Rick and Monique

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lifeboats and Motorcycles

The Triumph Adventurer rolled down interstate 29 south, opposite the direction I needed.  She was shackled into chocks; her muscles failed.  Monique and I had never taken a long interstate run.  We were three hours in and one hour short.  She didn't give up necessarily.  She growled, but had no bite beyond 45 mph.  That was difficult for me.  As those who ride know, the road and wind might as well be vitamin C.

All that gear and no place to go.  The rider stumped and the riderless shackled.

Life gets to me that way.  I've got the tools, the gear.  I ask for one good day, then something breaks.

Many of you have heard the story of the man and the flood.  The man prayed for God to save him from the flood.  Soon a rescuer in a boat floated by and yelled for him to jump into the boat.  The home owner declined believing God would save him.  Another boat came and the same scenario.  The dire moments had arrived and the house would soon be covered by waters.  A rescuer in a helicopter flew in and attempted a rescue but the homeowner again declined, believing God would save him, even when waters rushed by.  The man drowned, and he went to Heaven.  He asked God why he wasn't saved from the flood (The theology behind the story might be debatable, but continue listening!). God said, "I sent two boats and a helicopter..."

I asked for one good day.  We've been stressed.  I called my friend who lives in Sioux City, but he was in Minneapolis vacationing.  He told me, though, to hold tight.  Five minutes later he called me back and said a truck and trailer were on their way.  My friend owns a motorcycle.  Brad petitioned another friend to hitch up his own trailer to his friends truck and go to help me out.  Chris would take my bike to Brad's house, until I returned to Sioux City on Monday, at which point we'd figure out what to do.  I waited forty minutes or so when Chris, the truck and trailer, motored in.

In the mean time my Dad suggested I call my sister and brother-in-law.  My two sisters, their families, myself and Monique and mom and dad were to spend the long holiday weekend together at Lifelight Music Festival, the largest free Christian music festival in the country I believe.  So I called them.  Turns out they were five miles past our location.  They turned around, unquestioningly agreeing to haul us and our gear to Sioux Falls with them.

We arrived at the festival site on Friday night... disappointed, frustrated, stressed and worried.

One good day, God.

We vented a few moments before some of us decided to attend one of the concerts--the group Kutless was playing and I wanted to see them.  They put on a somewhat raucous concert full of haunted lyrics and emotional music.  And yet their show was fun, energetic and uplifting.  The air was cool and the breath fresh.

The flood story relates, you see.  I got rescued.  One good day.  Two actually.  There are no Triumph dealers in Sioux City.  My dealer and service station is in Des Moines, three hours away.  Brad's a police officer and had to work Monday night at Eleven.  He and I met at his house at 4 p.m.  He and I had resolved by phone that he would take me and the bike to Des Moines that night.  Brad felt it to be the best idea out of several difficult scenarios.

And so he did.  He drove three or four hours from Minneapolis, hitched my bike to the truck and drove me three hours to Des Moines and then had to drive back to Sioux City where his job awaited him.

One good day.  The best of friends, God's providence, and miracles galore.

The hairs on my head are numbered says writer Luke, quoting Jesus himself in Luke 12.  And so this morning I learned for the millionth time how to pray.

I'm feeling tired. I didn't sleep last night, but went to my Wednesday morning men's bible study anyway.  At 2 a.m. I was sure I wasn't going to go.  But my friend Neal said that when he's up and can't sleep, he reads his bible, and finds himself at peace.  I did that this morning.  I read Psalm 73, Matthew 4, Luke 12...Neal was right, my angst lessened, and I hung out with God.

So I went this morning--a hundred men get together, have breakfast, chat and study God's word.  We call it "PIGS"--that's "Pretty Important Guy Stuff."  Pigs was pretty good.  Pastor Richard began a series on Prayer.  He said some very profound and simple things.  Like when Jesus taught us to pray saying ABBA.  Richard stopped there.  Abba.

Christians know the prayer..."hallowed be thy name..."  Christians recite the rest of the prayer solemnly and reverently, many times in respectfully toned unison.  Abba, Father.

Christians over time manipulate the prayer into this reverent,  "Thou, Thee, Yahweh" prayer.  We've filled the prayer with pharisaical rancor, denying what God always wanted--to dote on his people.

Thou's, thee's and Yahweh's" actually serves to fill us with doubt.  "God is too big, God is too fearful..."  We want to sound respectful or reverent, but our attempts at "respect" only serve to create distance between God and I and deny the words of Christ who at the pinnacle moment, revealed a God who prefers to be called, "Dad".  Instead, our prayerful words prove to those around us that God is to be feared in such a way that he is almost unapproachable.

