I’ve been off the grid as my family and I recently finished the second of two moves. The end of June we moved my family to our new home in San Tan Valley, Arizona, then several of us came back and moved the office to our new location in Chandler.
It’s been interesting getting to know the locals, and I don’t mean people. We’ve encountered scorpions in the bedrooms, a bathroom, garage, and around the house. In one instance my teenage daughter found one resting on her bed. Her screams alone should have incinerated it.
One night our dog started barking at what turned out to be a Sonoran Desert Toad in our backyard. The Sonoran Desert Toad secretes a neurotoxin that could have killed the dog so we got it inside the house quickly.
And then, my wife encountered a snake doing its thing in our backyard:
The heat in Arizona can be spicy; we’ve seen our share of 110 degree days. Phoenix hit a record breaking 116 degrees last week.
You may think I’m crazy (my family probably does) but I’m loving it here. I thrive on change and like new challenges. While the above may sound a little edgy, Arizona is a beautiful state, with palm trees, sago trees and cactus everywhere. Various types of yuccas, aloe plants, and colorful perennials dot the desert landscape. The sunsets and sunrises are amazing. My 16 year old daughter took this shot:
Here there is both amazing beauty to enjoy, coupled with an element of danger.
To thrive here one has to embrace both.
Which is what our Christian lives should look like. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Grace without truth creates spineless, ineffective believers (Michael Youssef recently said many churches are loving people into hell). Truth without grace creates arrogant, doctrine-headed heresy hunters with empty hearts.
To live effective lives for Christ we must embrace heaven and hell, the fear of God and the love of God, suffering and rejoicing, our wretched sin and failures and God’s amazing forgiveness. The depth that we experience pain determines the depth that we experience joy. We can’t go Pollyanna on this deal if we want the abundant life.
We’re losing our country, Satan has taken a lot of ground while the church has sat by and watched, yet God’s word gives us hope. If wicked Nineveh could experience revival because Jonah screamed “In 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown!” (think about that – no “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”), then our sin-sodden nation can be turned around too.
Scorpions and sunsets. For the Christian who wants to make their life count for eternity, there’s no other way to live.