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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Skiing Like Faith

[My brother on the slopes. Notice the "nightmare" sign coincidentially pointing right at him!]

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.

They say to watch out for the fast ball,
but sometimes it's the ol’ curve ball that gets you.

I am a risk taker.
It's in my personality makeup.
It's who I am.

I haven't quite reached sky diving status yet,
but I already have passed paragliding and am quickly approaching bull riding.

When I was building my house a few years ago,
(talk about a risky move............)
I thought nothing of climbing a 20 foot wall to tack down a few nails.

Being a risk taker while living among more conservative types is a challenge.
I find that I have far more mothers than I know what to do.

Sometimes this fifty-something guy feels like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story"
with multiple mother types ready to invoke the
"You're going to shoot your eye out" warning of doom.

As a child,
I survived my BB gun days with full eyesight,
I emerged with some hard earned scars from my mini-bike expeditions,
and I always crawled back into the sunlight after my spelunking adventures.  

Now-a-days it’s about skiing.
Whenever I am heading out on a ski trip, this is what I usually get......

"Now don't break a leg"  (never have)
"Stay off those really steep hills"  (that's what they are there for)

or my personal favorite........

"Be sure to come home in one piece." (which is always my  personal preference)

I have been a skier for 40 years
and except for one fateful early spring ski day in '93
when my skis tried to cross dirt rather than snow,
I have stayed out of the ER.

Last month I went on a skiing expedition with a buddy.
We took on everything that the ski slopes in northern PA could offer.
We spent the afternoon ripping down every diamond and double diamond slope that we could find

I can't say that I have never had any anxious moments while on the slopes.
Unexpected patches of ice, sudden gusts of wind, or narrow terrain on a 40% incline,
can cause anyone to see Jesus.

I usually see Jesus offering me cocoa 
as blinding snow spritzes my face at 30 miles per hour
Trust me, 30 miles per hour is a very good time for cocoa, and Jesus.

After about 20 rips down the inclines that day, I had not seen Jesus.......
that is until the accident.

For all my multiple mothers who are about to say "I told you so"
I would not be referring to any accident on the slopes.

That would be my accident.....................
in the locker room.

That's right,  the locker room.
After 4 hours of double diamond skiing,
I hurt myself in the locker room.

Of all the mothers that I have,
it would be my biological mother
who gave me her arthritic fingers with swollen knuckles.
These are the kind of knuckles that get caught in locker door handles as you are closing them,
thus causing massive pain and primal screams.

I left the ski lodge with my middle finger imbedded in a cup of snow
and my tail dragging between my legs.

My locker room accident won't keep me from skiing again.
Sometimes just life throws you a curve ball when you are expecting a fastball.
That happens whether your personality profile tells you to ski or just lay by the pool.

What it does tell me is that nothing in life is guaranteed,
except that God loves us and He will always be with us in each and every circumstance. (Romans 8:38)

It also reminds me that while it is my responsibility to make wise and prayer bathed 
decisions about what I choose  to do, I must be willing to accept the results. (Psalm 27)

It also tells me that while worrying is unhealthy and faithless.
The better path is to keep alert in all things.( Luke 21:36)

And for me that includes locker #423

Now go enjoy your day,
and be careful not to shoot your eye out.

The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life.
Whom shall I dread?

When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

Though a host encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;

Though wars arise against me,
in spite of this, I shall be confident.
                                               Psalm 27:1-3

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