endings and new beginnings

Well, it’s Labor Day weekend. The accepted, if not astronomical, end of summer. And, in many ways, I’m glad. This summer has been a difficult one for me. There have been a lot of changes in my life. Not all of them pleasant.
I started in a new position at work. After 36 years as a prepress specialist I am now part of the company’s E-Commerce team. This is a challenge in that I am dealing with a particular customer’s needs in real time. (Actually, a really short amount of time ;o) It requires immediate action. Sometimes, as old and feeble as I am, that’s difficult. I am also charged with integrating the online needs of the customer with our prepress and production departments. The plus is, I’m out of prepress and am getting a tad more money. The downside, it’s still printing. While I’ve been in printing a long time, (41 years), it’s not my passion. I’ve been trained for Christian ministry. I earned a Master of Divinity from Ashland; graduating with high honors, (thanks be to Yahweh). Not that I want to toot my own horn, but it was a pretty significant accomplishment. And, I believe a fulfillment of a calling God made to me 40 years ago. Ok, I’m a slow learner. BTW…if anyone is hiring out there, I’m open to talk about it.
Another thing about this summer has been the difficulty I have had really connecting with God. From about the time I had a heart attack last November until some time in June, I had experienced a dynamic relationship with God in prayer and in daily life. It was good and growing. However, sometime in late June/early July, things became a bit more tenuous. I found that passions and desires I thought long dead were resurrected. Prayer became difficult. Although I slogged through it, the time could be what St. John of the Cross described as the “Dark night of the soul.” The ensuing period of time was not just dry, it became a trial of faithfulness. But, Yahweh is faithfulness. I am now, thankfully, finding my way back. Paul’s writings in Romans has been of great help and comfort. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.
In late June my wife and I received a notice from the I.R.S. They were disallowing a deduction I had taken on my 2010 return for college tuition. Now, no one EVER wants to hear from the all-powerful I.R.S. They said we owed a fairly substantial sum in taxes and penalties. I got out the documentation that I had received from the university and sent a copy back with a form stating that I did not agree with them and was not sending payment. I was, at best, apprehensive about our chances of prevailing. I spent the next couple months trying to figure out how we were going to pay after they decided against us. Such is the fear that this department of the government instills in its citizenry. Anyway, yesterday I received a letter from them. I put it on my desk, unopened, until this A.M. When I opened it, it stated that they thanked me for the additional documentation and the inquiry was now closed. We owed $0. Yes, Yahweh is good! But, it would be easy for me to take the position that it was my answer to the I.R.S. that made the issue go away. After all, what I did was no different that what any other person in the U.S. would have done. There was nothing ‘miraculous’ or magical about it. I simply did the responsible thing. This is the area that, I think, many people find gray. Was it the grace of Yahweh, or simply the act of a human? Too many Christ-followers would look at this in some magical, super-spiritual sense and totally miss the fact that God inspires people to act like people should. Justice; faithfulness; righteousness. They are all attributes of humans that God desires us to use. I was simply being faithful to God in finances and seeking justice from the government. Welcome to the Yeshua-do…the “Way of Yeshua.” If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s that Yahweh works through the ordinary. We humans are to live in the ordinary and to “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Ps. 118:1).Or, something like that.
I’m looking forward to the Fall. It’s my favorite season. I think that the righteousness of God as it has been displayed through the faithfulness of Jesus will continue to reveal itself in my, and my family’s lives. In spite of a half-empty Summer, the Fall is beginning to look half-full.

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