I was chatting with my wife while I prepared our dinner last Saturday night. All of a sudden I had the revelation that I don’t really know my place anymore! That revelation rather vividly splashed across my thoughts while I arranged the turkey wings, carrots and mushrooms in the pan before I slid it into the oven. For a few moments I was stunned but quickly realized that it was an accurate explanation of the un-comfortableness that I have been sensing for a while now.
Once I popped the dinner into the oven I went over and squatted down next to my wife who was watching me from the corner of the kitchen. I took her hand and looked into her brown eyes and said, “You know… for the last 45 years it has always been the Jim & Piper Team Show!” Since we started dating we have done everything together. It seemed like we were a team just waiting to happen! A team made in heaven. We have always worked extremely well together. Each of us compliments the other. While we have witnessed other couples criticize and complain to and about each other, we have had encouraging words and have been the strength for the other’s weaknesses.
Over the last few years it has been dialed down to the Jim and his quiet wife in the chair team! As I sat there with Piper on Saturday evening, I saw that everything changed when we headed off to Bible School in Oklahoma. It was like heaven for the first year and then things began to unravel. It became obvious that Piper’s difficulty in remembering things went beyond what we thought to be the effects of Menopause. Then came the doctor’s appointments, all the tests, bills, car troubles, and the pressures of full time school and work and family matters.
When we got home we returned to a totally new world than what we had left behind! Those next few years were very traumatic. Our church leadership had changed and accordingly the vision had gone in a different direction, most of the friends we were close to had left the congregation, my parents passed away within a year of each other and my relationship with my wife’s family took a difficult turn. On top of that, our kids were all off on their own for the first time in our lives and the pressures of meeting my wife’s needs and the mounting expectation of my secular job began to get so overwhelming that I made the tough (Spirit-led) decision to quit the job and reopen my lawn and garden care business in order to allow me the opportunity to have more control over our schedule and have my wife with me as well.
First and foremost though, the biggest change was that I no longer had the encouragement, wisdom and peaceful, joyous and ever-uplifting vocal presence of my wife! Suddenly I was in a new place, with a totally new set of life’s circumstances, with the structure of our old family and social network in tatters and facing the toughest battle of my life!
When I looked back at all of that had changed I had to laugh a bit and told Piper, “Well, no wonder I don’t know my place right now!” At that moment I turned my heart toward heaven and simply asked, “So what’s next Lord?” I can’t say that I immediately received a specific heavenly reply nor have I up to this time. But as I meditated on all those thoughts that night and yesterday, I came to realize a few important details that needed to be added to the mix!
While reading from the various renditions of the Easter Sunday morning events as chronicled by the writers of the New Testament, I became aware of the Lord’s trying to get a point across to me. Luke 24:5-6 tells us about the angel who spoke to the women who had come early to Jesus’ tomb. He declared to them, “Why are you looking among the dead for the living one? He’s not here. He has been brought back to life!” (God’s Word ©
When I quieted myself down enough to hear what was being spoken inside of me, I picked up three things. First of all, that I needed to not be looking to what had happened in the past, for that would be like trying to get new life among the dead events of what has already happened. Secondly, that according to Ephesians 2:4-7, Papa God didn’t just bring Jesus back to life alone, but He also included you and me in that life giving event. And on top of that, He loved us so much that He picked us up, brushed us off and forgave us our failures in the process of making us alive with Him, and also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in His place of authority in the heavenlies!
Then came the clincher! I was reminded of John 11:25 where Jesus tells us that He is our resurrection and our life. At that moment I felt great comfort, joy and peace fill my soul, for while it seemed that everything may have changed in my life… one thing didn’t… and that was Jesus in me. He has stayed the same… and He has been the ROCK and my strength throughout it all and will continue to be so, well into our future!
So yeah… I may not know my place right now. Everything is different when I walk out the door each day. My comfort zone and all that I have come to take for granted over the last 45 years has been tossed into the spin dry... But the greatest thing has stayed the same. There may be ever-changing shadows that are caused by the movement of things in my life, but the Son of righteousness hasn’t shifted. He’s still in the same place of significance in the sky of my life bringing me warmth, love and life! And you know… He’s still there for you as well!
Have a great new week ahead! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to DEPEND on today?”