Waiting For Something?

what-are-you-waiting-forWhat are you planning to do “Someday”?

Apologize… Forgive … Give … Embrace? Pay Down Debt, Get Fit, Learn to Play Chess, Volunteer? Maybe it’s in your heart to volunteer with a ministry or start one? What has to happen before you actually do it?

  • Do the stars have to align?
  • Does God have to part the clouds, speak audibly?
  • Do you have to get a medical diagnosis that brings mortality into focus?
  • Does someone have to die?

Well, Someone already has.

Jesus died so that we might have life and have it to the full. He also got up from the grave and ever lives to see that His will is faithfully executed.

While it is called today, He wants us to believe Him and live because life is short.

I went to the Y today and someone else was seated in John’s place. John, a fixture at the front desk for years, was a slender man with hands frozen in such a way that his fingers did not easily grasp. Yet, he managed to pleasantly swipe entry cards and hand out locker tokens. I didn’t think much of his absence until I checked out an hour later. There was John’s picture on a funeral service program. He died 5 days ago.

Had I planned to say something important to John, my opportunity has vanished. That’s why it’s important to “Say What You Need to Say,” as singer John Mayer wrote.

God did not give us life for us to sit around waiting for Someday — when everything is nice, tidy, and perfect—before we start living the life we were created for. Life is messy, and we might never feel ready, but the day we hear God speaking, that is the time to act.

When it was God’s timing for His people to enter the Promised Land, they refused to go. Seeing themselves as grasshoppers being sent to face giants, they were paralyzed by fear. The result? That whole generation (save Caleb and Joshua) died in the wilderness, a dry desolate place when a land flowing with milk and honey was theirs for the taking.

If God says Someday is Today, we want to get in agreement with Him.

So if it’s in your heart to learn to ski, move in that direction. Read about skiing. Get in shape to ski. Meet other ski-minded people. See what God might do.

Prompted to pray more? Get in the Bible. How did Jesus and His disciples pray? Look for opportunities to pray. Ask God for some prayer partners and pray with them.

Need to ask for forgiveness? Humble yourself; pray for God’s timing and make the call, make the visit or send the email. It’s our obedience and not the outcome that matters.

Almost nothing just happens. Expect to put some effort into your “Someday.” In my 49th year, I set a deadline to run a half marathon: before I turned 50. Then I prayerfully planned. I joined a training group, ran and cross-trained on a disciplined schedule. When it got tough – as anything worthwhile eventually will – I persevered. I got injured; I got therapy. I kept running. When race day came, I completed the race.

Now I am learning to swim, fulfilling a “Someday” promise made to my children (all swimmers) long ago. I don’t swim in the deep yet, and I don’t swim expertly. I am not even sure I like swimming! But I am in the pool and swimming as best I can at this point. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Someday I’ll be a lap swimmer. But it won’t happen if I don’t work at it now.

In realizing a few “Somedays,” I’ve learned that we are capable of more than we might think because the God who called us to Himself is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask, think or imagine according to the power that works in us, His Holy Spirit. All He wants from us is our cooperation.

Our days on this earth are numbered. Let’s make the most of them by conquering our fears, dropping our excuses and getting on with the business of living. What are we waiting for?

Got Commitment?

I’m a fan of the old Journey song “Faithfully” with front-man Steve Perry and with good reason. I’ve been married for a generation and appreciate what it means to stay in a relationship and work through the kinks. 

Even so, being married doesn’t exempt anyone from being tempted to take a second, romantic look at someone other than the spouse. In that fleeting moment of temporary insanity that other person may seem more this, that or something than what’s waiting at home.

If it ends with a look, no harm done. “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin,” goes the hymn. Marriage, after all, is commitment, not blindness. But how committed to marriage are we 21st century dwellers, really?

I recently stumbled upon a NY Times “Modern Love” column headlined: “You May Call It Cheating, but We Don’t” in which the married columnist recounts kissing a family friend over drinks in her husband’s absence. 

The friend broke off the kiss, anxious that he’d be unable to look the husband in the eye later, and chided himself for going around kissing women who are “unavailable.” The columnist, on the other hand, considered herself available, insisting her husband of 12 years wouldn’t have objected. Their marriage is monogamous, she wrote, but with “a small asterisk on [her] part.”

The asterisk is modern marriage as a convenience that begins with a few hastily spoken words (the vows), moves to a big party (the wedding reception) and climaxes – no pun intended – with conjugal rights that too often were enjoyed long before anyone said “I do.”

When marriage* becomes inconvenient, annoying or just plain boring, the aggrieved party is open to other options.

Contrast this with biblical marriage as the once-for-all,  “one-flesh” experience God described to Adam and his bride Eve. It’s a relationship that depicts Christ’s faithfulness and unbroken union with His bride, the church, for whom He will return one day and “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 

Do we really believe in this kind of marriage anymore?

About six years ago George Barna reported on the waning conventional morality, a consensus about right and wrong, good and evil. People in their 20s and 30s eschew such moral absolutes, living instead by a personal situational ethic: “what’s right for you.”

No surprise then that the Times column went on to praise the modern indulgence in cuckoldry. Historically, to be a cuckold was to be the disgraced husband of an adulteress, which sometimes led to deadly duels demanded by husbands who considered the marriage bed inviolate and an intruder worthy of death.

Sadly, what once was scorned, according to the Times article, is now celebrated as a sporting way to keep marriage interesting. The 1970s-era practice of couples “swinging” is making a comeback. 

Christians are called to break ranks with the culture and to affirm marriage as exclusive. God calls us to faithfulness even if we’re bored in bed, repulsed by what used to attract or longing for affection the other party is physically incapable of giving. Christian marriage, real marriage, is finding a way to make the sex in that relationship work.

Finding a way may mean:

  • Getting wise counsel
  • Getting a physical exam
  • Getting in the Bible and on our knees
  • Getting over ourselves and embracing self-denial

Nobody can keep that kind of commitment to another human being — and not be filled with bitterness, anger and resentment — without first committing themselves to God. The author of marriage is the only One who can help us keep our commitment to it. 

Instinctively, we know that marriage isn’t to be violated on a whim no matter what the culture or our own libido tells us. We also know that commitment comes down to a decision.

After that kiss, the columnist’s male friend responded: “We shouldn’t do this. I should leave.”

And he left.