"...out of the mud..."
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)
Okay, so it's Thursday and "Wednesday Wonderings" is a day late... Patti and I finished our first full day at the Alive 10 Christian Music Festival in Ohio yesterday sometime after midnight. We have a booth in the vendors' tent where we pass out information on "teen depression" to many of the 20,000 folks expected at the event. On Saturday at the festival I'll give a seminar on teen depression
Frankly, after yesterday I don't want to go back. I want to quit. Yesterday the sun mercilessly baked us until the heavens opened and the rain came down in buckets. The vendors' tent turned to a mud-filled skating rink. There was mud all over our display table and all over us, from head to all of our toes. Then there were the disappointment with management... Yet, I made a commitment... Ouch, there's that word, "commitment."
I made a commitment with management to have the information booth and do a seminar on Saturday. Even more important, I made a commitment with all the folks who stopped at our booth yesterday and said they were coming to the seminar and making sure they could get certain folks in their group to attend because there was a special need. I made a commitment to all the folks who stopped and said, "You'll be here all week, won't you," in many cases meaning, "I want to stop and talk some later when it's not so busy."
Commitment... sometimes I think we get the sense that the only commitments we have to keep are the ones we feel good about. If things go sour or begin to get difficult, we look for reasons to quit and excuse ourselves from the agreement. Sometimes we have to keep commitments even when we don't really feel like it. We don't quit because of our disappointments, we remain committed in spite of them. It's another person or persons on the other side of that commitment, and we can't lose sight of that.
God is faithful. God always keeps that divine commitment of relationship with us. If you look at it from one perspective, the Bible can be read as one long list of God's disappointments with us - a long dissertation of all the reasons God could have rationalized ending divine covenant with us. Yet along with the list of disappointments is also the story of God's faithfulness to us -- never leaving us, even when we left God.
We're going back today. Please don't read this as, "Oh wow, look at me - see how faithful I am." No, this is not a moment of strength, it's a moment of weakness. I really don't feel like going back, but I have to go back. This is where God is calling, and I do have faith that if I go God will take my reluctance and turn it into joy. I do have the faith that God will lift me out of the mud (emotionally and spiritually -- and I hope physically. Dry ground would be nice.) But right now, I'm tired, my foot hurts from standing all day, and I would rather go home. I pray that in times such as this God will give me the strength to be faithful. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
Check out my new video, "Teens Surviving the Storm"