Cracks in the Cement

20130421_112846Today it’s cold, but the rain has stopped here in Chicago.

Now- I love rain, but it’s been flooding and many of our metro as well as mid-western neighbors have been dealing with huge problems due to all that rising water.

The streams and rivers, ponds and lakes are overflowing. Many have had to leave their homes, some people’s cars are full of water and mud and several folks lost their lives or the lives of loved ones due to the flooding after so many days of rain.

At least here in Chicago on Sunday early afternoon the sun is shining, the wind is light and until later tonight we’re drying out.

I heard a radio talk show personality mention that exactly one year ago the state of Illinois was almost totally baked in full-on drought. One year later it’s the exact opposite!

But as my title suggests, I want to talk about life in the middle of all this.

Spiritually speaking many people (Americans for sure) are extremists. It’s largely in our dna to go hardcore one way or the other.

There are certainly spiritual fanatics who run from fireworks show to carnival until they finally -at least in some cases- just reach a point of extreme saturation. I say “saturation” not in terms of God the Holy Spirit truly enriching them but rather the surface stuff of humanity, a sort of “film” of spirituality that has little to do with genuine Bible truth, application, loving God and neighbor. It feels good until it wears off.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t “wear out” and so cannot “wear off”.

But what I want to focus on is walking out of our Sunday morning gathering and seeing the blooming flowers -behind the fence.

Nothing blooms -inside- hard, compacted cement. A stagnant, unchanging, no-life situation may “feel” safe and secure but in the end it’s death.

People naturally rebel against balances, scales, challenges and they can of course get into an attitude of “been-there-done-that” jadedness that prevents or at least quenches spiritual growth.

But we love to camp out where there is little challenge or stirring. Comfort (and not “The Comforter” Jesus tells us about) is often our aim. We aim to get it and keep it. And there we see a sort of concrete that can cement the water, sun, air and growth right out of us.

So as I looked at (and snapped this picture) of little flowers blooming I noticed they’re BEHIND the fence and somewhat surrounded by concrete.

People think freedom means doing whatever they like, whatever makes ME comfortable and feeling secure. But such “freedom” has nothing to do with maturity, growth, continuing education, pruning, watering, fertilizing and blooming.

Then I thought of many places I’ve been in various inner-cities (Chicago and elsewhere) where one can find all sorts of flowers (and yes, sometimes weeds) growing right out of the cracks of pavement.

One block from where we live there is a parking lot that has been unused for a couple of years and there are all sorts of plants, weeds and flowers continually sprouting up in the many cracks between the cement.

Such scenes remind me of life, of local congregations, of myself as well.

Note that weeds and not only beautiful flowers spring up in such places… but that’s another blog I may write another time.

Am I, are you… errrr… blooming? Do you feel “fenced in” even though you’re seeing spiritual growth in your life… sometimes at least in part due to feeling rather tightly enclosed?

Sometimes that’s the best place to be.

Something to consider 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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