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Out Our Way: The right trail

Isaiah 58:6-11


September 20, 2019

Out our way, Charlie and I always had the advantage of the cow-calf units and the bulls because we knew the "right trail." When we started moving the herd we knew where they were going and why they were going there. The cattle didn't have a clue - but it was the right trail because it was the way to fresh pasture, good water, and some protection from the coming winter storms that would soon arrive.

I have started to finally realize that God is the ultimate Herder for His beloved, but just like the cattle Charlie and I moved, we often don't have a clue where we are going or why. But God does and so guides us in the Way we need to go.

Now, sometimes the right trail isn't the easiest and, like cattle, we balk at the terrain. We resist and bawl out our complaints, but God keeps pushing us because He knows better than we the Way we need to go ... and while we may never realize why we must go this way or that, eventually we get where He is driving us and we rejoice.

Recently, I have struggled with my self-centeredness and resisted the Way of the Lord - especially when it comes to my fellow human beings. Some folks get in my way. Some folks are as self-centered as I am and thus indifferent and even hostile to my needs - as I now realize I have been to others. Working at hauling carts at a large store, I see all sorts of folks and see wide ranges of behavior. I see little kids screaming at their parents demanding a new toy or candy bar because "I want it!" But I also see people of all ages who, instead, look out for others.

In theology, there is a word, "weltanschauung" - pronounced "Velt-An-Shau-Ung" - roughly translated as "one's personal worldview." The image is of us in a bubble. We only see or care about what is inside the bubble. The more egocentric, the smaller the bubble. All that matters is how it meets our needs. But the more outgoing and caring, the larger the bubble, and the more we see and care about. Ultimately, when the "weltanschauung" is large enough, we are no longer the center of the universe - and allow God to be God instead of our own ego.

I have seen the "weltanschauung" of little children and equally self-centered and shriveled up adult souls - but now and then I get to see the opposite. Last week, a man came into the store to tell me someone's car trunk was open and they had quite a few items that could easily be taken. He led me out to the parking lot where his wife and teenage son had opted to stand guard to protect this stranger's property. Why? "Because it is the right thing to do," said the wife.

This is the "weltanschauung" I want to develop. This is the right trail.

I confess I have a long way to go, for I find myself bawling out like a rangey steer when pushed in the way I did not want to go - demanding God and everyone else give into my will. But God ignores me and keeps pushing me down the right trail anyway.

And slowly - oh so slowly - my "weltanschauung" is changing; the perimeters of my "bubble" are starting to expand a tad. I am beginning to see others, and the center of my world is shifting away. I am no longer the center of my universe - although still trying to remain pretty close to it - and I begin to see others.

God seems to be having some fun with me as I come face to face with so many different styles of hair, clothing, tattooing, and face piercings every day. And then I hear Him say " I love this one and expect you to do the same. This is the Way - this is the right trail." And then He makes me look deeper than the superficial. Last week a woman with a severe mohawk, tattoos and facial piercings came out of the store pushing a baby carriage and acting like any other mom. "See her," said the Lord, "not the hair, tattoos or piercings." To do that, I have to expand my bubble a great deal and enlarge my "weltanschauung"

Most of us need to do that, for the Devil and the powers of darkness frighten us into decreasing the bubble to protect our "comfort zone," for his stock in trade is fear. God calls us to expand it for His stock in trade is love. My "weltanschauung" - my surrounding bubble - is still too small, but I believe it is expanding at long last. May yours grow in love as well. It is a hard trail to ride, but it is the right one.


Brother John Bruington 


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