The story of the covenant people of God in Genesis is a story of God's faithfulness to a people who are fighting to survive. They are exiles, sojourners, almost everywhere they go, and they face the steepest odds in every land - not to mention the odds they lengthen through their own sin - and yet they cling to a promise that God will sustain them, bless them, increase them, and get them home. That is the story arc of all of the people of God, but we forgot the whole exiles and sojourners part of it.
In the midst of the global suffering occurring through COVID-19, we once again find ourselves with the questions of Job and his friends. We want to know how God works, and we want simple answers for what He is doing in the world. While many of them may be found, and while the Scriptures and revelation of Jesus Christ within them offer us all we need to know about the nature of God, and lots of information about His work, there is still an element of mystery to His work in the world that we simply must accept, lest we misrepresent Him like Job's friends did, or we attempt to paint Him into a corner like Job did.
Job's search for wisdom leads him to the end of his own rope, which he finds in the dirt at the feet of his Lord. Wisdom is seeing God as more, not as less. Wisdom is worship of a big God, not manipulation of a small one. Wisdom is more obedience, more awe, more wonder, more faith, more trust, more worship, more of God, and altogether less of us. That's true wisdom.
I have found it true, in my thirty years of walking with Jesus, that God and I have a different sense of time and urgency. When I want something to move quickly and with urgency, then that seems to be the exact season that God seems to slow things down and make me wait. When I want things to go slow, then that is when everything seems to come at me all once. The fact that God and I don’t have the same sense of time and urgency shouldn’t be surprising as God and I have very different perspectives and very different priorities.
Some Christians have extended the idea of total depravity morphing it into a form of utter depravity, staining even some good things in the world, things that can be celebrated and enjoyed, with sin’s brush of joylessness and brokenness. I have certainly been guilty of this, and it shows all too often in my countenance and approach to some of life’s simple pleasures and enjoyments.
How much of professional Christian life is geared so that we spend more time complaining about sinners than we spend in genuine compassionate friendship and relationship?
I turned 40 today which means that I finally have an excuse for my crankiness and I also have the duty to share all of my gathered wisdom with an unsuspecting world. So here are 40 thoughts that no one asked for in no particular order.
Two days ago, the Lester family marked the one year anniversary of our arrival in the US. I cannot believe it has been a year! We arrived tired, smelly, confused and a little fearful and have more or less remained in that state for the rest of the year. It has been a most marvelous adventure!
Repentance is a chance to admit you are wrong in a world of pressure trying to look like you are getting it right, and trust me, you are getting it wrong somewhere. It is a chance to declare dependence in a world where we are all exhausted from our so called independence. It is a a chance to throw yourself on the goodness of God, and to experience the fullness of joy when you discover just how good He is.