Friday, September 27, 2019

"Things Habitual People Hate"

Isaiah 33.20 NET

“Look at Zion, the city where we hold religious festivals! You will see Jerusalem, a peaceful settlement, a tent that stays put; its stakes will never be pulled up; none of its ropes will snap in two.”

I took a three day whitewater rafting trip down the Deschutes River about fourteen summers ago with my father-in-law, Ralph, and some buddies from the church. About midnight on our first evening out, a thunderstorm moved in with fierce winds and literally blew our camp apart. I woke up to a loud crash and peeked out the flapping canvas opening of my temporary shelter in the general area of the supply tent. Through the dimness of my flashlight I could see Steve, our rain-drenched river guide, standing in his underwear in a daze. The protective tarp over the mess hall where Steve was sleeping had blown away and the tables with food and equipment were scattered all over the soaked ground. I yelled above the sound of rain, wind, and thunder, “Steve, get in here!” Ralph and I shared a couple of sleeping bags with our river guide and huddled through the miserable night together.

I am a creature of habit and comfort. I gravitate toward the predictable and safe. But things in life never remain the same. Sometimes my precious routines end abruptly and with a loud crash. The fierce winds of change cause serious stress and almost always a little fear. Things are often not as I expect them to be.

Change is good sometimes, but not always. Whatever else it is or isn’t, change lies beyond my reach and outside my control. Habitual people like me hate that. Thankfully, some things never change, like the nature of Jesus and the love of God:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13.8 NIV

“Thou wilt give truth to Jacob and unchanging love to Abraham,
Which Thou didst swear to our forefathers from the days of old.”
Micah 7.20 NASB

In our wind-tossed, temporary, and unpredictable existence, it’s comforting to know our permanent heavenly residence will be “a peaceful settlement, a tent that stays put,” an eternal campsite. The stakes of our shelter “will never be pulled up” and “none of its ropes will snap in two.” We will have lasting peace, secure under the watchful eye of our capable River Guide Jesus camped along the “river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming down from the throne of God” (Revelation 22.1 NASU). 

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