Monday, January 25, 2016

Little Nutbrown Hare held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very big ears.

Come now and see the works of God, how wonderful He is in His doing toward all people. Psalm 66:4

O LORD, what are we that you should care for us? mere mortals that you should think of us? We are like a puff of wind; our days are like a passing shadow. Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down. Psalm 144 3-4

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong with the fearful, the true mixed in with the fa├žade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.  Fred Rogers

Easier to let a mind run wild with worry than to exercise discipline, to reign her in, slip the blinders on and train her to walk steady in certain assurance, not spooked by the specters looming ahead.

And yet He does care for us. He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. The crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks–eucharisteo.

In time years, dust settles.
In memory, ages, God emerges.
Then when we look back, we see God’s back.
Is that it? When it gets dark, it’s only because God has tucked me in a cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand? In the pitch, I feel like I’m falling, sense the bridge giving way, God long absent. It is in the dark that God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is the closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see, and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us. I-beam supporting in the earthquake. Then He will remove His hand. Then we will look back.

Jesus call me to surrender and there’s nothing like releasing fears and falling into peace. It terrifies, true. But it exhilarates. There is no joy without trust. –Ann Voskamp

So Brandon stopped by yesterday afternoon on the way home from Ryan’s Airfield where he did his solo-piloting airplane thing. And I must admit, as he describes the weird wind currents and the sudden drops just before he lands and having to throttle up and leap towards the sky to avoid crashing into the earth I can’t quite picture choosing this form of exhilaration.

Especially after watching The Martian with the extended family the night before. Yet these are the dreams and hopes of his bright blue eyes, soaring through the stars with no murky atmosphere clouding his vision.

There is no joy without trust.

And tightly clinging to control and fear and resentment sure as heck does not bring joy.

But living free does.

Crossing each day’s bridges in perfect trust because He has proven Himself Stop-at-Nothing-Trustworthy. Arms outstretched.

And even realizing that The Martian was a fictional character, his courage and steady walk is based on the truth of our heroes, those who kept the faith even in the darkness, quietly, steadily planting potatoes in poop. And whether our heroes are Daniel in the lions’ den and imprisoned Joseph and Hannah waiting for a child or Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham writing about forgiveness and Mother Teresa kneeling down in the Calcutta gutters or that guy rolling his wheelchair down the sidewalk with a plastic Safeway grocery bag looped around the handle and the single mom who makes sure her kids set out their schoolwork by the apartment front door before going to bed, each and every hero holds steady in the darkness, trusting that In the blackest, God is the closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will.

And one more thing from The Martian. When I pulled myself out of the pool this morning and looked up, there was a big soft white round moon looking down at me. Exactly like the moon on the last page of the pop-up edition of Guess How Much I Love You that I read to Everette that night, in her tiny secret room. And Big Nutbrown Hare lay down close by and whispered with a smile, “I love you right up to the moon – and back.” The other thing about the movie is that there were no bad guys, no antagonists at all. Everyone was just muddling about as best they could, puffs of wind, passing shadows from the big perspective, the For God So Loved the World perspective. He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. A reminder of Who am I to judge my Father’s child? He knows each of our unloveliness and fearfulness and what lies behind the door, behind the facade. It is His love that saves us, not we ourselves.

Awe…awe ignites joy because it makes us bend the knee and we are in deepest happiness in the posture of grateful worship. Because the God-likeness with our smallness speaks to Father-God to His magnificence. –Ann Voskamp

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.