Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.(Philippians 2:14-16 NLT)
I don’t know who is responsible for all the beautiful bike trails around Tucson, but they are sure a blessing. Yesterday was a beautiful day for a ride. I got out by 7, so it was still under 90 degrees. Cool! The trail by the Canada del Oro Wash was a bit crowded. The wash was running with black mud coming off the burned over mountains. There were family groups walking, moms running with strollers, serious spandex-clad bikers riding in zooming packs, and older pedestrians who would have to speed up to stroll. In our virus-colored world, some were wearing masks, some were not.
One thing was striking to me on this particular ride: People were unusually friendly and polite. It was as if everyone was just so grateful for the beautiful day and the opportunity to be out and alive that they forgot to be grumpy. The virus, the riots, the recession, and the fires all seemed irrelevant. I heard more “Good mornings,” “Excuse me’s,” and “Thank you’s” than I have ever heard on my frequent rides. In the middle of the mess, we were in America. Life is good! I’m riding a bike that cost more than the sum of my first thee cars, I am fairly healthy, my needs are met, and I have friends. Life may be harder than we like, but the day is lovely and God is good. Cheer up!
As we get ready for church today, let me suggest we forget about the meaningless inconveniences of the moment. If the early church could meet in a tomb lit by candles while soldiers sought to kill them, I can probably endure a few minutes with a soft piece of cloth on my face. If you’ve never studied the subject of griping in the Bible, let me fill you in: God hates it! It irritates Him to the point of wanting to destroy Israel for it. It’s selfish. It pollutes our faith and that of others. It destroys any witness we might otherwise have in the world around us. Instead, how about we get grateful. We’re alive, mostly healthy, ridiculously prosperous, meeting in an air-conditioned facility, and sitting on padded chairs. As with the folks on the bike trail, life may be harder than we like, but the day is lovely and God is good. Cheer up!