Thursday, November 18, 2010

Order or Spontaneity

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4.

Ann is away this week, and I am thankful for a break, and a week to attempt to live an orderly life and get some work done my way. Take sleeping for example. I slip into a well-made bed at night, and slide out carefully in the morning. Smooth out a few wrinkles, and presto! The bed’s made!

Ann, on the other hand, explodes out of bed in the morning, leaving a trail of bedding disaster, together with pillows, socks and heating pads, buried among the rubble. The bed needs a remake from the ground up to ensure some comfort for the next night’s sleep.

So now, as I go about my daily routine, I’m thankful to find everything as and where I left it, furniture still arranged for my schedule, and no cleaning frenzy to dislodge stuff I’m working on. Everything set for an easy, sedate, organised, quiet routine. At last, the comfortable rut I’ve been seeking my whole life!

But. . .

It’s also dull, tedious, monotonous, and boring! The light of life has become a glimmer, and I feel only half alive. I miss the quiet efficiency and hustle that Ann displays for household chores, cleaning, cooking, gardening, shopping, studying and even visiting the needy—a calm competence that seems to belie her natural spontaneity.

I recall several years ago, an unprovoked and unexpected sense of Ann as a stranger in my home. It lasted for about a week. It suddenly seemed out of place for this beautiful, vivacious, outgoing woman to stay with this hermetically inclined procrastinating old hermit. I saw Ann and myself with new eyes.

Ann, I am continually thankful to God for you. You are a gift of God’s grace and love to me, and I love you just the way you are. Hurry home and mess up my life again. I miss you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Well Do I Know Myself?

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

Most of us have a problem recognizing our personal iniquity. Oh! We recognize it in others readily enough, and bemoan and berate the social and international violence that pervades our planet. But we consider ourselves living above all that; in fact, seeing others’ sins in which we have no part, gives us an arrogant sense of moral superiority

The hare may vaunt his superior speed to the tortoise, but he is no match for the jet plane that thunders overhead. Our goodness is in the gutter compared with the blinding holiness of God. So much so, that the price of our sin was the horrific death of Jesus on the cross—if I was the only person in the world, His death would have been no less necessary.

It’s sobering to realize that Christ’s death is the measure of our individual sin. The idea of hell is nonsense to those who trivialize their sin. In reality, the misery of hell is really the measure of sin’s vileness, and the ultimate sacrifice that is necessary to pay its debt and overcome it. Have we come close enough to the cross to measure that depth of our own sin?