Often the time when I manage to finally tick off my long-suffering wifey is when I start making snarky comments about Californians – Southern California Suburbanites, to be more specific.
These times sometimes occur when there is a “wild” animal (such as a possum, although one time we actually had a bear) in the backyard, or when there is some simple home-maintenance project that I, as a thrifty New Englander, cannot bear to pay someone else to do but somehow, despite its simplicity, can’t seem to find the time to do it myself.
Most often, however, these times happen during the nightly news, when the weather comes on – especially when the weather is going to be “cold” or “wet.”
Usually the weather forecaster will say something like this:
That’s right Rick and Michelle, it’s going to be a cold one out there tonight! With temperatures dropping into the high 40s, please make sure that you bring your pets inside. This storm is also going to bring with it quite the deluge, with rainfall totals nearing .25 inches in some places, making for a slick morning commute. Let’s check in now with Amy Powell who’s live in downtown Pasadena….
Thanks Dallas… That’s right, it sure is cold out here (*all bundled up, with earmuffs*) with temperatures already in the low 50s, we’re bracing for a chilly night. Some people here even had to wear coats! And it looks like some people have actually had to turn on their windshield wipers! Back to you in the studio.
For those of you who don’t live here in SoCal, you probably think I’m making this up. For those of you who do live here, you know that I’m only exaggerating a little.
But in addition to the fact that the weather is always the same (Sunny and 80 degrees gets old after 7 months), there are a lot of other things I hate about L.A. – the traffic, it’s expensive, there are gangs, lots of crime, no trees… I mean, what’s not to love?
But this attitude, I confess, is wrong. In fact, I’ve been recently convicted that it’s downright sinful. Aside from the fact that its steeped in arrogant, unabashed New Englander supremacy (which, in-and-of itself is pretty lame – there’s a lot to love about L.A. in its own right), there’s also a bigger problem – God put me here on purpose. Who do I think I am anyway?
Often, I’m not entirely sure of what that purpose is in its totality, but I know that God has me here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to be married to the love of my life, Claudia, and to be the best step-dad that I can to my two boys, whom I also love with my whole heart.
But there’s even more to it than that, I think. I think that God still loves L.A. He hasn’t given up on it, and He’s doing something here. God has a project for L.A. and for all of SoCal – and that project is His usual project – the Kingdom. If God is doing something here, and is planning to do more things here; if God is expanding His Kingdom and is planning to expand it even more, then here’s the thing:
We’re walking on Sacred Ground.
As God’s ambassadors, everywhere we go, everywhere God goes and everywhere God is doing something is sacred ground. I haven’t gotten a message from God yet similar to the one that Lot and Abraham got from God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, which went something like Pack your stuff, guys, ‘cause there ain’t nothing here left worth saving anymore. Better get out, ‘cause Hell’s coming this way.
No, in fact I believe God loves L.A. And I believe that God has me here for a reason. And I believe that God has His Church here for a reason, and He hasn’t abandoned me, or His church, or this city. So I have to believe that L.A. is a sacred place.
Given that perspective, it’s pretty lame of me to think or say “I hate this place.” And I’m guilty of that in other areas of my life too. The Israelites grumbled in the wilderness, saying the same thing, and it didn’t work out too well for them. Fortunately, our God is a God of great mercy, compassion and forgiveness, and He forgives us for our grumbling.
So my challenge to you is this: Do you grumble about where God has you? Do you ever find yourself in your job, your home, your city, your state, even your nation – or your church – saying to yourself (or others) “I hate this place” ?
If you do, I encourage you to ask yourself a question: Is God doing anything here? Is God doing anything in my place of work, my home, my city, my church? If the answer is ‘Yes’ you are walking on Sacred Ground.
Join me in asking God to help us speak accordingly.
~ Jim +