Month: June 2016

A Sea Brighter than the Sky

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The waters were restless this morning. Breakers roared in, and I felt their spray even fifteen feet above as I ran along the cliffs over the Lake. Out on the horizon and over the Lake, dark blue clouds blotted out the sky. And yet, here and there, you could see the sun poking through.

And the Lake responded.

If I looked up to the sky, I saw a dark, foreboding scene. But as I looked down, I observed a bright, shining lake that left me dazzled. The sight took my breath away: the waters reflected an unseen sun under a dark sky.

Christian, this is you.

You have been called to be light. You have been called to reflect your Savior, the one who redeemed you, the one who bought you out of darkness at the price of his own life. The skies are dark here. Oh, they are so, so dark. I know. Trust me. They overwhelm so easily, and we give in to despair.

Look up. Do you see? The Son has not abandoned you. Look down. Do you see the proclamation in Word? He knew the deeps you keep secret from the world around you. He knew the secrets you have not told, for fear that those around you would reject you. And do you see? He has loved you anyway. He has purchased and won you, not with silver or gold, but with his holy, precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.

Oh, even under the dark sky, Christian, reflect him. Be brighter than those around you. Surprise and delight. Don’t fade into the darkness. This is not who your Savior made you to be.

But you cannot do it, dear one. It is impossible for you – unless.

Unless you are reflecting him. Unless you see the Son and focus on him and his love for you. Unless you grow to gasp at his goodness and revel in his brightness. Unless you grow in the grace and knowledge of our lord Jesus Christ.

You have been called to be a sea brighter than the sky, but never brighter than the sun. Oh, that can never be. But Christian: reflect that light you have been shown. Shine bright.

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A Weekend with the Family

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Usually not a happy sight.

Of course I’ll take you.

Grandpa had open heart surgery. He’s a church member; I’d already been planing to take the one hour one-way trip to the hospital to see him. His daughter and grandchildren don’t have a car; they want to see grandpa, too. So up we went.

And on the way, not only did I get to spend time with my members… I got to know them better, and minister to them in their need. And then minister to grandpa in his need. And then minister to a sad and shaken family on the way back. Stepdad in the family was taught growing up that “Real men don’t cry.” I got to teach him otherwise. If it’s ok for Jesus to cry, it’s ok for you.

It is good to be the family of God. (more…)

Ah, Vacation!

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Arizona. Vacation. At last. A chance to sleep in with nothing telling us to hurry up.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” FWOMP!

There’s a child in our bed, and he’s not ours. “EEEEEEEeeeeEEEEeeeeEEEEEEE!” He’s excited to see us. Oh, look. He’s in our bags now. He found some sunscreen. SPURT! Now there’s sunscreen all over the carpet. And the bed. And him.

Our hostess appears, apologizing, grabs her son and vamooses from the room.

And this is how I met their youngest. Through our week of vacation, I got to see him at his best. Oh, such a kid. I don’t envy his parents. This child is incredibly lovable and loving. I got more hugs out of him in one week than I do out of my kids for a month. He loves being held. He loves making noise. He trusts. If I took his hand, he had no questions. He would grab mine and ask for whatever he desired at that moment in that incredible way of his. He loves exploring and emptying everything and, well, being naked.

Their youngest child has autism.

Their child is someone you quickly either love or want to run away from. (Sometimes both, his parents assure me.)

I saw so much of me in this young boy.

On the ride back from Tombstone, he melted down. Too much stimulus. Get out of the car. Now. “OOOOOOOOOOO!” he wailed from the back of the van.

His mother reassured him verbally. Not much longer Ten miles. It’s ok. Not much longer.

OOOOOOOOOOOO!” he mourned.

His mother reached back a hand. It’s ok. The end is coming. We’re almost there.

OOOOOOOOOOOO!” he insisted.

And as he broke down, his mother unbuckled, shuffled to the back, and held him. And he calmed down.

And look. There I am.

Father, I’m done. I can’t take this anymore. Take it away from me.

And God is good. He’s taking me somewhere.

Oh, but I can’t take it anymore. It hurts. There’s too much going on all around. Please. Make it stop. My people don’t get it. I have to work so hard. I’m always depressed. I want it all to end. Just stop, please. Make it stop. And I wail. And I mourn.

But it’s not time to stop yet. We’re not to where God has chosen in his goodness for me to be yet.

But God comforts this child who calls out and can take no more. He reminds me of his love. He doesn’t end the ride… but he points me to how he’s taken care of me in the past. How he loved me in my shame. How he died for me, while I was yet a sinner. And though I have farther to go… it is better, because he is here.

This child that hosted us… he would run from one thing to another to another so fast. And he’d get into trouble – say, spraying sunscreen all over – and move on, no shame, no connection in what he’d done.

And look at me. I move from sin to “be busy” to sin to praising God so quickly. Look! I praise in church, glorying in Jesus loving me! And look! SPURT! Sunscreen all over! That’s me.

I’m God’s autist?

No. I’m pretty neuro-typical, from all I can tell. But that little boy and I have some things very much in common.

We are sinners.

Saved by grace.

Rescued by Jesus.

Still having sinful natures.

But now we have put on Christ.

I don’t envy his parents. This boy is lovable. Yes, after just a week of knowing him, I can say I love him. I can also say I don’t mind not being around the noise or that style of wake-ups. But… he helped me see me, maybe a little bit, as God sees me.

Someone he loves, despite the many times I prove I shouldn’t get that love.

This child didn’t “do” anything for me. He didn’t let me sleep in. He demanded attention. Demanded love. Demanded I let him outside.

And yet… and yet, I could not say no to loving him. And yes, I’m convinced he loved me in return.

God loved me. I have done nothing but demand from him. What could I possibly give him that he didn’t give me first?

And yet… he loves. He has not stopped himself from loving.

Thank you, Father.

Oh, look! Sunscreen! SPURT!