DayBreaks for 9/06/17 – Traveling the Circle

DayBreaks for 9/06/17: Traveling the Circle

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

From “The Scrivener”, a blog by Doug Dalrymple:

“I’m reminded of a passage in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Sydney Carton, habitually unhappy, is pondering a great act, a beautiful act, which if carried out will certainly cost him everything.  Setting aside his customary bitter tone, Sydney suddenly asks the elderly Jarvis Lorry, ‘Does your childhood seem far off?  Do the days when you sat at your mother’s knee seem days of very long ago?’  Venerable and wizened, and having spent his days in simple, loving dedication to others, the octogenarian Lorry replies:

‘Twenty years back, yes; at this time in my life, no.  For, as I draw closer and closer to the end, I travel in the circle, nearer and nearer to the beginning.  It seems to be one of the kind smoothings and preparings of the way.  My heart is touched now by many remembrances that had long fallen asleep, of my pretty young mother (and I so old!), and by many associations of the days when what we call the World was not so real with me, and my faults were not confirmed in me.’

“I recently asked my father a similar question: Whether or not, as he’s grown older, his memories of childhood seem to fade or grow more vivid? He replied, ‘a little of both.’  By Jarvis Lorry’s measure this suggests my father has yet to complete his circuit and that my children and I will enjoy the blessing of his company here below for years to come.  I do pray, however, that aging becomes for me (and for each of us) less a process of alienation from the child I once was, and more a process of recovery.  God willing that I should grow old and gray, I hope some day to gaze into the mirror and through the fog of outward appearances to apprehend the faint outlines of that seven-year-old boy, fully inhabiting the old man’s frame, secretly supplying him with joy and wonder and curiosity in the world, in his Maker, and especially in those given to him to love.”

Galen’s Thoughts:

I’ve mused on this kind of topic before, but my son has a wonderful way with words that express things far better than I can.  I like the idea of traveling in the circle – and that as we get nearer and nearer to the end, we are actually getting nearer and nearer to the beginning.  And is it not so?  We came from God, and we shall return to Him.  While that is a comfort to those who have come to know Him and His Son, it is also a very sobering reminder.  We tend to think that as we age we are further and further removed from our origin.  But such is not the case.  It is precisely at the midway point in our lives (whatever that may be for a given individual) that we are the farthest from the origin.  As we get older, the period of our alienation here upon earth grows shorter and short and the time of our arrival on eternity’s doorstep grows ever shorter and nearer.  And in eternity dwells the One who is our Origin, our Creator, our God and our Father. 

When my younger son (Tim, not Doug) was a competitive gymnast, at the end of a day he’d be somewhat exhausted – sometimes very exhausted.  My advice to him was always the same (and I’m sure he got tired of hearing it): “Finish well.”  What kind of horrible tragedy will it be for us to get so close to the finish line, to completing the circle and returning to our Maker, if we lose our heart for Him and His Word toward the end?  If we suddenly stop and turn away from the truth He taught us throughout the first part of our journey around the circle?  I’ve been through my mid-life crisis, and I’m here to tell you that it was no fun.  I came close to chucking it all out the window a number of years ago.  But I think one thing, more than any other, made me hold on: my life would have been a waste and my testimony a sham if I turned away. 

I want to finish well.  I want to complete the circle in such a way that when I put my foot on God’s doorstep, He’ll open the door and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord!”  I pray you will finish well, too.

PRAYER: Oh, Lord.  Help us not to grow weary or to lose sight of the end.  May we be ever more mindful each and every passing moment that we are drawing close to the completion of this life’s journey and that when we pass from this world, we will stand before You.  May we hear Your voice filled with pleasure when we awake from our sleep!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/21/14 – When You Think it’s Over, It’s Just Begun

DayBreaks for 4/21/14 – When You Think it is All Over, It’s Just Begun

Holy Week has now come and gone.  The palm fronds are gone, the Easter lilies are starting to droop, the colored eggs and crowds at church as all put away for another year.  And it would appear that for many, life goes back to normal, doesn’t it? There are those who feel they have fulfilled their annual “duty” to their spouse because they attended Easter services and it will now be another year before they once more have to darken the doorway of a church.

