In the past few weeks, I have found myself making a list. You know…every time something goes wrong, I respond with, “put it on the list.” The car broke down, “put it on the list.” The dog ran away, “put it on the list.” Seems Iowans can’t wear masks, “put it on the list.” The electricity went out (again), “put it on the list.” And so on, and so on. Honestly, I’m also getting pretty snippy when someone responds to my litany of all the things that are going wrong with even the slightest hint of "but Katie, you should look on the bright side." You know, surviving a derecho, aka hurricane in the middle of Iowa, can make you smirk just a bit and find more comfort in the re-reading of your list.
I had a conversation this week with someone who really “got me.” This person didn’t respond to my list by diminishing my list; instead, that person put themselves in my shoes and walked alongside of me. To me, “put it on the list” was a way to deflect that we had to cut down 30+ severely damaged trees and put into a pile, I was grieving the loyalty to the stewardship of creation, my own memories, relationships, my father, a childhood home, the home where I raised my children, and most importantly, the life of trees that were 50-150-year-old that had witnessed life. I hurt and that alone was the list.
I wonder what’s on your “put it on the list?”
In Psalm 119:33-40, the writer’s key points are;
God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.
Give me insight
Turn me away from my own selfishness
Affirm your promise to me
Fast forward to the writings of Matthew in chapter 18 and its as if Peter is asking Jesus the same type of question, “Master – teach me how many times to forgive.” Peter may actually be asking, "Jesus ,teach me how to forgive, give me insight, guide me, and affirm your promise to me."
In the past few hours my thoughts have been about my “list.” Crazy as it seems, I’m not sure I’m ready to forgive the #1 item on the entire list – well, it’s 2020. As if, a year in my life, in our lives, has a sinister plot against me or against you.
Instead, what I hear is this teachable lesson by Jesus, "Katie, sit your list down and spend time with me. I am your forgiving God and I want you to hear my message of hope, that I am indeed merciful, I hurt with you, I love you…stay the course for I promise a forever life with me."
What’s on your list? Worry, fear, anger, loneliness, exhaustion, or ________. Put it on the list. Then, spend time with God and simply…well, spend time with God. You don’t have to throw the list away; but by the grace of God through Jesus Christ alone, your list of teachable moments will reveal how to love and forgive and how to be loved and forgiven. 2020 is not going down as the worst year. It’s going down as challenging, but it will not defeat you or me, for, by God’s gift of grace through Jesus Christ , you and I have been saved. Put that on our list.
Blessings to you all,