I hope each of you had a great Spring Break. Ideally you would have come back energized and refreshed, ready to tackle the gathering challenges of a few more weeks left of school. It never ceases to amaze me how the pace of classes seems to quadruple once the end is in sight. Hang in there. You really only have a few brief weeks left. Take a deep breath; you can do it.
This Thursday we are beginning a new study based upon the book Who Moved My Cheese. This should be particularly helpful for those looking at major life changes in the next few months (i.e. graduation), or even those who are still trying to figure out what happened to their sanity when the made the leap to college. Change is a regular part of life. We will look at the ways God helps us not just survive it, but thrive because of it. Look forward to seeing you at 7pm this Thursday night!
Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:
Last week a group of students and I rented a van (Honda Odysseys are nice!) and headed to Mississippi for Spring Break. Several years ago a trip like that would have been filled with beaches, fun in the sun, relaxation, and a time of taking a siesta from the daily grind of college life. Because of the devastation of hurricane Katrina last summer, we were heading south to make a difference.
I just have to say that getting out of my comfort zone, doing some hard labor, and getting covered in the leftover mess of someone else’s hurricane . . . is perhaps the coolest experience I’ve ever had. We arrived in Ocean Springs, Mississippi with nothing but work clothes and willingness. We didn’t even have tools. But the crew leaders told us, and later showed us, that availability is enough. We were enough. Without experience. Without skills. Without knowledge. We were enough to help bring hope to people’s lives. It still astounds me when I consider it.
Mostly we tore things out. Old trees, old drywall, old nails, old insulation, old mold. (One afternoon we did get to hang sheet rock; that was cool!) In these flood ravaged houses, everything had to be stripped down and out so that something new could be restored. The old and damaged had to be removed. What was left had to be sanitized. And only after all remaining traces mold were gone could rebuilding begin.
What the crew leaders often found as they went into houses is that some of the mold pre-dated the storm. Sometimes it was caused by a leaky water heater. As I pondered this remark it made me think of our lives. Sometimes it takes storms to reveal the state of our hearts, just like the hurricanes revealed what was really going on under the sheet rock in people’s homes. I hate it, but it is true. It’s the bad stuff in life that shows where we really are in our walks with the Lord. Someone said to me one time that many people believe themselves to be holy when really they are just happy. It’s hard to be holy, Christ like, when hardships are introduced. It’s hard to love the world that Jesus died to save, when that same world is knocking our lives over.
What brings me so much hope is that the cleansing of the Lord’s love is so faithful. God is able to clean and sanitize our lives, rebuild and restore us, just as willing volunteers have begun the work of rebuilding the Gulf Coast. And the miracle of grace is that the Lord sends us help we often aren’t looking for. One of the neatest things we did was walk around a neighborhood looking for random yard debris. Often the folks who had their yards cleaned out weren’t even home. And the one’s who were home had not expected to see us show up. Wow.
I want to invite you to live this challenge with me: 1) Be available. The Bible says that the harvest is plentiful for the laborers are few (Luke 10:2). Volunteer to be a laborer in the harvest. The Lord of the harvest will show you what to do. 2) Be courageous. When the storms of life come, be willing to let the Lord use it to refresh and restore who you are, even if it means seeing the truth of what lies behind the walls in your heart. Allow the Lord to turn bad things into good things, even as Scripture says (Romans 8:28). 3) Be hopeful. This make take the most availability and courage of all. When the storms hit, it is so easy to just give up. If people who have lost everything can find hope in the unexpected gift of drywall, we can trust God to bring us what we need too. Know that God is able to do a new and beautiful thing. I love His promise found in the book of Joel (2:25): “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.