Chances are good that you were expecting something about Halloween this evening. Well, while that’s something of an interesting topic, it so happens that tonight also marks my writing of the 200th post for Transitions by The Book. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that Halloween marks the eve of All Hallow’s Day, or the day we know as All Saint’s Day.
Halloween is the time of year that tends to officially end summer and tradition holds that it also has to do with the harvest and the beginning of the celebrations for what is called the Day of the Dead. The holiday, more common in heavily Catholic countries, such as Mexico, celebrates the souls of the departed, but more about that over the next several days. That’s why there is so much association with ghouls and skeletons and cemeteries. Because that’s where people went to be with the souls of the departed.
But today, most of us associate Halloween with the idea of “trick or treat” and as a time to dress up in fantasy outfits pretending to be somebody we are not. It occurs to me that sometimes we do the same thing with our faith. Either we profess a belief that may not be authentic, or we deny our faith in the face of opposition because it is safer.
In the early days, both these practices were common. Most early Christians were afraid that, under pressure from the Jews, they may discontinue their belief in Christ; therefore, they were reluctant to depart from the Jewish traditions of circumcision just in case Jesus was not who He claimed to be. In other words, they held on to Plan “B”, a return to Judaism just in case things got too tough following Christ, which was Plan “A”. Even though Paul made quite a bit of progress witnessing to the Gentiles, Peter and James, the brother of Jesus, considered their ministries more to the Jewish population. And these two factions clashed quite often. For quite a period of time, there was disagreement among the apostles, which started to abate after Peter witnessed to the Roman centurion and then baptized his family.
In my own life, I have experienced lapses in my faith as well. There have been periods when I have felt incredibly close to God and at other times, I couldn’t find Him anywhere. And most of the time I have not been able to figure out what I do that triggers one experience or the other. I do, however, know that eventually I will find God again if I return to the place where I last encountered Him.
That’s part of the reason that I started Transitions. Because after I finished seminary, I felt the loss of being close to my classmates and continuing to learn about the Bible in a faith based environment. I found myself pulled more and more back into the corporate world and really felt the absence of a more God centered life.
One of the ways that I thought that I could connect with the community of faith and also be true to myself was to start TBTB. So, tonight, with post #200, I hope that the words that I have written have helped people in their own faith journeys. Not in the sense that I have in any way tried to re-create “church.” Rather, that I have tried to present the Bible, the greatest book ever written, in a way that is interesting and provides real illustrations of how God is present in our lives every moment of every day.
Moreover, how we transition through the events of our lives is a direct reflection on our dependence on God. Do we try to fix things ourselves, or do we wait on God to direct our steps? Are we self centered, or do we look out for the greater good? Of course, we all know the “correct” answers, but thinking about the right thing and doing the right thing aren’t the same. And sometimes, we have to wait on God for His perfect timing.
So, as I complete post #200, compiling more that 180,000 words about how God has impacted my own personal life, I realize more than ever that I am a work in progress – and that God still has great things in store for me. I hope that the journey you have taken with me has been worth your investment of time; reading what I have felt so compelled to share. And that somewhere in all that, you have been drawn closer to God in the process.
In honor of God’s perfect timing, and our continuing dedication to following Him, the verse from tonight is from 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
My encouragement tonight is to remind you that God’s timing is perfect; and when the time is right, you will be presented with additional ways to be drawn closer to Him. And my prayer is that you will remain steadfast in your pursuit of God and will anchor yourself to other Christians who can go on this exciting journey with you. In some small way, I hope that Transitions has played a part in your journey, and that we will be able to continue to walk beside you for a long time to come. Have a great day in the Lord…..