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Archive for February, 2017

Absurdity

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’ve blogged about this passage before, about how 15 years ago (!) I had just read and journaled about it when I learned my dad was in ICU. It’s remained a powerful passage for me ever since in both trials and blessings.

It truly is a remarkable thing to ponder. Over the years it’s come to mind repeatedly in very different circumstances:

  • as I traveled through the darkest time in my life dealing with depression and loss
  • as I struggled in my marriage and through the process of rebuilding & growing closer again
  • as I walked with my mom through serious health and mental struggles
  • as I’ve given up some very big and long-held dreams for myself
  • as I’ve looked at the messy world around me and have been angry about politics and news and actions of my fellow man

Am I really supposed to embrace that passage and to rejoice always? In each of those circumstances am I to truly give thanks? Are they really God’s will for me?

How absurd!

And yet … there it is. What does it mean, really? How can I truly believe it, embrace it, and integrate it as part of my life of faith?

The thing is, I do believe it – at least at some level. I do know that God brings good out of evil; that all people have blessings and trials and “what we do about them” shapes who we are. I do believe the poem, The Plan of the Master Weaver (found here) is wise and that dark threads are important in our lives.

The challenge for me is learning to live it, to trust God. That brings me back to prayer – and maybe that’s the point of it anyway.

More and more I understand how little control we really have. Anger and worry always makes me more miserable but don’t solve the problem. I’m learning (over and over) to just take care of the things that God has placed before me, to offer kindness and mercy to others, to try to make my little corner of the world a better place, and to leave the rest to God. He’s got this … really.

And somehow over the years, that passage has come to seem more possible and less absurd.

 

 

 

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Two passages stood out in my morning study, and clearly they are related.

In the first passage God has instructed the people to create a tassel on their garments as a constant reminder of His commandments, lest they follow their own ideas of what is good or evil:

“And it shall be to you a tassel to look upon and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.” (Num 15:39-41)

Then, in the very next chapter just 4 verses away:

“They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num 16:3)

It is SO EASY to see myself in those passages – following my own heart and eyes, deceiving myself, deciding that what “I” want and desire is good even when I know it opposes what God has said.

And how easily is the same thing seen in society? Nevermind what God commands … we’ll wantonly decide for ourselves what is good and right! Nothing is wrong! Everyone is holy!

Only that’s the lie, isn’t it? We are not all holy; things are not good nor evil because we decide so, no matter what the world tells us. Truth exists and we know where to seek it.

But will we?

Will I?

Oh God, please make me meek and humble, willing to receive whatever You give to me. Help me surrender my will to yours; open my eyes and ears and heart to You, to Truth.   amen.

 

 

 

 

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