“Is dis chap-stick?” said Phoebe, as she held an open glue stick. Which I realized she had rubbed over her lips… at least it was quiet for awhile.

Life can leave you stuck in a constant birage of events. This week has been one of those moments for the church, with one sad event after another. So far this week I have officiated two funerals and sat in another with a church family. I will officiate a third on Thursday. And tonight I received another phone call that a church member’s parent passed away.

I can only describe this as a whirlwind of stress and emotion. And our church is stuck spinning. In the midst of these days it can feel like nothing is working. That we are bailing out the water with daisy cups.

As a random addition I am stepping back into the world of youth ministry. A friend from college – my best friend’s brother – asked me months ago to lead a retreat. I assumed there would be nothing going on the week before Halloween, so Wednesday through Friday I will deliver four messages.

I can only say this has left me stressed. How did I get stuck here? What was I thinking agreeing to this retreat? I am a pastor now, who cares if a friend needed a favor… (Okay, the last line makes me sound like a jerk – but I thought, so maybe it is true!)

But even in the whirlwind things connect. The theme for the retreat is “Pause”. Step back from your busy life and listen. Hear God.

Lets be honest. This world is a mess. Sometimes it is wonderful, but sometimes a week is just like this one (or worse). Emotionally and physically draining. But we can not escape. We might ignore reality – but eventually reality rips our head out of the sand and reminds us we are stuck here.

Sin will tell us there is no hope. This reality will always be the same. We might as well just wait for Jesus’ return…

And yet, if we grow quiet, there is another voice. A voice that reminds us we are stuck here with a purpose. A purpose to redeem the world. A purpose to make the world right. A purpose to step into the whirlwind of darkness and blaze the light of life.

So tonight I may borrow Phoebe’s chap-stick and relish the quiet. Relish what will be heard.

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