A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dave's Deep Thoughts

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

All winter long I had waited for a big snow storm.
Little did I know that I would have to fly 1800 miles to find it.

The Wasatch Mountains are majestic
as they rise above the Salt Lake basin.

It is not unusual for a storm to settle in the canyons
and dump major amounts of snow on the mountain.....
like say 41 inches in 24 hours.

That is 33 more inches then we received at home THIS ENTIRE WINTER.

I love to ski.
There is nothing like coming down the mountain,
breathing in the freshest of air,
feeling the wind brush against you,
hearing a world silenced of phones and faxes.

41 inches of powder changes the way one skis.

And so that meant another lesson from a dear friend,
a ski instructor who has the patience of a saint.

Off to the traverse we went.....
The traverse is a trail that takes you across the mountain,
it takes you off the easier groomer paths,
to untouched powder,
(that would be 41 inches of fresh powder in case you have forgotten)
It takes you to a scary place,
a place removed from your comfort zone.

Time to learn.
Time to be stretched.
Time to pray .........for a way out.

We reached our destination.
It was beautiful, this large bowl nestled into the side of the mountain.
But the incline was daunting.

The dear friend says,
You need to ski differently in these conditions.
As you make your turns, don't lift your skis,
and lean down the mountain as you make your turns.

Do what?

Lean where?

Erma Bombeck , the great humorist once said,
I will participate in no winter sport
where there is an ambulance parked at the bottom of the hill

I saw no ambulance,
but then, I was looking down a mountain
that was 12,000 feet above sea level.
I couldn't see the bottom.

But I think I saw Jesus, 3 or 4 times
As much as I want to see Jesus,
this was not necessarily the time I was hoping for.

It's not easy to work against bodily instincts.
Let me say,
when you are looking down a 7,000 foot mountain
on a steep incline,
one's instinct is to lean back into the mountain,
not lean into the slope.

The instinct makes you feel safe.
But the instinct doesn't prepare you for what you need to do.
Leaning back into the mountain throws you off balance,
ill prepared to make any turn successfully.

The result of leaning back into the mountain while making a turn
instead of leaning down the mountain..........
in skiing terms, we call it a face plant.

After a few successful face plants,
I made up my mind to do what my friend suggested.

It takes COURAGE to follow the curious advice
of a trusted friend.
It takes FAITH that your friend knows what is best for you.
It takes ENDURANCE when you don't succeed
the first time.

There is nothing more humiliating to a skier than a face plant.
But there is nothing more wonderful than when a skier
does something differently,
and feels and sees the result.

I come back from the Wasatch Mountains
each year a better skier,
because I have the teaching of a trusted friend.

It doesn't mean that that I don't encounter face plants,
but as I trust,
I find that I am able to do things that I never before imagined.

All credit to the friend, the teacher.
That would be Carol,
but more importantly Jesus

The next time you find yourself
out of your comfort zone,
may you remember that even that which seems like strange advice
from your trusted Savior and Friend
will take you different and better place.

If you just trust and obey.

"For I know the plans that I have for you,
declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for calamity,
to give you a future and a hope."

Jeremiah 29:11

No comments: