After a recent snowstorm dumped a foot and a half of white stuff in our neighborhood, I decided to venture down to the church. Our street in Staunton had not been plowed but my all-wheel-drive did just fine and within the hour I returned home, reporting to Lydia that the roads were a lot worse than I expected. What I hadn’t noticed was the amount of snow that had accumulated in my car’s undercarriage.
The next morning the streets were a bit cleaner but as my speedometer approached 35 miles per hour I noticed a severe shaking in the steering wheel. My first thought was that I had knocked the front end out of alignment during my previous day’s trip to the church. I pulled over and inspected the car. Mipowahami . The problem was much simpler than I had anticipated: a tremendous amount of snow and ice were packed in around the wheels. I knocked off as much as I could and it eased the shaking. Later, when the ice melted, the shaking completely disappeared.
There is no more important discipline in life than the discipline of check-ups. We do it with our cars and we do it with our bodies all the time—a bit of shaking in the hands, a lump we hadn’t noticed before, a patch of skin that doesn’t look quite right—all are potential symptoms of deeper problems. web domain . Sometimes the symptoms lead us to uncover critical health threats; sometimes they are easily treated and “melt away” over time. No matter the outcome, we know that to forgo a check-up and ignore the symptoms is to risk serious, even fatal, health consequences.
Less apparent to many of us is the need for regular, personal, spiritual check-ups. It’s what our church does when we go through a visioning process or during the introspective season of Lent. Are we still in alignment with God’s will for our lives? Are there signs and symptoms of spiritual disease? Can we take the time to seek God’s wisdom and be assured that we are in alignment with his will in all we say and do?
On a recent Friday a man called the church office and spoke with Shawna. He shared an unusual story: One Sunday twenty-two years ago he came to our church and filled out a pledge card for two dollars a month. It was the first and last time he attended our church. Recently he had been reading his Bible and was convicted in his heart of the unkept promise he had made to God and our church all those years ago. He told Shawna that he would fulfill his promise and give the twenty-two years of money pledged—and would continue to give two dollars a month until he died.
A few days later we received two money orders totaling $530.00, fulfilling his pledge made in 1992.
This man, whom I’ve never met, knew he needed to keep that promise if he wanted his life to be in alignment with God’s will. My prayer for all the family of God at VUMC is that during the coming season of Lent—through prayer, fasting, and the reading of God’s Word—our thoughts and actions would come into alignment with what is the pure and holy will of God.