Monday, June 14, 2010

U-Turns allowed

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

It was the Friday morning before Memorial Day. I’d just emailed my column to the newspaper and planned to spend the rest of the morning finishing the budget work, paying bills, and finalizing the grocery list before going to town for my biweekly shopping trip. As I put the kettle on for a second cup of tea, I glanced at the time—10:30 a.m. Would I have time to enjoy it? I had to pick up the lawn mower bearings we’d ordered a week earlier before noon, and the place was closed Saturday.

Knowing my penchant for procrastinating, pushing deadlines, and convincing myself I had time to “do one more thing” (or dawdle), I figured I’d better get out of my jammies and head for town—now.

I was about a mile from home when a thought popped into my mind: Did I turn off the burner under the kettle? I remembered thinking about it, but couldn’t remember if I actually did. I checked the clock on the dashboard. I was pushing it, but I had to go back. If I'd left it on, I wouldn’t have a house by the time I came home from town.

I made a U-turn at the intersection. Good thing. The water was boiling away when I stepped into the kitchen.

God allows U-turns, too. Look at St. Paul. Now, if there was ever a hard nut to crack, it was Saul of Tarsus. A fiery Pharisee, he was galloping to Damascus to search for Christians so he could throw them into jail when he was literally thrown off his high horse.

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

The words pierced his soul, as he lay on the road in the intense light, blind. “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness.”

Saul made a U-turn and, in his own words, “I was not disobedient to that vision from heaven.”

The Bible includes many other examples of people who made U-turns: the prodigal son, Zacchaeus, Mary Magdalene, and Matthew, the despised tax collector turned disciple who wrote the Gospel that bears his name.

Author Allison Bottke made a U-turn in 1989—and went on to produce nearly two dozen books of stories of folks who found themselves in hot water and made U-turns. (Read Allison’s testimony.)

“No matter what we have done, no matter where we have been, it is never too late to change direction,” she says, “because God allows U-turns!”

What about you? Are you needing a turnaround? Do you need to go back to where you went, or did, wrong and make things right?

Remember, no one is so far away that God cannot see, hear, or help. In the words of Anne Graham Lotz, “He forgives and forgets, creates and cleanses, restores and rebuilds, heals and helps, reconciles and redeems, comforts and carries, lifts and loves. He is the God of the second chance, the fat chance, the slim chance, the no chance.”*

Make that U-turn now. God is waiting at the intersection.

Thank you. Lord, for allowing U-turns. Amen.

Special-Tea: Acts 26:4:20

*Anne Graham Lotz, My Jesus Is . . . Everything

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