Sunday, April 10, 2011
Guess what, dear reader … God showed up in the ponder.
In the shallow end of the ponder, God always shows up. He’s not a “hit and miss” God. He’s always there, always available for connection. You don’t have to ponder too deeply to discover that.
In the deeper parts where others wonder if you are going to come up for air soon, I pondered about losing the connection. Paul tells us, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17. And while you’re looking it up, Paul gives us some other valuable tidbits … but I digress…)
Pray without ceasing. Reminds me of a parable that Jesus told about a widow who presented her case before a judge, pleading for him to give her fair treatment in court and granting justice against her adversary. (The story is in chapter 18 of the book of Luke.) The judge was not what you would consider a people person. He really didn’t give a flying (fill in the blank) about the lady, or even God for that matter. So brushed her off, and went on to the next case. The woman persisted, though, and kept pleading her case, kept asking for justice. Apparently this went on for some time. The judge kept dismissing her, but she refused to give up. Finally, the judge decided he’d been pestered long enough. Even though he didn’t care one iota about this widow or her case, he gave in, and saw that justice was served, so that she wouldn’t wear him out with her constant cries for help.
Things could have ended differently for our widow. She could have given up. Or, the judge could have banned her from returning by imposing a fine or providing “public housing with open bars” for a night or two. Certainly she had more “misses” than “hits.” But because of her persistence in trying to connect with the one person who had the power to help, the judge took notice, took her seriously, and finally heard the case and rendered a decision.
Every minute of every day, God hears us plead our case for help. We serve a God who wants to give us good things in our lives. We ask for things that we believe are within the scope of God’s will for our lives, things like healthy family relationships, provision for our most basic needs, people to come along side of us, for wisdom. Sometimes we don’t sense God’s answer, so we get frustrated and think He doesn’t care about our request. And in our frustration, we give up.
Jesus goes on to explain the parable to his followers:
The Lord said: “Think about what that crooked judge said. Won't God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night. Won't he be concerned for them? He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?”
at 1:39 PM
Thursday, April 07, 2011
|One of the oil islands off of Long Beach.|
With these beliefs came grand expectations: I could peek out the mail slot in search of Santa; mom would treasure my artwork; the world was smaller than it really is; and daddy could make all things good as new again. I believed in all these things because I had complete faith and trust in the people who loved me, an unwavering faith that they would never do anything to harm me.
The faith of a child.
But then I grew older. I made discoveries about the world around me. Things weren't as I once believed. People don't fit through the mail slot. Crayon marks belong on paper (inside the lines), not on walls. Luaus are not common on the oil islands. And there are some things that are beyond repair and have to be thrown away.
Often times when we first encounter Jesus we are no longer in a state of wide-eyed wonder of a child. Yet there is something about this Son of God that makes us want to know more about him.
It's been said that children are a reflection of their parents. And Jesus is no exception. God has chosen reveal Himself through His words and actions, and Jesus is God's perfect self-revelation to us. By studying the words and actions of Jesus, we learn that God is faithful to keep His promises and is worthy of our trust. And our response to this is "faith."
Jesus holds children in very high esteem. He even tells us that unless we change and become like little children, we will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. When we come back to the place where we can trust Jesus with a childlike faith we will receive more blessings than what will fit in any mailbox, realize that our names are engraved on the palm of God's hand, stand in awe of the beauty of the vast universe that God created, and have full access to our Father in heaven, who truly does make all things new.
at 5:50 PM