Sunday, October 2, 2011

Content as a Turtle in a Sewage Canal

In the New Orleans area, our two most common road dividers are "the neutral ground" (a.k.a. the median) and canals.

If you don't know your way around the city and especially its suburbs (Metairie, Jefferson, Kenner, etc.) you are highly likely to become frustrated with the amount of canals you run into when you think you can head in a certain direction and find your way.  Once you come upon one, you have to creatively maneuver your way around it through a series of turns and u-turns.  (Can you sense that I speak from experience?!)

So, though I have had many newcomers' days of driving frustration in learning the lay of the land in this town that I love, I think I can now safely say I have mostly got it figured out...mostly.

My current frequent work-day commute takes me down the famed "West Esplanade" (rhymes with lemon-ade, by the way...and yes, it is the one mentioned in the song "New Orleans Ladies" by LeRoux...go ahead...sing it now, I know you want to...).

What do you think is the main divider of this busy road?  Yep---a canal.

As I am scurrying along with traffic to and from work, I often glance (or gaze if traffic is backed up) at the activity in the canal.

Life is happening in that algae-covered, murky basin.  I guess those egrets, speckled ducks, and turtles didn't get the memo about their sub-par living environment.

Turtles are often lined up on rusty pipes sunbathing in a peaceful contentment I actually envy.  Occasionally one or two will take a dive into the dark abyss to cool off then come and perch themselves back in their sunbathing spot.

Egrets glide along low near the water then alight on some of the same rusty pipes.  Not an apparent care in the world.

Red, black, and white speckled ducks waddle along the grass right near the busy road then make their way to the inviting water as well.  I think I've even seen some chickens hanging out with them, too.

You know, I have learned a lesson from those canal-dwellers and I think you can as well.

No matter what our life circumstances and surroundings, contentment is the only way to go.  The peace that comes with being truly thankful for our many unrecognized blessings and with trusting our Maker, Jesus Christ, to protect and provide for us---that peace is unexplainable and unmatched.  That peace comes with contentment...or maybe it's the contentment that comes with peace.  Hmmm...which came first---the canal chicken or the egg?

Do you have the contentment of a canal dweller?  

Pray today for that peace that is indescribable.
You may just find yourself pleasantly surprised by it once God brings it to you.  
I can't explain it, but it is true and real.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

I am not saying this because I am in need, 
for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, 
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Keep your lives free from the love of money 
and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you; 
never will I forsake you.”

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. 
What can mere mortals do to me?”

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; 
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, 
because they trust in you.

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 
will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - Jesus

1 comment:

misterp said...

a Contentment reminds me of how Saul thought he was till he till he realized the real truth of Jesus the Christ and after that He learned what true contentment was. Which reminds me that is were we are all at until we see the truth about Christ.