Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This week's lesson: the cost of discipleship

It's amazing how often green pastures and white knuckles go together.

One of my earliest memories, for instance, is of riding in the car my Dad was driving through the Rockies. We were on one of those high, narrow, winding, mountain roads -- the kind that don't have guardrails because the tourists keep knocking them down . . .
  • And it was night.
  • And it was snowing.
  • And far down in the valley below, I could see the glimmer of lights from somebody's ranch.
I was enchanted; I felt I was the luckiest person in the world to see something so beautiful . . . 
Though I realize now that my Dad may not have felt the same way.
But that's the way life is: our greatest joys often come in the midst of danger; our most treasured memories often come from those times we were winding our way through the slippery curves of something that could have gone horribly wrong. 
And if you ask people to make two lists: one of things that make them happy, and one of things that make them sad . . . then you'll find that most of the things on those two lists are the same -- things such as family, friends, work, and church.
Yes, the "green pastures" of our lives are often one and the same as our "valleys of the shadow of death" -- and that was true in the days David too.
Both "green pastures" and "still waters" were contested ground, after all; they were sought by every shepherd, claimed by every shepherd, and defended by every shepherd against their rivals. It was only in "the presence of your enemies," in other words, that you could enjoy these things . . . 
Just as that snowy, mountain road was the best place to enjoy the view.
Sounds dangerous?
It is.
But remember who's driving the car.

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