In just a matter of days Holy Week has taken us from festive palms to the mountain of Golgatha’s despair, to the stone-cold tomb and the glorious Son-rise.  Maybe that’s why so many fight it so hard! I mean, do we really need the emotional rollercoaster of Holy Week? What’s so wrong with just jumping from one parade to the next and skipping all the sacrifice and death stuff? What’s wrong with simply moving on to the joy of Easter, with its white bonnets, Easter eggs, family, friends, big ham dinner, and of course the empty tomb.

Well, I think that deep inside we all know the answer to that, don’t we? For starters, an empty tomb, at face value, is a lot easier to deal with than a dying, bleeding Savior on a cross. Add to that all the pain and suffering that comes with Holy Week, is it any wonder that the human tendency is to try and ignore the events of the week and simply move on to the Easter celebration? But as much as we’d like to skip Holy Week we know that the only way to Easter is through the cross. We know where the parade of Palm Sunday leads and we also know that we’re part of that parade. That is to say, we know this intellectually. Our hearts are another story. Our hearts may be more in sync with the disciples and the fear and disbelief that led them to run away. It would seem that 2000 years later Jesus’ disciples are still running away.

Because of Holy Week, how will you live differently this year?  Isn’t it time to stop running away and to take a stand?

PRAYER: Lord, there seems a sort of emotional let-down now that the pinnacle of the Christian faith has passed for another year.  Let us not forget the scenes of Holy Week, the emotions that beat hard within our chests, the awareness that if it were not for your work of this past week, we would be utterly and totally lost and without any hope…not hope AT ALL. Let us remember how your followers ran, and let us never run again to leave you standing alone! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/21/12 – How the Story Doesn’t End

DayBreaks for 05/21/12 – How the Story Doesn’t End

A heap of ashes…

“Behold, I make all things new!” – Jesus

An old man packs up his wife and belongings and moves to a far distant land way from friends and relatives, and never again owned a piece of land except a burial plot.

A young boy has visions of greatness that put him at odds with his brothers and he winds up a slave who spends time in prison.

A gifted young man leaves the palace to be a shepherd and wanders the earth for the next 80 years, never reaching the land he so longed to see.

A youth of noble birth is carried away by foreigners where he is taught their language and customs and forbidden to worship the God of his childhood.

A carpenter who learned his trade from his step-father winds up being nailed to a cross by those who know nothing of his trade or his identity.

The Bible is rife with stories such as these.  Men, women, children…it doesn’t matter.  They all believed in a God they couldn’t see and trusted in Him, yet they all experienced great losses and times of despair.

The old man became the ancestor of all believers, descendants like the sand of the sea or stars of the heavens.  The young boy who dreamed dreams lived to see them come true after he got out of prison and even saw his family again and saved them and God’s people from certain starvation.  The gifted young man who fled the wrath of pharaoh delivered his people from enslavement by God’s power.  The young man of noble birth wound up in a lion’s den but found great favor with God and died highly favored by the God he served.  And of course, the carpenter didn’t stay in the tomb, but rose and ascended, proving his claim to be the Son of God.

Their early lives would not have given testimony to such happy endings.  Life many not turn our way, or the way we hope it will turn.  We may never, like Abraham, own another piece of land and we may be wanderers and outcasts.  So how will our story end?

It was Elisabeth Elliot, no stranger to loss and grief (twice widowed, once after 3 years and the second time after 4 years), put it this way: “Of one thing I am completely sure: God’s story never ends in ashes.”  I hope I never forget that bit of wisdom!

PRAYER: God of rebirth, God of renewal, God of infinite power and glory, thank you that our lives, like those of the great men and women of the Bible, will never end in ashes!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 is now engaged in a project to provide temporary shelter, food, water and adult care to 37 orphans in Migori, Kenya.  We are trying to raise up an army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us provide care for these children until our partner in the project, BrightPoint for Children, can secure sponsorships for these 37 kids.  If you want to contribute, follow this link and scroll down to find the “Donate” button: Help the 37 Migori Orphans

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