Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 240: Isaiah 64-66; Psalm 46; Hebrews 2

Where God abides...
I have experienced four hurricanes in my life. By experience, I mean that I have been through the period of preparing for the storm, known the anxious waiting and watching that entail during the storm and labored through the cleanup after the storm. Each storm was different. One was "all wind." Another was so much rain that it seemed like the ocean had decided to hover over us and then drop down in one, massive splash. Another was wind, water and so much flooding. Another, it seemed, devastated everyone else but us.

During all that time, I never found myself questioning where was God in all this...weather. I also didn't sojourn through those times wondering why/if God would vex us so. I knew, down into my bones, that God is always with us. I knew also that with survival comes an opportunity to rebuild. It will be stressful, heart- and body-breaking work, but restoration in some form or another will come. How we accomplish that, and with what are variables that need to be worked out. That is the key, though: they can be worked out. On top of that, with faith and the hope that provides its taproot, we find new sources and resources in ourselves for community with each other and more often than not renewed communion with God.

I think that is an essential element of our human nature. We simply wouldn't be if we were the type of organisms that rolled over, curled up and surrendered to all the craziness that the universe has to offer. You might call it stubborn. You might call it being spirited. We just are not constituted to give it up in the face of adversity. We can be trained, or beaten down, into real and durable defeat...but I am convinced that God did not intend for that to be our estate in life.

There is always something else/more in store for us. God's witness through the prophet, and the illustration of Jesus as the incarnate Son provided by the author to the letter to the Hebrews work to remind us of that basic tenet of God's function, if you will. God abides. God abides over, with and in us. God is with us through the storms. God is with us even when we are up to our necks with iniquity. God is with us through restoration. God is with us even as we are called to resurrection.

If we are willing to acknowledge that God does truly abide with us...then nothing can ultimately prevail over us or destroy us. We might face any number of penultimate challenges (and we do) in this life...but the sure testimony of God's that we are not alone, ever, does its bit to provoke us to embrace the moments after the storm passes as the gifts that they are: a chance to abide with God as God chooses to abide with us. In that moment, we are so very close to the kingdom that Christ promises us.

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