March 19, 2017

I was remiss last week in thanking all of you for the many birthday cards and the thoughtful gifts. With a few extra doses of insulin I was able to enjoy the wonderful sweets. I even got a few new items to help fuel my pyromania (thanks Carol). Shannon and I, starting with our wedding in 1991, have saved and cataloged every card we have ever received, and those you gave me during the birthday party will be no exception. Thank you for creating yet more nice memories. God certainly has a way of using our Christian family to treat us better than we shall ever deserve.

At some point every day during the first 15 days of March it rained. I don’t know how many consecutive days it had rained total this year, but I do know that most of February was wet. Finally, came Thursday, March 16 –sunshine. There was no way I was sitting in my office, nor my house, or anyone else’s house for that matter. I grabbed my Bible, a notebook, my dog Josie Wales, and headed for the park.

Compared to the last several months, it was warm. It was dry. Even the ducks on the lake seemed to be in an especially good mood. The sunlight glistened on the water. Aw, there’s hope. There’s hope. I must have had a rather obvious look of contentment about me to prompt the fellow who passed me to comment. “Yes, just soaking up the big orange ball in the sky,” I replied. To which his response is, “You better enjoy it now. It ain’t gonna last, ya know. Gonna come down in buckets tomorrow, ya know.” Thanks buddy.

There’s always got to be an “it ain’t gonna last” person around, doesn’t there? Someone always has to interject a “yes, but…” It’s a beautiful day. Yes, but tomorrow aliens could land in Aberdeen and kill us all. See the nice new car I’ve been saving my whole life to get. Yes, but you probably paid way too much, and Consumer Reports says the other one is better. Isn’t it great that her cancer is gone? Yes, but it will probably come back, and when it does it will kill her. Wasn’t that sermon encouraging? Yes, but it could have been longer, and deeper, and said differntly. Our worship service brought me closer to God today. Yes, but we didn’t have enough songs, and the building was too hot, and the communion bread tasted stale. No matter how exciting, how enjoyable, how uplifting some experience may be, it seems someone always has rise up to point out the negative.

Why do we insist on refusing to accept the good that we have in the moment that we have it? We don’t need the “it ain’t gonna last” reminders, and all the “yes, buts…” We already know that. Some days are miserable, relentless, cloudy rain. Some days are sunshine. Let me bask in the good while I got it. I need to let you bask in your good while you got it.

It’s nothing new, really. This is how the devil convinced Eve. We live in paradise. We don’t hurt, we don’t have to work, we don’t cry. We have plenty of food, and shelter, and love. Yes, but…you could be smarter. You could more like God. And you know the rest of the story.

Same thing with the Israelites on the other side of the Red Sea – God saved them from a wretched existence in slavery to the Egyptians. Yes, but now he’s brought us out here into this wilderness. What will we eat and what will we drink? And you know the rest of that story, too.

This is one reason some of us absolutely long for Heaven. It is a dwelling of light and wonderfulness forever and ever. There’ll be no clouds, no darkness and doom. No naysayers to remind you of the bad days ahead, no one to rain on that awesome eternal, angelic parade. In Heaven, there is no “yes, but…” There’ll be no bad days ahead. It’s all good. It’s always going to be good. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

Chuck Schultheisz