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Wednesday, April 8, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

While seated by one of Lake Sebago's bays the other day, I marveled at its expanse. The water comes; it goes. With it, season folds into season. Day into night. Month into month.

The lake is with me. The lake is not with me. It is there. It is moving. It is changing. What is secure about the lake?

What lessons for living can I learn from pondering the lake?

Then I realized how we tend to concentrate on the situation at hand--or its frightening unpredictabilities. The day is with us. The hour is moving. The night is coming. Tomorrow may not be as we had seen it in today's fashioning.

I consequently resolved henceforth to concentrate more firmly on Easter Jesus.

Circumstances at hand indeed will blow with the winds of history. Yet Easter Jesus remains secure.

Think back ten years. What pressure was upon you then?

Think back fifteen years. What were you doing on that day?

You cannot recall it. It is a blur. Sometimes, as years pass, it is as if another person lived out our situations, places, and events. One of God's gifts is to blur the past in preparation for eternity.

Paul said, "Forgetting those things that are past. . .we forge ahead in Christ's prize." (Philippians 3:13)

The accent is on the now in Jesus, regardless of the lake in motion. Then this now will pass as does the lake move before our eyes. Therefore, it is not so much what is the content of the now, but Jesus in the now--the risen Savior who will never leave us.

I would resign my right to know
The morrow with its mystery hidden.
'Tis only God who has the right
To hold the key from now till heaven.

Frettings would have us focus on our settings: poor, confused, threatening? God would have us focus on our Easter Savior: more than adequate, abiding, loving, leading.

As we approach Holy Week with its assurance of victory, let us remember that it is Jesus who is our all-in-all. It is He who undergirds our mortality. It is He who understands our fragility.

That is why Scripture refers to us as clay--cracked. As dust--blowing in the winds. As wheat strands--at the mercy of the weather.

Yet over our humanness is the God-man--Jesus Christ. Our very breath derives from Him.

The vow of poverty I take
In order for the soul to find
Its riches only in His grace,
Its wealth within His kindly mind.

Sometimes dire situations are permitted by God in order for us to cast off all our attachments to the world. It is so difficult for some of us to let go of our manufactured securities: position, academic accomplishments, standing in the corporation, bank accounts, political savvy, talents, connections.

Yet none of these can be our ultimate security. None. Easter Jesus is our only sure security.

In speaking with a newly widowed friend, she commented on the stark adjustments: loneliness, financial details, scheduling doctor's appointments with only herself for transport. Sometimes, she intimated, it can seem overwhelming. What practical security had she?

Then she reassured me that she reminds herself that victory comes in her moment-by-moment faith in Jesus.

So patiently I keep my pulse
To measure motion by His pace.
Then calm in Christ shall settle in
So as to see naught but His face.