Right or wrong, I run with music most of the time. I have written several entries on the subject and take the playlist selections very seriously. When not set on one of these playlists, I typically choose a specific artist or a certain genre. So, it’s highly unusual for me to go all out “shuffle” during a run, especially a long run. But this weekend I did. From it, a somewhat obscure Jimmy Buffet song stuck with me. The funny thing is that the message from yesterday’s sermon followed generally along the same theme.
First, the song: Cowboy in the Jungle. The chorus, which I especially appreciated, says:
"We’ve gotta roll with the punches, Learn to play all of our hunches,
Makin' the best of whatever comes your way,
Forget that blind ambition, and learn to trust your intuition,
Plowin’ straight ahead come what may"
(Qualifier: the transition to scriptural or physical insight does not necessarily include the verses to this song or the singer’s intended meaning, only the spirit of which this chorus emphasizes perserverance).
Now, to Sunday’s excellent message from Pastor Chip. It was entitled ‘Between the Doors’ and spoke to Acts 16:6-15. In this passage, Paul and his companions are following God’s calling to share the Gospel. However, at least twice they were met by doors unexpectedly slamming shut on them. The plans did not work out as they had envisioned. They traveled great distances and encountered significant obstacles, only to learn that it was not of God’s timing for them to complete that specific objective.
But what did they do? Having been met with closed doors and not yet found the open ones, they used that time to keep plowing straight ahead. However, unlike the Cowboy in the Jungle, rather than “hunches” and “intuition” they obeyed God’s leading and ultimately experienced an open door that was possibly much greater than any of the opportunities prior. The interaction with Lydia resulted in a great conversion and in strengthening the community of followers.
What a great message for our running and our discipleship. Stay at it. Make the best of what comes our way. Injured? Use that time for cross training. Couldn’t participate on a specific mission trip opportunity? Use that time to seek more ways to serve locally. We will likely be very disappointed by those missed experiences, but we will never find that next great open door if we don’t keep moving forward. As we learn from Paul, this is not our journey, but God's journey for us.
Keep running with horses!