Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Walking Through the Brush

I remember as  young boy, spending summers with my grandparents in Upper Michigan. I loved to fish for trout on the streams with my grandpa. We would often walk several miles back into the woods, on what had long ago, been a rail road track or logging trail.  I could never tell where we were, where we were going, and If something happened to grandpa, we would both die because there was no chance of me finding the way home. The only thing for me to do was to stick close and follow Him, because he knew where we where going, he knew the signs to look for that kept us on track. Sometimes we would walk through a swamp, or  brush so thick it could tear your clothes, sometimes we walked in tree plantations, free from underbrush, and sometimes we walked in open fields where lumberjacks used to plant potatoes. Grandpas pace never changed, he moved forward swiftly, it was up to me to keep up, even at 7 or 8 years old. But, I trusted Him to the fullest degree, I knew he would get us to a stream full of trout. The conformation would come as the woods would open up and a beautiful stream would appear, that few had fished, ever!
The last weeks of ministry has confirmed to me to continue on a path. I believe I have been assured that where we are walking and working, is where God wants us to be... right now. Does that shock you? The idea that I am leading a ministry that has existed for 13 years and I am expressing this now? That has been the way of it for the entire 13 years; steps of faith, moving towards what we believe God is pointing to. Then comes a confirmation, yes, this is it, keep at it. Some say that is to haphazard, some say it could lead to many mistakes, some have said its just to much to think about so forget it, some ask, what if we fail, some ask, how do you know? All of these are valid questions, yet in working for Jesus, non of these things matter. 
I have a very small measure of faith, but I don't think think the faith I have is in what  I hear most people at church talking about. My faith looks a little like this: I believe God loves me and He is always good. I believe He has a plan for me. I believe He wants me to be like Christ. I believe He will give me opportunity to grow towards Christ. All I have to do is embrace the circumstance He brings each day, even if it something I don't think I want. Somedays its a hug, somedays a spank, somedays its a gift, somedays its a fight, somedays it hurts bad, somedays it feels great. But that is the way of love, and knowing God loves me makes it all ok. Do I complain, of course! I am a whiner. Do I want it to be different at times, yes. But every time as I turn back to look what He did, it was good for me. That is where my faith is, in that God loves me and wants what's best for me eternally.
God has supplied every need and want we have had over the last 13 years, and we are so undeserving. Thats the beauty of it all, His ways are not ours, He loves us no matter what. We will screw it up, because we are fallin, no good, love rejecting human beings. But, we must try our best to follow His lead and embrace what He brings.
My theology is to simple for most, but I am simple.  It is not a license to do anything I want, but rather a license to embrace anything God brings along. It mostly seems to be a matter of praying for courage and allowing that courage to grow in us. Following Christ is not easy, His pace is quick, He walks us through thick woods at times, but He knows where He taking us is good and that it is worth every step. I look forward to the day when those thick woods clear and we come to that beautiful place where God embraces us and Jesus says, see how wonderful and beautiful, I told you it was worth the walk. I can hardly wait to find Grandpa, on a stream, fishing, I will hug him and thank him for the lessons he gave me walking to a stream.


  1. I always find it so hard to trust that no matter what, God has our best in mind. God supplies my needs and he never lets me so hard to believe. I love how you said "do I complain...of course" That is something I can relate to:) The truth is we can all say these things but to actually apply the truth of it is sometimes the hard part. Thats usually me, complaining through it all until finally the application of this principle takes hold and I KNOW that he's taking me down that path that leads me to him. Oh wait, did I say "KNOW"...just ask me tomorrow and I'll have no faith. I'm a work in progress I guess:)
    By the was super good to hear about grandpa again! I miss him.

  2. Great blog, Tony. It was good to take a walk down memory lane. I did those fishing trips with dad before he started taking you. I know exactly what feelings you had on those trips. In ministry, I sometimes have fears of being alone but not for long. With my dad close by, I always felt safe. And I know that now, when my fears rise up, I need to sense the safety, comfort, peace and COURAGE that are only found in my FATHER'S embrace. Lord, help me to look up, press in close to you and rest on your precious promises. And then, by faith, walk through the brush to the beautiful streams of refreshing that come at precisely the right time. Love you, Tony.

  3. Oh Becky I miss him to. I wonder if there ever have been grandparents who affected their grandkids more. I still have difficulty on quiet afternoons up north, sometimes I hear a chainsaw in the distance and expect Grandpa to walk in the cabin. Its a weird feeling at times for me, I think I have come to terms with Dans death in many positive ways, but with Grandpa and Grandma, it seems harder for me to not to miss them. I understand the total unconditional love of Jesus because of their love, no strings, no performance level, no expectations, just love.

  4. I've always thought that we had the best grandparents too. I remember Grandpa telling Tim that I needed a lot of affection and to make sure to give me enough hugs. Grandpa was always so loving and snuggled with me all the time. He would make up songs and sing to me. I understand that unconditional love because of them too. We were very blessed to have them.

  5. Thanks for the memories and for the confirmation, again, that God is leading in my life. Strange that even though there can be no doubt a calling by God, I still like to need to hear occasionally, "Keep walking. You're going in the right direction." God is good to continue to lead and guide us!