by Sharon Betters
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5-7 NIV
Let’s finish this week with the same question with which we started: What is your default mode when life comes crashing down? What is your automatic response when confronted with a crisis too big to imagine, overwhelming grief, or sudden loss? Remember the story of the Julliard trained blind musician trapped in a prison of rubble after a horrific earthquake. He survived 18 hours in this prison by tapping into life disciplines: 20 minutes of prayer and meditation followed by 40 minutes of playing in his mind every classical piece he had memorized over the years. His default mode in a crisis was to go back to what he knew and had comforted him in daily life. Jean Fleming, who tells this story in her book, Pursue the Intentional Life, declares that “every day life provides ample challenges and opportunities to choose the shape my life will take.” This man chose wise daily habits. When life fell in on him, those disciplines calmed his spirit and gave him purpose.
This past week of devotions challenge us with some opportunities to choose what will shape our daily lives; to make choices that will help shape our crisis default mode. Today’s Treasure reminds us of the need to acknowledge we are on pilgrimage. We don’t belong “here”. We are on our way Home. To successfully reach our destination, we need a road map, a grid through which we push all of our decisions and actions along the way. We need a biblical worldview where we trust that the Bible has all we need to experience the peace and strength of the Lord in our journey. Throughout our journey, we need to intentionally seek out guides who share our Biblical worldview. These are people ahead of us in the journey, who are leaving “puddles of grace” designed to refresh us as we travel through the Valley of Tears to the City of God.
In your journal note the ways in which you presently, intentionally seek out puddles of grace left by guides who share your worldview. If you don’t spend time searching the Scriptures for life-giving wisdom from our God, start today. If you don’t know where to start, begin reading the book of John and ask the Lord to open your eyes to the person of Jesus. Watch how He interacts with people and note that the driving force in His life is the will of His Father. Ask Him to open your heart to His purposes in your pilgrimage, and to lead you to people ahead of you, who will help you dig into the Word, and lead you to “puddles of grace”, designed to help turn your heart toward Jesus.
The question before us today is how to build an infrastructure into our daily lives that will not crumble when the enemies of depression, weariness, betrayal, and shattered dreams assault us. We start with reviewing our personal worldview and affirming our identity as warrior women whose King is Jesus. Remember what Jean Fleming said:
“everyday life provides ample challenges and opportunities to choose the shape my life will take.”
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview "The Thorn of Autism-An Interview with Lori Sealy"so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Nearly aborted, graciously adopted and later abandoned, Lori Sealy has traveled the road of atheism and lived a life of autism. Lori was diagnosed with Autism as an adult and not long after that diagnosis learned her son had autism as well. In this interview, parents of a young man who has autism ask Lori the questions burning in their hearts and also in the hearts of other parents with high functioning children that struggle every day with the "thorn of autism." This is a powerful and rich conversation that will help parents better understand their children and how to help them find their way in a sometimes confusing and scary world