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Many changes as a result of the last two or three years are not welcome. Store shelves are sparsely stocked or empty in places. Serious shortages occurred in baby formula. I wonder how some young parents managed this. Building materials soared in price. Ordering anything from appliances or furniture to a new vehicle was a gamble. I know folks who have waited almost a year with a truck on order while used vehicles are scarce.

Moreover seeking medical care requires an extra degree of patience. Be prepared for lengthy wait times and fewer nurses to attend to your needs. Teachers too are in great demand as are bus drivers to get our kids there to school in the first place. I know of a teacher who desperately sought daycare for her baby to no avail only to have to resign her position in complete frustration.

Then there are the smaller but annoying inconveniences. I tried to book a table at a restaurant for breakfast but was informed there are no servers so breakfast is no longer available. There may be no plumber or electrician available when I need help. Booking an appointment anywhere may indeed be months down the road so we pray we don’t have an emergency of any kind.

Big or small I don’t like to be inconvenienced. I don’t like the fact that what was once readily available just isn’t anymore. It’s frustrating and on a personal level often causes even more problems. Seniors may feel this sharply. If there is no one around to help when you need it, or someone close by to call for assistance, you’re rather sunk especially if physically you are not be able to help yourself.

Yet even beyond this, I admit I have a problem. Let me explain. There are times when in my circle of friends when someone may suddenly need prayer. Straight away the word goes out. Subsequently, I’m sure, like me, each one of us pauses often throughout the day to ask for healing and peace in these situations. However, there may be one person who often offers something additional, something practical such as a ride to hospital, or companionship as they wait for news.… What a kind, generous, and loving thing to do. Yet immediately I feel the sting of guilt because I don’t want to be inconvenienced in this way. I want to carry on with my personal schedule as planned. I’m ashamed to say this. I don’t want my routine interrupted. How totally selfish is that?

I have been studying Dr. Hal Habecker’s Six Essentials for Finishing (life) Well. One of the Essentials is “Be Available”. When opportunities emerge we must be available to show God’s love and care. In examining this aspect of “Finishing Well” I have become aware of this subtle stronghold of the enemy in my own life. He will do anything, use anything, to undermine us even something as seemingly innocuous as my entrenchment in my own routine. I realize I am very uncomfortable, to say the least, with any changes to my daily schedule. It may seem like a small thing but I want to change it. I want to be available to my friends and family and attend to them cheerfully, not resentfully, when they need me.

The Good Samaritan was available to help when no one else would.

Noah was available and willing when called.

Esther made herself available even at risk of losing her life.

Mary was available to become Jesus’ mother when she was called.

For the past few years I guess I have been working on this somewhat and I didn’t even know it. I became aware that when Holy Spirit prompts me to visit someone, I must do it as soon as possible. My retirement is busy but I am now master of my own daily diary. My time is my own, scheduled around personal choices of how to spend it, as opposed to relegating my remaining time off around my job. So, for the past few years when I feel I need to see someone I do make every effort as soon as possible. I’ve learned the hard way; trust me on this. Listen to that still small voice.

I am thus a work in progress. God’s grace teaches and prunes and reminds me every day of the multitude of ways I need to be more Christ-like. I’m humbled and oh so grateful. His grace is so abundant I’m praying he’ll give me another chance to be available because I want to Finish Well.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith (Galatians 6.9-10).

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