Just when I get you figured out, Lord, along you come down the path-chuckling to your Self. I had it down, and I knew from the get-go what it was I was to do in order to grow wiser as your servant. I had the whole thing mapped out in my heart of hearts. Where I was weak, I would exercise. Where strong, I would encourage myself to humility. When I needed to seek help, I knew who I needed to call: I had my networks of support all mapped out. I was organized....yeah....who am I kidding?
You know me better than I know me, that's for sure. All my plans and intent to be organized are really for show-to others, to you, to myself. I might do well for a time, really. Make all the calls, check off all the items on the list of to-dos I set for myself. I might even be able to rise from time to time to the expectations of others. Yes, I might even, from time to time, "succeed." But then, I stumble and trip over myself or others. I get tied up in my "stuff" or worse yet I tangle my stuff up with others' stuff as well. It too easily becomes a grand mess, and over time, I know, I lose touch with that source of all that You are. I get all caught up in thinking that I have it under control....and there You are, walking up the path, chuckling. That is not a mean chuckle, I know. It is that patient, understanding chuckle I feel rise in me when someone I love very much is struggling in their own mess and it is time for me to step in gently and assist in the cleanup. When I do it, it too often sounds patronizing...how is it that when You do it, I not only hear, but also feel, Your Love?
I guess the sin is, if anything, pride. Pride allows me to think that I am in charge of all this and that my power is something that flows from me to the world. The reality is different...but I have a feeling that understanding that fact and living it out under Your guidance and wisdom are two radically different things. Don't get me wrong, life is really good right now. I can feel your peace all around me, and I know all things work to the fulfillment of Your will for this creation...that fact is as real to me as the feel of the rebound of the keys on the laptop as I type. I am because You will it. I live in Christ because You love....Amen.
And yet, I forget. We forget. We get confused and set our agendas against, or even lay them up over, Yours.
I have seen it in myself. I have seen it happen again and again in Your Church. I know that is why there is, every year, a Lent for us to press reset our inner spiritual clockworks and strive to allow You to guide our gears back into alignment with what You intend.
As I get ready to preach this Sunday, I am reading again about how Jesus upset people in his hometown, once he had preached Your Word fulfilled in the synagogue in the place he grew up. So, he said, the scripture has been fulfilled. Hooray...but, say the people, where are those works of dynamic grace that you performed elsewhere? Where are the signs that show that you, son of Joseph, are that promise made real before us? DO SOMETHING to prove you are who and what you say you are....Do it so we can KNOW and HAVE FAITH that you are more than what we think you are.
And here comes that patient chuckle.....and then, "Why do you NEED proof? What is faith if every demand/doubt/question is met in your time and according to the will of human beings?"
Have a little faith. Try a little tenderness, right? Please? No?
OK, time for Me to pass through you all and be on My way.
Note to self: we sure do have a LOT to learn about this Jesus being revealed to us. Now, if I can just find my day-planner to set aside time this week in order to review that set of questions.......