He is on the Throne - Chris Yarco

There is a story of a reporter who got to ride around with the Rev. Billy Graham on one of his great revival tours. The reporter liked Billy Graham very much and found his teaching and preaching to be spell-binding. On one hot summer night in North Carolina, riding in the limousine together, the reporter complained about the price of gas, and the Reverend Graham told the driver to pull over and gave the reporter quite the sermon: His message was to never speak poorly of his life.

“Son, never complain about the price of things,” he said, “or bad fortune, or the weather or taxes,” he said. “Never speak poorly of your work or your skills. When you speak poorly of your life,” he said, “it is listening, and it will become what you say it is, your complaints and sourness and laments will become who you are and how you see the world. And how people see you. Faith, he said, a spiritual life, is the opposite of that, whatever your faith is. It is about hope and affirmation, acceptance and love.”

“Son, you have only so much energy and hope and faith, don’t squander it on complaining about the world. Taxes only go up, so do prices, the weather is rarely what we want it to be, people will disappoint you every day of your life, life itself is filled with suffering and unwelcome surprise, death, sickness and disappointment. Work will sometimes fail you, do not speak poorly of your life. It will drain the best things from you, and turn you to the dark side of life.”

When I look back on the first three hours of my day today – starting with the morning newsfeed filled with news of war, layoffs, and strife, learning of dear folks moving away and leaving our church, and witnessing the air leak out through a hole in the tire of my car….

I was challenged to remember the words of Dr. Billy Graham… I was tempted to just “keep it real” by despairing about tragedies surrounding us in our world, share my disappointment of relational and community loss, and complain about the disruption to my planned schedule (which now included a trip to Les Schwab).

I am so grateful for God’s power at work to help me respond differently… today. And I pray for that for tomorrow. And the next day. Imperfectly yet by His grace, I found myself grateful for the security of our home and this community. I was able to share the news of this couple leaving with thankfulness for dear friends who became like family, who poured into ministry here, and who will take their incredible zest for life to a new community for its thriving. And who will take our love and friendship with them. And just a few moments ago, I was humbled by dear co-workers who helped get my car to the shop and me to my next meeting on time.

Speaking poorly of your life corrodes the soul, makes for a bitter spirit, breeds fear and anger and resentment, it drowns out hope and snuffs out the creative spark. It is a sad way to live, because one can skip life almost altogether while speaking poorly of it.

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names,” wrote Thoreau. ” It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode…”

I want to be more like that in my life – not just for me, but for a world that desperately needs to see Jesus followers behave in the ways we say we believe. To not grumble and complain, call life hard names; but to show my faith that He is making all things new. That we can trust in him as our rock when all around is sinking sand. I want to be a person that lives in the reality of hard things, but lifts my eyes to see that He is on the throne.

Chris Yarco
Lead Executive