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Monday, January 31, 2011

Stars and Band-Aids

Today, I had another one of those reminders about why I need to read slowly. Especially the Bible.

Psalm 147 is one of those great psalms we like to read at worship services because it talks about how wonderful and awesome God is. But embedded in this psalm are these words:

3 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
4 He counts the stars and calls them all by name.

If we don't read slowly, we will miss how amazing it is to find these two verses side by side. With the one hand, we have a God of infinite knowledge and power who is counting every star flung throughout the galaxy. With the other hand, God is stooping down on one knee like a gentle mother and putting band-aids on our scraped knee.

I have heard it said that most of our trouble with God stems back to our inability to hold these two contradictory ideas about God together. He is unfathomable greatness. He is uncomfortable nearness. He is mighty beyond words. He is personal beyond reason. He is holy mystery and wholly other.

And somehow today, I am finding great comfort in this mystery. A god that I could understand would quickly become a god that I would control or twist to my own ends. But a star-holding, band-aid wielding Master makes me pause and simply say, "Wow."

May you live today in the tension of a God who is far beyond you. And yet, right here with you. May this tension bring you to a deeper definition of faith; faith in one you cannot ever fully explain. And that's okay.

Journey on-
Nick

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wouldn't You Like to Be a Broadway Stage-hand?

I sure would! I heard on the radio yesterday on my way to work that the top Broadway stage-hand makes over $400,000. No, that is not a typo for $40,000- the best stage hand makes over four hundred thousand dollars. (They also get a meager $107,000 in deferred payments annually) Wow, that's a nice paying gig. The radio announcer was lamenting that this was just one example of how Broadway unions were controlling the market, driving theater ticket prices through the roof, and creating an unsustainable future. The announcer likened this situation to Social Security and lamented that we as Americans regularly get ourselves into difficult situations because we fail to grasp that we have limits.

This got me thinking about the goodness of limits. God, in his wisdom, created you and I to have a limited capacity. From the very beginning, in the creation of mankind, we had limits. God placed Adam in a garden, defined it's boundaries, gave him a tree that was off limits, defined suitable partners (Eve) and unsuitable ones, among other natural, God-given constraints. Throughout history, we humans get ourselves into trouble when we start believing that we have no limits. And like Spiderman on Broadway, we create a system that is doomed to come crashing down. We mortgage the future to pay for today, and hope that when that future comes someone else will bail us out.

Today I am trying to accept that I have limits, and that this is a good thing. I have a limited amount of time, so I must choose wisely where to spend it. I have a limited amount of money, so I must use discernment in how to spend it. I have a limited amount of energy, so I must expend it in places that truly matter.

How about you? Are you constantly trying to push beyond your limits, or are you accepting that by God's grace He has made us to be people who can only do so much? I believe that as we accept our limited state, we find true freedom to depend on God for all the things that lie beyond our abilities.

May we all know the joy of limits on our journey today-

Nick