Do you remember the wheels on the bus song? I must’ve sang this song to my boys so many times that I became annoyed at myself. This children’s song talks about how the wheels on the bus go around and around, the bus driver drives around town, how the baby on the bus cries and how the mother tries to calm the baby down. Many times, life can be the same way. Sometimes in life, we can feel like our lives are just going around town, doing the same old thing. Fortunately, life doesn’t have to be this way.
This past week has been an extremely busy one. I go to work, come home and do three to four hours of construction at home. I then go to sleep, wake up with aches and pains and do this all over again. It seemed like it would never end. Life would just continue in this busy, physically and mentally exhausting arena just to do it day after day, week after week and year after year. However, this all changed last night.
As I was in my basement doing construction, I received two phone calls that allowed me to see not only how life can appear circular but also how life really isn’t that way. The first phone call was from a bereavement service asking me how my family was doing after the ‘home-going’ of our close friend, Peter. I explained that although at first this loss was hard, we came to the realization that Peter was now with our Lord and Savior so he is without pain and suffering. I said, “Peter’s doing great and we will continue.” The woman on the phone sounded surprised but continued to state, “So your faith has helped?” I responded positively and we both hung up the phone.
During the first conversation, another phone call came through and the person left a message. My wife asked who it was, but I responded, “I haven’t listened yet but will after I cut this piece of wood.” As I listened to my voicemail, the voice said, “What is this? You asked me to leave a time and date, your phone does that…didn’t you know? By the way it’s Jay, call me.” Excitement overwhelmed my spirit. Joy filled the air as I yelled to my wife, “Jay called!”
You see, Jay is a friend and “brother” of mine that I met almost 15 years ago. He had come to the church my wife and I were attending at the time, and we became instant friends. Both Jay and I were part of a business that seemed exciting. Time went on, when Jay said to me, “J.D., this business is teaching un-biblical concepts. I can’t stay anymore.” I decided to stay with this business and asked God to open my eyes to what Jay was seeing.
Shortly after praying that prayer, I saw people talking about how God wants you rich and healthy. They said, “If you are not healthy then your faith must not be where God wants it.” Something bothered my understanding of Scripture. Did God really say, “My desire for you is to be rich and healthy?” I started to investigate.
Jesus had taught his disciples, “Your need faith as small as a mustard seed” not a “watermelon seed”. He had taught, “You will suffer because of me” not “Don’t worry be happy”. Our Savior had been teaching the exact opposite of what these people were teaching, so I also decided to leave the business. It was around that time, that I didn’t see Jay again.
Now almost 15 years later, Jay called leaving me a message to call back. This is so significant because my mentor had met Jay at an evangelical training conference at Jay’s church. They spoke and my name came up. My mentor sent me a text with his number and told me to call. However, I didn’t. Life got in the way.
Soon after my friend, Peter went home, I received another phone call from a counselor who helped my friend Peter. We spoke for about a half an hour and during that conversation, she mentioned she goes to a certain church. It turned out this church is the same one my friend Jay attends and she was friends with him. She encouraged me to call Jay but once again, life went ’round and ’round. It wasn’t until Jay called that we were able to re-invigorate our friendship once again.
As life goes around and around, busy day after busy day, we need to stop for a moment and think, “Is life really the same all the time? Am I running on the treadmill of life or a marathon?” Life doesn’t have to be a treadmill, running and running, watching the speed and time just to make sure that you are in control. Life should be more like a marathon. You run with a pace that encourages you to go further. People on the sidelines give you water to help you along. Then once finished, there is a support system that helps you heal.
In our lives, we need to have people who support us, give us water and cheers us on to the finish line. For me, Jay was a fresh cup of water. It was as if God placed him in a place that was necessary for me to see that He is still in control. It wasn’t until I lost a friend that I re-gained another. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me. He allows and wants life to be exciting and joyous, not healthy and rich. God desires obedience rather than sacrifice. The question is are you running a marathon or on a treadmill singing, “The wheels in life go ’round and ’round, all through the town.”?
God bless and encourage someone today.