The hot humid weather of summer is gone, but what also is gone is our time off to enjoy all the fun and relaxation that goes with a well-deserved vacation.
I like the mild weather of fall, but it’s a whole another year before I can sit on the dock of the bay just to watch the tide roll away like Otis Redding.
For our overall well-being, we need something to always look forward to. By looking forward to something, we are able to get through our often dull routines.
In another Zoom meeting, sitting at our computers staring at the little boxes, we take a moment and look out the window and see the wind picking up, and we know it’s getting the time to bring the snowblower in for a tune-up.
Then, with a sigh, we look at our calendar and calculate how long it will be until we get back to Margaritaville.
Reality sets in, for we have to go through another long winter to get back to sun and fun.
Has anyone heard what kind of winter we are gong to be having?
Yea, you are right. It’s too early to be talking about winter.
Fall is just starting, and I will enjoy seeing the change of season. I think I will take a drive out in the coming weeks to the rolling hills of Northwest Illinois where my son and his wife are living now to see the many shades of yellows, oranges, and reds of the season.
It’s about living in the moment. Finding joy in the little things, for everyday gives us a reason to be happy.
In one of our staff devotions this week, we were talking about happiness, and we concluded, “Grab happiness when you can.”
If you walk past the church on a Wednesday morning, you will hear an awesome rendition of “This is the Day.”
During chapel, maybe because it has a good beat to it, the children love singing out that song.
Whenever I think of the refrain, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and glad in it,” I want to ask when I am having a kind of an “off” day, “Lord, are you sure it’s this day that I am to be rejoicing in?”
What I mean is that this day is not looking so special. Really, it’s looking kind of dull. I’m not looking forward to this day, for I’ve got a few things that I’ve to do that I’m dreading. And I’ve got nothing in the immediate future to be looking forward to.
Going back to sitting on the dock of the bay, this day is looking “like nothing is gonna come my way.”
With our noses so close to the grindstone, we sure can get stuck in life.
On the one hand, it’s in our routines that we are productive. Day after day, little by little, chunk by chunk, we meet our goals.
But, on the other hand, repeating the same things every day can weigh on us because it doesn’t seem like we are getting anywhere, especially on that day when we meet a dead-end or take two steps backs.
It’s on those days that we are struggling through that it seems that we need to take some extra effort to focus on the task at hand.
What I about to suggest to get us through the changing of seasons that we know that will be going into a long hard winter here in the city might at first seem counter-productive.
But, the best thing we can do is to daydream about the time when we will again be sitting on the beach, and as another song goes, “When the work day passes like mollasses in wintertime, ... Our Jamican vacation is going to start right here.”
I would not make it through any winter without Otis Redding and Jimmy Buffet.
This time of daydreaming about future events can be a motivator to getting back to the task at hand. Looking forward to something special helps to refresh us.
Of course, we are not to spend the whole day with dreaming of days on the beach, but to give ourselves some glimpses of good things to come is a help to get through this regular old day.
So far we’ve been talking about getting through this day that has whatever it’s dishing out to us, but we also need to talk about those hard days that come along at times.
For us, when we look at a day, even in our humdrum routines, each of them are different. No two days are the same, except for one thing, and it’s here that I’m going to make a big jump to what really gets us through our days, and to say, with a joy that is out of this world.
What does it mean to you that each day is a day has a chance for you to go to heaven?
In the big picture of life, we know that our life on earth will end one day, and as we hope for a long life, we know that last day could be any day.
So, I admit that it does seem against any kind of sense, for I know it’s not a pleasant thought to think about death.
But, it’s exactly that, thinking about our death gives us joy.
To be clear, I’m not saying to think what our last breaths will be like. What I’m trying to get us to think about is what happens after our last breath, the salvation of our souls.
And as I started out a light suggestion about how to get through a regular day and how to get through a looming long Chicago winter by thinking of sitting by the seashore, I know it’s a big jump to say how it’s necessary for us to take time to think about the salvation of our souls.
But, we have faith, and what faith does is that it makes big jumps from this world to heaven.
For any day that comes our way with all this world can throw at us, we need to take time and do some reflecting and imagining to get this huge belief of what God has planned for us in the big picture of things.
To offer this question to ponder: “What does faith tell me about God’s reality in all of my days?
We are told that we are to make the best of situations, or we are told just to deal with it.
In such ways, is it possilbe that are we losing the meaning and purpose of all that happens in our lives if we don’t see things as part of a plan for something bigger for us.
How much relief will it mean to you that all the moments of our lives from the mundane to the hard things have the deepest meaning and purpose?
I do know that I can’t go too much further telling you that everything has meaning and purpose without telling you that we will not always know why everything happens as it does.
God does not need to explain all of His ways to us. And, not having to know every reason is added relief becuase we know all is in the hands of our powerful loving God.
We don’t know all the reasons of everything, for if we did, we would not need to have faith.
Our faith is trusting that God has all worked out from our birth to our death. And in this faith that our salvation is certain, we can rejoice in every day with all the little to big things that happen.
At times, a part of the human experience is feeling like we are lost, spinning our wheels, forgotten, alone, and wandering without direction.
We can say its part of the human experience because history has instances of people wanting to find their way but not knowing if they are going to have a good outcome.
In our Old Testament reading for today, we see the Nation of Israel wandering in the wilderness.
Moses, as their leader, is having a tough time with the people as they are constantly complaining about their situation in the wilderness like eating the same old food.
God gives Moses some help, and the people keep moving along.
What the people are forgetting is that God delivered them from the harsh life as slaves. God is providing for them in the wilderness. What God provides is not a banquet and all the walking is not easy, but they are going to a better place.
It won’t always be like this for they are going to the Promised Land, a place flowing with milk and honey.
With some patience, they will get there.
The Isrealites kept thinking about the they thought were the good old days back in Eygpt, but they forgot about the bricks and the whips.
They dwelled on their present situation. Granted, it was for from paradise, so they complained about every little thing.
What they did not do was to think about where they were going. They did not have their minds on God’s promise of a better place.
So many stories of waiting for that better thing to happen. Noah on the ark looking for dry land. David waiting for the sun to rise after a long night of guarding his flock from wolves and thieves. I wonder when shepherds ever got a good night’s rest. Another long night, Daniel, in the lion’s den, was he thinking, “Will I see the light of day again.”
After Jesus’ death on the cross, the women who thought they were going to a funeral when they went to the tomb in sorrow, but they found a celebration on that first Easter morning hearing the words, “He is not here, for he has risen.”
Later, the disciples, too, saw their risen Lord, and they would later see him ascend into heaven.
Maybe it was when they saw Jesus going up to the sky that they remembered where Jesus was going. Jesus said he was going to prepare a mansion in heaven for those who believe.
We know how every Sunday is a mini- Easter and how each Sunday is a funeral service.
We talk about sin and the consequences of a physical death because of sin, but we also talk about forgivenss of sin and the gift of eternal life.
We talk about how we believe how our loved ones who have died in the faith are in heaven.
We, too, will die one day in the faith and enter heaven. All will end very well for us.
Knowing how all will end well for us helps us in this day. God is working out our faith that believes in the salvation of our souls.
Today is a day of the salvation of our souls, so we rejoice, even it’s a regular day or one of those hard days.
And if we make it to tomorrow, and whether tomorrow is a regular day or hard day, we will rejoice for it’s a day of salvation, too.
And so it’s with all of our days, each one with whatever comes is a day of salvation.
In day of whatever comes, all is sure to end well for us, so what do we do now in this moment?
We can only rejoice and be glad in it, for all is sure to end well.