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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Digging Deep

My friend Robin is good for what ails me. This week I'm doing her a small favor, and she just did me a huge one. 

She pulled me out of quicksand. She reminded me that of course the world is full of turmoil and of course it's going to hell in a hand basket (literally) because the one who's behind all its workings hails from there. But she also reminded me that "greater is He that is in [us], than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

Yesterday I posted how sad I feel that someone I love is doing the unthinkable - she's burying her son.  Later in the day, I learned some other distressing news that shook my faith in a big way. 

But it only shook my faith in human beings. The God of the universe is still right where I left Him.

Don't misunderstand. It took me 24 hours to figure out that the gospel hasn't changed just because someone I trusted let me down. 

Did you catch that? Someone I trusted.  

What unriveted me was the fact that, yet again, I placed my faith in the wrong arena. It doesn't belong in man. It never belonged in man. Man does what man does, and will continue to do. Man sins.

Christ does not.

But where does that leave me, trust wise? I mean, am I supposed to go through the rest of my life never trusting anyone, any situation, worst of all, myself and my own judgment?

Yeah. Yeah, that's about right. But don't stop reading because there's a happy ending.

I've often joked that the only thing predictable about me is my unpredictability. I rarely do things the same way twice. I smile at old episodes of Columbo (if you're too young to remember that 70's crime show, it's worth hunting down on Netflix), where often the addled-seeming cop catches killers because the murders they stage contradict their victims' habits. Columbo's strategy would fall apart if he were investigating my life. Many of my habits are the opposite of habits, which is why I lose my keys on a regular basis and can never remember where I put things in the refrigerator.

Similarly, the only thing trustworthy about human beings is their untrustworthiness. If that sounds cynical, so be it. Christ rebuked the religious leaders of His day for turning God's law into a "living document" that changed with whatever wayward whim their hypocritical hearts felt like following. Paul called out the Corinthian church for their abysmal record in the holiness department. The Bible doesn't close its eyes to humanity's fallen state, so why should I?

The question, then, becomes, what do I do with this life? 

At times, I feel like hiding my head in the sand. Other times, I hang it in shame that I share Christ's name with so many who besmirch and defile it. In all honesty, my own spiritual walk has crooked angles just like any other believer's. My failings may not always be obvious or newsworthy, but I'm not fooling almighty eyes.

The only thing I can trust is the one who never sinned and promises to guide me into all truth. That means that, while human minds and actions are flawed at best and evil at worst, I have a direct pipeline to infinite, good wisdom. "Good" meaning pure and clean. Enriching. Edifying. Perfect. Divine. And that wisdom belongs to someone who carries me even when this world tries to lay me flat.

In the meantime, I'll keep sharing God's truth with little folks and reminding older folks that the truth they once learned is still true, if more than a bit tarnished by its bearers. I'll do my best not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), realizing that Christ's sacrifice at Calvary did and still does trump His doubts at GethsemaneIn short, I'll try to dig deep into the infinite pockets of "wealth" God has entrusted me with to make other lives a little richer. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
Hebrews 13:8

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Grief 2

Today my dear friend is grieving the loss of her precious son. 

Hence, I am grieving.

As John Donne observed, "any man's death diminishes me" in a very real way. Somehow, we feel the truth of Donne's statement more when it hits close to home.

I'm going through all the usual stages of disbelief and raw pain. 

What? I just saw her a few weeks ago! Everything was fine then. How could this happen? How can I help? What can I do or say that will show this person how much I care? 

Then, like a jolt of electricity, There but for the grace of God go I.

I had an argument with my own son this morning. Not a very important argument, surely not worth all the fuss I kicked up. Not worth leaving in a huff as I did, being sure to do my best to make him feel like a worthless piece of garbage. 

Surely not worth that. Nothing he could do warrants that kind of treatment.

After I got the news, I picked up the phone and called my son and told him just how much he means to me. I think he understood. I hope so.

This week, I'm doing my best to teach first graders about the God who loves them so much that he sent His only son to die for them. Working in education as I do, one develops sort of an eye for kids who may be headed for trouble. A little too willful. Doing their own thing. Rebellious. Too old too soon.

I try not to label children based on their behavior - people did that to my kids when they were growing up, and it angered me - but there are warning signs that just jump out at you. I find myself thinking, "Lord, don't let me hear that insert name here does insert dangerous or life-threatening behavior here once he sheds his baby fat. Don't let mread about this kid's missteps or unnecessary death down the road. Keep Satan's hands off this child!"

Families are breaking up and society's breaking down. Too many kids aren't escaping the fallout from the world they're growing up in. I pray the kids I'm teaching this week at Liberti Church of Newtown Square's Vacation Bible School will take with them the life-altering news that there's more to this world than this world

And I pray their all too human instructor will be able to look past naughtiness and see instead hearts that Christ died for 2,000 years ago.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Grief