Keeping our Ships Afloat
Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.- unknown
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV
There is a dangerous delusion from which many people unsuspectingly suffer. It is the belief that we feel the way we feel and make the choices we make because of what happens to us. When we have this dangerous belief, we put the power over us into the hands of luck, strangers, the whims of the world. It is like having a hole in your ship, inviting the world in and asking them to sink you.
The scripture from Isaiah tells us how to avoid letting the water in. Keeping our minds on God. When situations present themselves, our thoughts return to Christ. We don’t let our circumstances guide our behavior. Instead, we make choices based on our faith, our prayers, and God’s guidance. Then, we’re putting God in charge instead of giving all the power to the water around us.
“The mind that is not baffled is not employed.” Wendell Berry
"Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?” Job 11:7
How does God do it? How does He manage to take a season in which all things are returning to the earth and dying and make it so magical? What is it He adds to the air to make it so crisp? How do the turning of leaves make our hearts sing with possibility? How does He make us forget the winter to come with the promise of pumpkins, bonfires, and crisp apple cider?
Clearly fall is my favorite season. And I love it for the mystery. We play with mystery mostly at the end of October as adorable little ghouls knock on our doors demanding candy, but how much more mystery is contained in the wonders of the season?
We think of Job’s questions above as rhetorical. The answer, of course is “no.” You can’t discover the depths of God. You can’t discover the limits of the Almighty. But why has that stopped us from trying? Why does God’s unknowability mean that we stop trying to know Him, stop wondering at His power, stop trying to find His footprints left on our days?
Heed Wendell Berry’s words and be baffled. Turn Job’s questions into a challenge. Can you discover the depths of God? We won’t know until we try. Let’s look around us in this, the loveliest of seasons and seek his wonders, open ourselves to awe, actively look for amazement at His creating beauty. He has enchanted an entire season with glimmers of His presence; surely He’s left them as clues to be followed to find His love more fully in our lives.
The Value of Values
Values are one’s judgement about what is important in life. Roy E. Disney said,“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
Many of us find it hard to articulate what their values are beyond very generic words like “faith” and “family”.
When we are not clear on our values, we can fall into the trap of passing judgement or having opinions that are unrelated to our values. Spend a few moments understanding what your values are by using the exercise provided here by CMU: https://www.cmu.edu/career/documents/my-career-path-activities/values-exercise.pdf
Once you have done that holy work, use your core values to be sure that your life is reflecting them. Then, keep the long list of values in the beginning of the article. Stick it in your Bible. As you are reading your Bible each day, ask yourself, “What does the Lord value?” Does your daily reading reflect a value of God? Are you seeing some values reflected more than others? Do they match your own?
Rev. Jana Quisenberry is the minister at Brightwood Christian Church. She's an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, KY and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, She now resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband, two children, and dog, Sookie. Pastor Jana loves the church, science fiction, and coffee.
Please note, links in the blog send you to Amazon, and a portion of the proceeds of the sale go to benefit the ministry of the church. Pastor Jana only includes those resources that she endorses and that can be of benefit to your faith life. Thank you for your support.