During a period in the 1990's I was having severe back pain. Every night I would lay down in bed and shortly thereafter my back would go into spasm, excruciating pain, feeling like my back was being broken in half. Every morning, bringing my body to a standing position, I would again go into spasm which endured for two to four hours at a time. At the time I managed 20 employees in an office in Beaverton, with an hour commuting time. On one morning, it was my responsibility to speak with each one of our employees and let them know that the office was being shutdown and they no longer had a job. As I was driving south on I-5 during rush hour traffic, I remember praying and then I just began shouting out loud in frustration, "Lord, I can't do this, my back is killing me and I can't handle having to let all these people go. I can't do this day!" I remember as if it was yesterday, I was on the middle of the bridge heading south coming to the rise at the top of the bridge, and the pain in my back disappeared instantly... and I had a calm that I had never ever experienced before. The day was a sad day, but I was given the grace, not only to help my employees through the process, but also to see that God was truly, intimately present and listening to my cry.
HOME! No stress, no travel, and no expense... it's the perfect and best place to vacation! A little boring though.
"Stop the World, I want to get off!"
If I could "stomach" coffee (which I don't), for the sake of relationship and conversation, I would have to say my father-in-law. Of all men in history through the ages (notwithstanding Jesus Christ, himself), I would value just one more moment in time to get his advice and perspective on what is happening in the world today.
Agreeing to play the organ for a couple's wedding, and then getting a cell phone call while enjoying a beach outing with my family three hours away, "Where are you, the wedding's about to start?"
I was invited for the first time to my boss' home for dinner—having been just recently hired at a local bank. Not wanting to seem out of place, I took one flute of champagne offered to me. I dutifully drank the whole flute and we went into dinner. Shortly after, my head nodded into my plate before I woke up with food on my face. My inability to hold liquor, especially on an empty stomach made me infamous throughout the bank. My boss never let me live it down.
I love to see the faces light up when Jesus' name is glorified; I love to see how God moves among His people to encourage and support one another. I love to see how people are moved to care and reach outside themselves in a world that is intent on selfish desire. I love the glimpses of heaven that we are privileged to view in the lives of those who love Him.
There is no better place for sinners to gather, support, nurture and encourage one another to love. For all its reputation for hypocrisy, no other or better place in this world grants the grace for sinners to love and build relationship. Here, "the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." (Psalm 149:4)