So Jesus taught us something different.  And that difference really meant something to me this morning.  In my tired, fearful, disappointed place, were Jesus words, "Abba Father."  And what Jesus began teaching with two words--"Dear Dad..."

One of the lead singers said this weekend to a group of 100,000 people, "We are not the sum total of our choices, no.  You and I are the sum total of God's choices."  My mistakes do not turn away a doting father.  My failures only prove to teach how saved I really am.  This man said, "We are not a people here struggling to be free, we are a people free to struggle and to then have an honest conversation with God."

An honest conversation with God.  There are several contained in the bible, and I've had several in the last few days.  One good day God!  Please!  But, I'm a son leaning on my dad.  Jesus taught me about that.

And so I prayed that way this morning.

"Dear Dad, I know you love me and the hairs on my head are known.  I know, because you are my dad, that you will walk with me and even carry me when I need.  I know you will guide me past temptation.  I know that, because you crown me more gloriously than the sparrow, you will always fill me with bread.  And even if I am hungry, my heart will rejoice because your kingdom comes, and is here.  Your power is, and yet your just ways provided me with mercy and with grace.  I don't understand everything dad.  I guess I am just a kid.  But one day I shall fully know.  What I know dad, is that you are glorious, and I love you."
"One good day God." ... ... "Dad?"


Kathy B! said...

What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

I really liked the parable about the guy who didn't take God's offering for help 3 times.

Mom H said...

Oh Rick, right now my heart aches for you. I would want to take these disappointing things away from you, and I can not, but I can pray for you fervently, that your DAD will give you one good day... I love you son.

~*Michelle*~ said...

OK, so how awesome is God to lead you to my blog and then me to yours. This truly was a blessing to read. And guess what? How cool is it that I was listening to KLOVE this weekend and never hear of the LifeLight concert and was raving on how awesome it was that it was free and all the great bands there.

We go to The Soulfest which is similar (but not free, lol) every summer in New Hampshire. Kutless played last year....great band. This year we had TONS of rain (floods, lol) but it didn't stop the non stop worship with Casting Crowns, Third Day, Newsboys, Skillet, Sanctus Real just to name a few of the 100+ artists there.....isn't it so amazing to worship with thousands of Believers??

anyway.....it's a pleasure to "meet" you......I'll be back!

Angela said...

You and I are the sum total of God's choices." My mistakes do not turn away a doting father. My failures only prove to teach how saved I really am.

amen amen amen brother!!~ What a powerful statement. I'm a wanna be biker,,LOL

thanks for stopping by today.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Rick, I was in that audience at LifeLight, too. What a Spirit-filled weekend. We were rockin' the House for Jesus.

Lovely, honest prayer you've written here. You minister to my heart.

Claire said...

The passion between the two of you is poetry in motion!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. It really means a lot to me.

My husband and I are planning to travel through Italy on scooters next year. Might have to read a few of your journals before teh adventure begins!


Wine and Words said...

You have no idea how much I love Kutless! I work out to Kutless, I clean house to Kutless, I cut a rug to Kutless. And I know this disappointment you feel, like when I take the training key for the Sea-Do by mistake and find myself chained to the water at 30 MPH! My balloon deflates. But God probably wanted me to see something that I would have wized right by pushing 60. Ours is not to reason why. Hope you get your One Good Day. I'm pulling for ya! And thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Stephanie Faris said...

You mentioned the boat story, but I love this quote, from Evan Almighty:

"Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

Rick and Monique Elgersma said...

Cool questions Stephanie. I think God has awarded me with comfort or with peace when I've needed it. However, at the time I need it there's opportunity to use what power I've been given!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for following our blog!

A Fiveoh4 Uplifting

apriliniowa said...

One good day, indeed. I wish the world would see God as a father. That metaphor would end much strife, I think.
Thank you for stopping by my little poetry blog.
And for commenting.
You picked a fine poem to comment upon at that.
I hope all's well in your part of Iowa.

K.M. Weiland said...

*Love* the joke about the flood. It's a little too true sometimes. We not only think we know what God should give us, we also think we know just *how* He should give it to us!

Webster World said...

I have read the 3 times God reached out. We've all done that. Like foot prints in the sand. Been there. I think as I have gotten older(thank you Lord) I am learning to remember these things more often. When I'm a grumgleing for sometime out of no where he touchs me and I Say "Forgive me Lord." Then I go to prayer. And I need to remember what Bernie (your Neil) said. "At night when I can't sleep I read the Bible." I need to start doing that too. Thank you for a good post.