I spoke with my Dad yesterday. He's on the mend at his home in Phoenix after surgery to remove his gallbladder with a subsequent infection. He sounds good, and is slowly on the mend. A trip to see him when he says he is ready is probably in the offing.
Evan gave me The Shawshank Redemption, which is one of my favorite movies that I didn't have on DVD. It had been on my mind lately, especially for the tagline, which is simple and enduring:
Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
This was reinforced when I arrived at church this morning. Canyon View Vineyard has a group of very talented people on its' worship team, and the Matt Redman song that was part of our worship this morning sent the same critical message through me:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathPastor Kirk Yamaguchi had an equally compelling message on achieving greatness, not in the tangible sense but what truly makes a person great in God's eyes. He used Mark 9:30-37 to frame these three qualities:
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near
And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?
- Servant Leadership
- Putting others before ourselves
- A childlike faith
I seem to do just fine with practical issues that have a seemingly easy resolution in reasoning and action. Jan's illness was one of these things. After she passed away, it felt as if my ship of progress and dedication literally had the rudder shot away from it. This lack of direction and conviction led to half-hearted actions in many areas of my life, which have resulted in misunderstandings, heartache, and deterioration of those practical skills that I relied upon so much.
When presented with something interpersonal and intractable, without a practical resolution, it's been my tendency to withdraw and just see what happens, rather than try to be a proactive force for understanding, resolution, and sticking to the core values that scripture has been a big influence on. This has nearly cost me relationships with people that I love very much.
Having a chance to pray out loud on Father's Day, I would pray for those who I care deeply about and are fighting illness or other demons, for faith, understanding, and forgiveness.
I would pray for tolerance, civility, and open mindedness for those who display very little in their public persona.
I would also ask God for guidance in helping me to see the peace that comes with life in Him, and for the courage to finally dedicate my life to following His will and acting decisively when feeling His direction.
I have been indecisive and paralyzed by fear and doubt of my own self-worth for too long. It's time to evaluate those parts of my life that I want to create, those that I want to preserve, and those I wish to cast aside, with God's plan for my life as a beacon or a guidepost for those actions.
I pray that you have had a pleasant and fulfilling day, and that this will continue into the week ahead.