cartoon: the long haul


After years and years of serving communities, keeping the faith, and struggling through everything, the last thing I want to be is bitter, grumpy, sad, narrow-minded and hateful. I want to be happy, hopeful, gracious and loving. I don’t want to be sad so that after my life is over, people will jump to the conclusion that it was because of all my trials, my poor finances, my negative community experiences, my confrontations with other leaders, and my apparent lack of visible success. I don’t want others to conclude that I allowed all these to pull me down. I don’t want them to point to all those things and blame them for my sadness. The fault lies within me if I am not happy. If I can’t find reason to rejoice and be glad in all situations, then it is my fault and no one else’s. True, sometimes my sadness is completely justified and understandable. I am entitled to be sad. But I don’t want to just settle for that. I want my privileges too, my rights! And I have every right to be happy too. Sure, sadness, like a deep current, courses through my life. But the river itself is joy. That’s what I want to live by and be remembered for.


16 Replies to “cartoon: the long haul”

  1. Happiness and joy are two different things. Happiness is an emotion while joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is the “joy” of the Lord that is our strength and in His presence there is fullness of joy. It is comforting to me to know that the Lord wants me to be obedient to Him and is not necessarily concerned whether I am happy about it or not. It reminds me of the biblical account of the servant who says “Yes, Lord” and does not follow through and the servant who says “No, Lord” but does follow through. The Lord prefers the latter. Obedience is better than sacrifice. It is your choice whether you want to be happy about being obedient or not. Either way the Lord wants you to be obedient.

  2. The true faith brings love.

    There is such a thing as false faith (faith in faith, faith in self, faith in humanity).

    These things are not the faith given to us by the Lord Jesus.

    There is plenty of this man centered false faith floating around. Plenty.

  3. david,

    My dad has recently announced his retirement (whatever that means…) from his over-seas ministry of 25 years. I believe his following years will be his most happy, fruitfull, and joyful.

    It’s not that his 25 years where a failure, or even a mistake. Quite the opposite. But I do believe that they have also become crippling shackles for him. And with his soon-coming freedom, I believe he will find a new joy and purpose that his church/ministry could often not allow him.

    I’m not saying all pastors, or you ftm, should rip off the cloth and go running from the pulpit…(nice visual, eh?), but sometimes we must step away from what weighs us down–if only temporarily–to learn how to breath again.

    So many churches are filled with long suffering pastors and staff, who’s joy has been sapped from them. And mostly it’s not due to anyones malitious actions, but simply by the very nature of what church is and has become.

    I wish streangth, courage, wisdom, love, and most of all peace and joy to you and your family. May you embrace the sufficient grace that is yours in abundance.

  4. Two things come to mind. First is one of my favorite quotes, “What’s friendship, when all’s done, but the giving and taking of wounds?” (from Godric by Fredrick Buechner).

    The second is a progression of community, from David Andrews, which I can’t quote but goes something like. False community is when you are all drawn together by a common purpose and vision. They you find out that you can’t get along. Then you either split and form a new false community, or you finally begin to explore true community.

    The cartoon and accompanying text are quite beautiful. If we don’t care about something enough for it to affect us emotionally, there is no value in that. If we DO care about it deeply, we walk into a world where we hurt each other all the freaking time.

    I love that you have the courage, the wisdom and the skill and the hope to keep talking about that struggle. It gives me hope, even though I am exactly that grumpy dad.

  5. Good word. Challenging, but ultimately freeing to take responsibility and not waste a day or week or life blaming others. Thanks.

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