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?"