so it must be the way we are called to live our lives, right?  Whether we like it or not and whether young people want to acknowledge it or not, they emulate adults.  Is it any wonder that many abusers come from abusive homes; alcoholics from homes with alcoholic parents; smokers whose parents smoke; foul mouthed kids from foul mouthed adults; critical kids from critical adults; unchurched kids from unchurched parents; divorce begets divorce… the list is endless.  Of course this principle is not true for EVERY family… just most.  Whether we like it or not, our kids will “become and do” much of what they see from us.  We live under the delusion that prosperity will bring about peace and lack of stress.  Wow, how naïve we are!  The truth is, prosperity only brings about a desire for more prosperity.  The wealthy want more wealth.  The middle classes want more wealth.  The poor want more wealth.  We are all into the dream.  And yet we are also plagued by STRESS no matter our socioeconomic status.

Don’t get me wrong… I have my own addiction to stress.  I love it.  I love it so much that I think about it often and I stay awake at night pondering it.  I succumb my body to the ravages of stress and allow my diabetes to be fed by it.  Yep… I just flat out love STRESS!  I must, right?  If I didn’t I might focus on more profitable/valuable things in my life.  But nope… stress is my PASSION and my HOBBY.  I know, I know… what could a minister have to stress over?  That’s just the point… I love it so much that I seek out things to stress about.  Even things that aren’t current!  I’m good at it.  Sorry let me clarify… I’m GREAT at it!

Well, maybe enough of that.  What is this stress thing about anyway?  I suspect that for Believers it has something to do with “who’s driving the bus,” i.e., do we trust the bus driver or not.  Do you know what I mean?  Personally I am not a good passenger.  When I’m sitting in the right hand seat of an automobile I often leave finger prints behind on the dashboard.  Or my foot prints permanently embedded in the floor.  I’m much better about the whole thing if I can steer and operate the gas pedal and brake myself.  I guess one might say it’s a little bit of a control problem… a little bit.

If Jesus drives the bus of my life, why am I so stressed?  Because I don’t trust Him.  Don’t fuss at me… I know!  That being said, what’s your excuse!?  Honestly sometimes I’m better at being a passenger in the bus than at other times.  Occasionally I want to drive and that’s almost always a disaster.  How do we learn to trust God?  How do we?  I only know of one way.  We must come to the place in our faith where we understand that IN THE LONG RUN God has the best things in mind for His children.  But like our own children, sometimes that is a painful process filled with uncertainty and lack of understanding.  Two year olds just don’t know why they can’t put a fork in the wall socket.  Nor will they likely learn.  They just know that trying it brings a strong and sometimes painful reaction from adults.

Maybe you don’t like stress as much as I apparently do.  Or maybe you do?  If so, let me encourage you to allow Jesus to drive the bus.  Even when you’re grabbing the seat in front of you and pushing your foot through the floor… let Him drive.  I know that my life is so much better on those occasions when I sit back and enjoy (or not) the ride.  Trust God.  The alternatives are hopeless and… well… stressful.

Gotta run.

“YODA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  GET OFF OF THE CARPET!”



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