Summary: God has chosen to reside in us, in our broken, hurting lives, in a hurting world BUT we do so in the compnay of a mending, healing, reconciling God.
Doing Life: Relationship Skills from the Bible for Today
April 18, 2010
Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (Jn 10:10b, NLT). So, then where is it?
Jesus also said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matt 11:28-30, NLT). If this is true, why does life often feel so heavy?
And Jesus even said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (Jn 14:12, NLT). Really? Then why don’t we see these “greater works” than Jesus did?
For the last little while, I’ve been feeling sort of restless. Those questions above are representative of this restlessness, but it extends to other areas of life as well. One Monday awhile ago, while Joanne was at work and Thomas at school, I decided I needed some change and so re-arranged all the furniture in the living room, just decided to shake things up, change them around, try to make it feel new. Now, those of you with more “husband sense” than me are rightly shaking your heads… you are wise enough to know that one should not assume such a project unilaterally, without consulting others who live in the same space. I promptly put everything back when Joanne, who was certainly not looking for or needing change, came home…
I’ve had to do a little bit of soul-searching on this, and I think I understand where it comes from and it is good. I want to live more. And no, I’m not talking about some brief adrenaline rush, some greater fame or fortune, or some temporary diversion. I don’t want to experience a fresh “high” – we all enjoyed one the brief moment that hockey player guy scored the big goal in overtime to win Olympic gold, and I can’t even remember his name. Sorry… For me, this restlessness is a desire for more of that “rich and satisfying life” Jesus promised, to carry that “yoke (that is) easy to bear, and the burden (that is) light” rather than these heavy issues, and to change from this feeling of impotence and powerlessness in my life and ministry to something that approximates what Jesus promised in Jn 14, because I really do want to see His Kingdom come and His will be done.
Can anyone else relate?
Consuming Fire (There Must Be More Than This…)
Fan Into Flame:
When I was younger and used to go camping, one of the great joys was always staying up late around the fire, laughing with friends, being mesmerized by the flames, watching the glowing embers that seemed to be alive. And one of my favourite challenges was to wake up the next morning and go back to the fire pit and try to get the morning fire going for breakfast without using a match. I’d put my hand over the grey ash, feeling for some warmth left over, and when I found some I’d gently brush away the ash with a glove to find that coal with a bit of heat still in it, and then I’d start to blow. I’d have the dry, tiny bits of kindling close by, or maybe some newspaper if it was desperate, and I’d place that hot coal in the middle with the kindling and blow and blow and blow, trying hard to coax just a little bit of that orange-red glow to appear, and get it hot enough to start a flame in the kindling. You have to baby it carefully – too much kindling and you snuff it out, blow to hard on the fresh lick of flame and you blow it out, bury the coal too far in the ash and you won’t have enough heat to catch the kindling.
When I bring that image into my life today as a pastor, I recognize one thing right away – I am not the breath. I can chop kindling. I can find some coals and try to brush away some ash. I can be ready with branches or paper or even logs, but the breath is not from me. Did you know that in the Biblical languages, the same word is used for “breath” or “wind” as for “spirit”? In Hebrew it is “ruach”, in Greek it is “pneuma”, and both mean either “breath/wind” or “spirit” depending on the context.
I know part of my restlessness is my need for this fresh wind to blow in my soul. You know how we feel stuck inside all winter, windows sealed tight, air getting stale? And then spring comes, and we run around and open all the windows even though the breeze is only about 12 degrees Celsius, or we drive with the windows down even though there is still piles of snow melting on the side of the road. That is what I think I need…