Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

The human mind and heart are a mystery; but God will loose an arrow at them, and suddenly they will be wounded. Psalm 64:7

Jesus taught us, saying: ‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by the cares of life…’ Luke 21:34

God takes his stand in the council of heaven; He gives judgment in the midst of the gods: “How long will you judge unjustly, and show favor to the wicked? Save the weak and the orphan; defend the humble and needy; Rescue the weak and the poor; deliver them from the power of the wicked. Psalm 82

I pray a lot for a shield of correct faith protecting me from the fiery darts of the Enemy, my Little Children’s Pilgrim’s Progress’ understanding of the lies and accusations that are flung incessantly. Which, as an aside says A LOT about reading chapter books to children at a very young age because I so remember those early piled-on-the-couch in-front-of-the-fireplace stories my dad and mom read to us each night before bed.

And one does not wish for the rotting damage that happens to one’s thinking and heart when a lie lodges deeply and spreads its poison, but there is a good sort of pain as well, a pain to press into.

The pain of confession.

Of the pause and considering.

Search me, O God, and know my heart.
    Try me and know my thoughts.
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139

And listening to Jesus through the Word and from allowing my heart to be pierced with the arrows of His truth, a grievous way that is found in me is that judging the other.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.
With the same mercy ye mete, shall be met unto you.

Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me.

And perhaps one area of consideration are those weak and poor and needy. Because they are inconvenient and slow us down, and mess with our stuff and our time and our cares of the world.

Like for instance, the lady who smacked into my car Thursday when I paused at a stop sign and she did not. She was trying to light a cigarette and zip through the Sixth Avenue underpass at the same time. And she had to shuffle through a bunch of driver’s licenses to find one to hand me, which was a little strange, but I dutifully copied down all of the numbers, the insurance card, the make of her tattered car full of her cluttered life and the license plate. We were both in a hurry, she to her job at a school cafeteria and me to my eighth graders lined up outside of the science lab. And of course the dinked bumper would cost $690 to repair and the $500 deductible would not be waived because her insurance had expired, and the whole thing was a little inconvenient and my plate is squished even after I tried to unfold it. But in the big scheme of things, this is just a little thing.

And reading all of those childhood stories helps me understand the icy glare that I get from one eye because the other one is hidden behind pink-stained hair. “I don’t understand it when teachers talk to me.” And her mom was raped when she was fifteen. And her mom spent most of her life in and out of jail then in and out of rehab but now she is trying to have a relationship. And I get why correct MLA citations and there/they’re/their are helpful, but she doesn’t. But in the big scheme of things, this is just a little thing.

I think that one quiverful of arrows that we have been gifted with is the Humans of New York City series, story after story of not the outward appearance, but the heart of all of those people we push and shove past on a daily basis. And maybe they step in front of us onto the escalator or fiddle with something electronic rather than pop quickly out of a green light or cut ahead of me for the parking lot spot, But in the big scheme of things, this is just a little thing.

And the Monday night ladies were reading again last night about Jesus. He was led by His love for others into the world, to forget Himself in the needs of others, to sacrifice self once for all upon the altar of sympathy. Self-sacrifice brought Christ into the world. And self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from, but into the midst of men. Wherever men suffer, there we will be to comfort, Wherever men strive, there will we be to help. Wherever men fail, there will we be to uplift. Wherever men succeed we will be there to rejoice…It means richness of development. It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives–binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours. –B. B. Warfield

You simply can’t beat love. You can’t out-humble it. You can’t suppress it, because you are always free to love no matter how someone treats you. If others are putting nails through your hands, you can forgive them. If someone is shouting curses at you, you can silently receive them. Love is irrepressible. – Paul E. Miller

And so dear Lord Jesus, dear God-alongside-of-me, as I follow You into the harried crowd that presses and bumps and tugs on my sleeve all day long, may I be ever Yours and pause and look around and ask, “Who touched me?”