Monthly Archives: March 2015

peelingThe Lemmons have been paring down, gradually peeling off the grip that ties us to any place or thing. It looks like moving may not be in our immediate future as I thought when I wrote “Paring Down the Lemmon House,” but we are still taking the cue to shrug off the material attachments that entangle us (Hebrews 12:1). Cindy has written about her “nest stuff,” from which she has begun to at least emotionally turn loose. I have waged war on my attachment to material things landing sword-blows like these:

“..whoever loves wealth is never satisfied…” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV)

"You cannot serve God and wealth." (Luke 16:13 NASB)

The reality is when we move to Uganda we cannot keep what will not move, and what we try to move will not be secure (as if anything really is). The conclusion of this thinking has been surprisingly liberating. There is nothing we cannot live without, and there is nothing we must stay in one place to preserve. As we turn loose of our hold on stuff it is shocking to discover how tight a grip it actually had on us.

I just got back from a road trip during which I delivered to my siblings the prized heir-looms of my house. While I was at it, I got to enjoy several family visits that fit into the trip, and I was blessed by each one. Though delivering these gifts was something of a tearing away, I felt cleaner for the parting. Lighter even! Furthermore, I was enriched in a different way by building relationships with family.

On the return leg of my trip, I learned another lesson in material wealth and resource when I stopped at the scene of a blowout that claimed one of my tires several weeks before. It was a long shot, but I wondered if my missing hubcap might still be somewhere along the highway. I had priced a replacement at $60 but decided that good stewardship demanded I stop and spend time looking to recover it before giving up that much. I walked up and back more than a mile, all the while talking to God about His resource, my faith, and my contentment regardless of the results of this search. “It is Your resource,” I conceded, “If You want to restore it, You are entirely capable of directing my steps and guiding my glance, and I trust You to do just that.” I didn’t find the wheel cover, but I was content that I had left the ninety-nine to seek the one. I returned to the "ninety-nine," my trusty old pickup, in unmolested condition, but not entirely whole.

It turned out the mysterious noise I heard as I pulled off the highway, which I had already determined was not another blown tire, was actually an air compressor and a drive belt, the repairs of which would cost $1,100 more of God’s resources. On any other day, I might have reacted differently, but since I had just spent the better part of an hour talking to my Heavenly Father about the community nature of our property, all I could do was wonder why He would want to spend $1,100 on mechanical parts and service when He already owns the cattle and auto parts on a thousand hills. It is perhaps not for me to know.

What is promised to me is enough. God will always meet all my needs. He may not make my wheel covers match or my paint job sparkle, but He will always be there; and everything I have will always be His. Furthermore, in light of the truths that God owns everything, He has loaned me some of it, He has not delivered me from this troublesome world, yet He has overcome the world (John 16:33), I have cause for neither worry nor regret. My citizenship is of Heaven, and it is there I am building myself treasure. Material here on Earth is but dust on my feet.

Oh, yes! In the waiting room of my mechanic’s shop, just in front of a Ugandan Okoa Refuge missionary display, I did meet a retired transplant surgeon, and we spoke about his heart for service and his current project that just happens to involve a local church congregation – mine. Interesting.

three strikesIt is said that bad news comes in threes. I hope so, because today I received a gut punch that wears that number, and I could use a rest.

It happened this morning when I confidently strode into the Nursing School Administration office to submit my application for the Fall semester. It was promptly rejected by the director of the program, who informed me that the classes in which I am currently enrolled must be completed before I submit my application. This sets back my admission into Nursing School another semester, to Spring, 2016.

Bad news number two was the kind that rattles faith and shakes foundations. I have been engaged in what can only be described as fervent and faithful intercessory prayer on behalf of my cousin, who was expecting a child with complications. I was forced to concede the battle Tuesday, when the news came that my unborn second cousin graduated directly to Heaven without taking a breath.

Bad news number one was merely an appetizer for these later two disappointments. It had to do with a mechanical failure on my 1997 pickup truck that amounted to about $1,200 in repairs. This seems trivial next to the loss of a baby and a rejected Nursing School application, but when one doesn’t have $1,200 and is trying to find a way to pay for school on a fixed pension income, it at least constitutes bad news number one.

I know that God’s will is better and higher than mine, and that there is surely some concealed reason for these hiccups in what I would vainly call “my plan.” I am certain that I am doing what I was called to do, and that God’s purposes, not my vanity, will be served. I am critically searching myself for any sins of the flesh to which these annoyances may be trying to direct my attention. Perhaps I said, “I start Nursing School in the Fall,” too many times without adding, as James 4:15 exhorts, “If it is God’s will.” Maybe I suffer from a case of overconfidence in self. Maybe God is just trying to protect me, my cousin, and my budget from unseen struggles we will never be fully exposed to. Whatever the case, I am content to offer up my expectations as sacrifices to God, and to let Him operate the universe as He sees fit rather than as I would have it. Still, though I am not a superstitious person and do not believe in luck, after this very disappointing week, I sincerely hope that three is the limit of my bad news for a while.