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                Hanley Lake sunrise - back to even

               Hanley Lake sunrise - back to even

Just after punching in at the hardware store, my boss beckoned me over for a “Key Academy” refresher lesson.  “Customers returned ten of your keys for re-dos,” he explained.

In nearly six months working there, I’ve cut a lot of keys and thought I was doing well. Although he was not the least critical but patient in reviewing key-cutting basics with me, I felt a little down about it. As I headed out to the sales floor, I prayed briefly along the line of James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work….” (NIV)

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A family party conversation turns to praises for life and work achievements of siblings, children, grandchildren and people present.  “Someone” loves to use these work identity conversations to re-ignite my self-doubts. Hours later, unable to pull out of the sadness, I find a verse to remind me Whose I am.  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they ("I") may have life and have it abundantly."  (John 10:10)

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With two other couples, Cindy and I help set up a room for a reception that weekend. After the work is done, we hang out with these friends, three pairs of catching-up conversations. My conversation with Robin about writing and life and how God’s leading is so real and refreshing.

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Two responses to two inquiries about how and what I’m doing now that I want to re-do. Despite having pre-thought and even written draft responses, I answered weakly both times. All I can do now is pray. “Lord, transform my feeble words into a life-giving word by the power of your Holy Spirit" (Romans 8:26, ESV)

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At the reception, I reconnect with Susan and learn about her own career search. “Difficult,” she admitted but she just found something new after a year of little promise. Then she recounted times in the new job when she appealed God to show up to overcome a seeming dead-end - and how he always did.

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Disclosing my struggles and faltering with the guys at Saturday morning prayer lead to reflecting about the kind of joy Jesus had in mind to endure the cross so we would not grow weary and lose heart. (See Hebrews 12:1-3, ESV)

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Judges 2 covers Joshua’s death and foresees the next phase of Israel’s shaky history with God. Here in the “promised land” that God delivered to them, Israel will initially honor him and prosper.  Then gradually they forget his redemptive role. Cozying up with their neighbors, they set God aside who let them drift into deep trouble.

At their bottom is where they “remember” God and beg for rescue. The only reason God ever gives for why he listens is simply to assert who he is, “I AM.”  He raises a rescuer (judge) who delivers them.  And then Israel repeats their weary cycle.

Judges 2 is a snapshot of the entire Old Testament and also of my life as a one who claims to also believe and follow God. A casual reader might wonder why a story like Israel’s or mine would be written or read. For that matter, who would write such a story?

Knowing that God would write such a story and did makes me smile.  What first appears as a miserably repeating cycle of human failure is really God’s own story as he tells it, as Creator and Redeemer.

Only by the grace of the most gracious Author of life am I in the story at all. "You did not choose me, but I chose you..." (John 15:16a, NIV)

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Notes:

A great post along this line: God, Are You Enough? - Melissa Taylor, 5/31/2013