Posted by: Brad Stanford | October 29, 2009

The Swing

I got my tire swing finished today.

This follows up yesterday, which saw help arrive in the form of family, and five or six things got done: more firewood; a bed for the wife and I (no more air mattress!); the water heater closet is almost winterized; the hot water now works in the kitchen sink (no more filling up dishwater in the bathroom!); the dryer is now in the house next to the washer, instead of being in the garage where the sole 220 plug used to be.

But, there is also some anxiousness afoot as well: the health of relatives; business decisions that are coming up; a bad car accident of a friend of a friend; one of my cats getting sick, to the point we nearly had to take it to the vet tonight.

But then church was great tonight. And I got to see God moving in some people. And we had some Dublin Dr Pepper and some tots from Sonic.

Back and forth. Back and forth. That’s how life is isn’t it? It swings from one extreme to the other.

Many people try to insulate themselves from the swinging, but that doesn’t work for one reason or another. They might have their retirement all planned, and then the economy tanks. Or the economy is fine, but their marriage is on the rocks after all those years of struggling to work for retirement. Or everything is great, except for your health, which makes everything else seem so unimportant.

There’s no use in resisting the swing. It has to do what it was designed to do. God made this ride to last a very short time. The enemy wants that short time to be as miserable as possible. Our battle is to remember that the fight takes place in the heart and mind. God spends hundreds of ours training us to swing, while we keep trying to stop the swing. He wants us to know how to handle all seasons, not just the stable ones.

It is possible to enjoy the swing, even when it seems like its out of control. I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When confronted with death, they told the king who was ordering it: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The best part of that answer is this: “…and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.” They admitted that they didn’t know if they would live or die. But they were declaring that no matter how it ended, they would be rescued from this king. They understood that deliverance would change the king, so that he would give praise to God, and no longer demand them to worship an idol. No longer would they have to serve the king that caused their current problem. And if they died? They would no longer have to serve the king that caused their current problem. Either way, they would be rescued.

Notice what allowed them to swing from respected ministers one day, to condemned men the next? They knew the end of the story. They could see past the current circumstances, by faith. God spends hours trying to teach us to swing, and when it gets too high or too fast, we start begging Him to stop the swing. What we need to do is trust God, face our fears, and ride the ride He has given us.

I didn’t hang the swing so that I could have something hanging from my tree. I hung the swing for it to be used. The kids knew what to do, and immediately started playing on it. Oh, that I might have the faith in my Daddy that they have in theirs, and learn to enjoy the swings of life. I don’t mean being happy all the time, I mean embracing every emotion that comes my way, and letting it build character. Sad stuff happens, so mourn! The promise is that those who mourn will be comforted. Peacemakers are called “blessed” but making peace requires conflict. The good and the bad are the two highest points of the swing, and the height of the good is in proportion to the depth of the bad.

So when my kids swing on the tire swing, it reminds me to quit fighting the swing of life, and live by faith in the one who doesn’t change. There will still be joy and sadness, fear and laughter. Embrace it! It is the life that He has given, each breath, undeserved, and the whole ride very short. We might find that even with the difficult parts, it’s still an amazing ride.

 

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