Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wanted: Perspective {This Day Thursday}

I wasn't going to do this. My to-do list is long. My time is short. What I wouldn't give for a magic lamp... ("Ya got a list that's three miles long no doubt, well all you gotta do is rub like so...")

I figured you'd get it if I just let you know that my brain is fried, emotions fraying, and I just need to get. stuff. done. But God is persistent. No amount of laundry, packing, cooking, cleaning will give me the peace of mind only time with God can offer. And I can't multitask that.

So here we sit, you and I, and I need to do a bit of bragging. My mom makes hella-good banana bread. So good I almost engaged in a drop-down, drag-out fight over it. Is it mob-mentality when its just a mob of individuals assaulting each other?

Well, years ago I was on tour with my university's choir. Before every performance, a church would provide a meal. Usually a potluck deal. Good eats for sure. I chowed with my fellow choir buddy nerds and we chatted about all the whatnots going on in our "important" collegiate world. Then one of the guys takes a bite of the banana bread and makes some comment like, "This banana bread is good. Not as good as my mom's, but my mom makes the best banana bread in the world, so..."

That set off some playful banter along the lines of, "No way, my mom makes the best banana bread in the world. No my mom does. No mine. My mom uses cream cheese frosting. My mom does need crappy frosting. My mom's banana bread would make your mom's taste like cat food." Stuff like that. Good-natured at first, with just a hint of nasty. It was more than banana bread proficiency that hung in the balance, it was our mothers' honor- and that honor rested heavily on the quality of their banana bread. I won, by the way.

Anyway, in a world where we could disown our comrades over un-resolvable quickbread differences, we sure give a lot of ground when it comes to bragging up on our God. That isn't meant to be condemnation. I hop right on that train. People say, "look at this awesome stuff I have/do/think," and I say "uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, that's so cool!" And truth is- some of it is. But I am so slow. So. Slow. To be like, "Hey look at this totally awesome stuff my God did!"

And if I focus on how my marble mouth stumbles over praising God out loud to people who have their own gods to think of, I get down on myself. Man I suck.

But if instead I think about how awesome God is, I cut myself some slack because hey, God is awesome. So awesome. And the point has never been to flog ourselves and straighten up- its been about the good news of Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean flippantly ignoring the grievous sin that would separate me from God, it means confessing and living like Jesus is alive. He took my sins to that tree, but that is not the end of the story.

So I am going to do a little bragging on God.It's totally Biblical. "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31) Jesus is alive and living and active, and that perspective hit me afresh today.

This Day Thursday, I need some perspective. I need prayers for sure. But I really need perspective. God was good enough to sit down with me in Job. I didn't turn there out of Job-like self-pity. It was just on the way to Psalms, but I honestly didn't make it to Psalms.

Job 38-39 might as well have been titled, "The Lord Answers His Wild Woman." I have become aware that the times I am most apt to cry is when I feel overwhelmed and/or feel that things are out of my control. My kids and house, sure. Other people, definitely. And honestly, I felt a tad out of control this morning. I even said that, "I just feel like I have absolutely no control."

Guess what Job 38-39 is about? Control. God's control. Often I read it and play it out in my head that God is really giving it to Job. You think you're all that, Job? "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?" (38:34) While that is definitely the vibe it intentionally gives off, today I read it differently- not with the edge of a God who has had it up to here with self-justification. Today it whispered of God's mercy and loving care for every single tiny bit of His creation. There is no detail overlooked. No decision carelessly made. Couple that with Christ's sermon on the mount and we see that all flows out of the love and attention of the Creator of all- and that extends to me and you as well. The love that nailed Jesus to the cross is the love that makes known to us that we are valued and special, and that comes without any control on our part.

And then I flipped to John 17 and spent time in Jesus' high priestly prayer. God does these things for us and then He prays for us. That we would believe Him, be one, be kept from the evil one, be with Him. I ask people to pray for me, but I actually get to read the words that my Savior prayed on my behalf.

Perspective. The things out of my control- they are going to stay that way. And if I did have control, I would sure be bound to screw something up. But God's way is better. The picture He sees is complete and just the absolute best because it is built on and around who He is- holy, perfect love.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6