Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Grey Skies

Arriving early for a study at a friend's house yesterday I was invited to sit outside in the back yard whilst a couple of them got on with some homework that needed attention. Now if you're not aware of Tucson weather it's not really over-simplifying things to say that Tucson has two seasons - summer and winter. Those two seasons can be summed up quite simply - summer is ridiculously hot with a lot of sunlight and a short rainy season. Winter consists of mild days and cool evenings with less sunlight and the odd shower. Suffice to say I'm not a massive fan of Tucson summers but very much enjoy the winters.

Getting back to it then, as I sat outside, the weather showed all the signs of winter being well on the way, and something about it made both my mind and body feel alive. Looking up at the cloud-filled, grey skies and sitting at the foot of the towering Catalina mountains I started to consider various statements that have been thrown around a lot since my church began its 40 Days of Purpose campaign. In particular I was wondering how the idea that a person is only really fulfilled when pursuing God's purpose for their lives matches up with the reality of life. I was thinking that making such a statement to people who are searching for purpose, or those dissatisfied with work or relationships or whatever is a pretty straightforward thing, but what of those who say they are satisfied?

How do you communicate to someone that God knows better than they what their purpose is, and perhaps more poignantly, what will satisfy them? Then there's the ultimate litmus test, the reality of one's own life. How does my experience match up? What do I really feel about this whole thing? Convenient quotes from a book aside, if I were to tell someone that God does offer more satisfaction, would my own experience back that up?

I don't know if it was because I felt energised by the crisp feel of the cool, grey-skied evening, but I soon started recalling a sense of adventure, the opportunties I've had in life for travel, challenge and change. I began to feel a sense of excitement about the future and all the possibilities therein - books I've read about ministers and their journeys around the world, inspiring stories about faith and God's provision, the experience of faith lived out in ways that actually require risk and cost; emotionally and materially. Those flawed human beings known as men and women of God got to experience such a path of life that by the end of it I do not know of any who regretted the choice to 'live life by God's lead'; though maybe some of them wish that they had lived more in that way than they did. I've experienced a little of what so many before me have made a theme of their life, and I'd have to say that I know what it is that so captivated them.

Have you ever had someone urge you to do something that you didn't want to, or give/suggest to you something that you would never have bought or considered yourself, but now when you look back, you wouldn't want to re-live your life without including it?

That evening of grey skies I considered that living life by God's lead seems very much akin to having someone who will continually provide you with suggestions, opportunities and gifts that you could or would not enter or attain yourself. Some of those will pay back immediately, others may make no sense for a long while, yet I am certain that by the time life reaches it's dusk, you will have found your life so enriched that like the ones gone before, you would not want to live it again any other way.