Thursday, June 27, 2013

Godwinks and Giving Up

As I mentioned in the MLIW post, I’m not always up to date on the latest phrases or abbreviations.  While we were on vacation, my sister introduced me to the term “Godwink.” Turns out, I knew about Godwinks in my life, but I wasn’t familiar with the term.If you aren’t, either, here’s an example of one.

I was recently wandering through an antique mall/flea market with a friend of mine, and while she walked, she told me about a situation that sort of disturbed me. I could feel myself getting stressed and anxious, but it was one of those things that I could do absolutely nothing about. So I took a deep breath and prayed for God to take care of it and help me to let it go. In the prayer, I mentioned the verse that says a sparrow never falls outside of God’s will. He’s sovereign and watching over even tiny birds’ lives, I told myself. Suddenly that song, “His eye is on the sparrow” was running through my head.

And now for the Godwink.

At that precise moment, we moved to a new booth in the market, and the display table in front was covered with…sparrows! It was a line of products—figurines, paper products, keychains—featuring sparrows.

The term “Godwink” is credited to SQuire Rushnell. Here’s what he says on his webpage:

A godwink is what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience where you'd say, "Wow, what are the odds of that!"…Think about when you were a kid and someone you loved gave you a little wink across the dining room table...That's what a godwink is too: a message of reassurance from above, directly to you, out of six billion people on the planet, saying "Hey kid...I'm thinking of you! Keep the faith! You're never alone."

I don’t know if the next instance really counts. It’s more common than the other example, a little more vague. All I know is that I’ve been really tired for weeks. Even after vacation—maybe even because of vacation!—I’ve felt a little weary and overwhelmed by the busyness of life. I can’t seem to find time to work on things that are important to me, and then the weariness makes me wonder why I even think of adding to an already overloaded schedule. Why do I continually fret over writing or other things that I think are meaningful, but are probably worthless to other people, or to God?

So while in this state, I passed a wayside pulpit, and instead of one of their cute puns, the newly-changed sign just said, “Never Give Up. Galatians 6:9.”

So of course I had to look up Galatians 6:9. Here’s the NIV version: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

It didn’t make me feel less tired or more energetic, but the verse did help me keep plugging away for a few more days.

So how about you? Do you believe in “Godwinks”? Have you had one lately?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Never-Ending Vacation at the Beach

My mom and dad (who passed away in March). They were married 64 years.
Have you ever tried to convince someone to try something that you know is wonderful, you know they’ll love it, but you just can’t get them interested?

For example, I’m still convinced that my husband would love the TV show Lost. He would adore puzzling out all its mysteries and symbolism. But his opinion is that it’s just another stereotypical TV show and he’s not interested. If you’ve ever watched Lost at all, you’ll know how misguided that attitude is. I mean, you can think that Lost is too weird, too confusing, too out-there…but just another stereotypical TV show?! I just shake my head, amazed.

I often think God is shaking his head at most of us—at least most of us in contemporary Western culture—and our blasé attitudes about Heaven. Do you ever confess to yourself that Heaven sounds just a little, well…boring?

I’ve been thinking and reading about Heaven a lot lately. Maybe it’s my age, but it seems that more and more of my treasures are in Heaven, so it disturbs me when I try to think about it and can’t picture anything much, maybe clouds and vague harp music in the background. It’s hard to make Heaven seem exciting and real.

I love what C.S. Lewis said along those lines: “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (from The Weight of Glory)

This week, I’m actually preparing for a “holiday at the sea.” (That sounds so much more elegant than what I would usually say—a vacation at the beach.) I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it. The beauty. The rest from everyday worries and stresses. Getting away from it all.

It struck me that I should be in a constant state of anticipation for the vacation that will never end. For the seashore beyond all seashores, beyond my imagination of how splendid and beautiful it will be.

Which, of course, is a great deal of the problem. We can’t imagine the unimagineable. But we can do things that help. Read the Biblical passages that describe Heaven. Dwell on Heaven instead of our stresses. For me, it even helps to watch fantasy movies that stretch my imagination and help me picture things I never could have invented by myself.

I want to live in a state of anticipation all the time, not just when I have an earthly vacation coming up. As Lewis indicated, sometimes our lives in this prosperous society can seem pretty awesome. But that feeling doesn’t last, does it? The vacation ends. The car breaks down. Worst of all, friends and family members go on to Heaven ahead of us. When that happens, I’d rather lift my eyes and gaze out onto the sea than keep my head down, wallowing in the mud.

If you feel the same way, here are a few books that are helping me:
  • ·         50 Days of Heaven by Randy Alcorn
  • ·         Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada
  • ·         Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
  • ·         The Slumber of Christianity by Ted Dekker