God brings the people of the world together. No question about it.
I know Easter was yesterday, but I wasn’t able to be near a computer. I heard this true story yesterday, on the KLOVE radio station, and I thought I’d share it…
There was an 8 year old boy with Down’s Syndrome in a Sunday school classroom made up of other children his age. He was new, and the teacher was concerned that the other kids might decide to alienate him based on his differences. So, the teacher worked very hard to make sure the boy was included and loved by his classmates.
One Easter, the teacher gave each child an empty egg-shaped container that had once been used to hold a pair of pantyhose. The children were instructed to go outside and find something that symbolized “new life” and put it in the egg. Once every child had returned to the room with their filled eggs, the teacher opened each one and the children discussed what they had found. One child had placed a flower in his egg, and everyone stared in wonder. The next child had put a butterfly in her egg, and everyone was in awe.
When the teacher came to the third egg, he opened it and it was empty. Immediately, the kids began saying things like “Someone did the assignment wrong!” and “There’s nothing in there!” But the boy with the Down’s Syndrome gently tugged on his teacher’s sleeve and said, “That’s my egg and I did it right. It’s empty just like the tomb.”
As I write this, I am unsure of the category this story will fit into best. As of now, it is “uncategorized,” and it will probably stay that way.
ANYWAY, for the past few months, my right headlight has been out, as well as 2 of my rear lights. My parents and I haven’t had enough extra cash to get this fixed, and it has been causing us all to worry (’cause you can get pulled over for that kind of stuff!).
My mother called me this morning and said, “Meet me at your uncle’s house! I have a light for you.” Of course, I obliged and drove over there. I expected her to be holding a few bulbs, but to my surprise, my mother was holding an ENTIRE headlight. While none of this may seem amazing and wonderful to you, the events that unfolded prior to my headlight being replaced really showed me how God is EVERYWHERE in our lives.
My mother works at a university and is good friends with the maintenance man that works in her building. She was talking to him about my broken headlight, and he mentioned that his father had purchased a junked-up version of my exact make and model. His father had intended to fix it up and sell it, but he had passed away before the work could be completed. So, the maintenance man and his brother had been selling the car for parts slowly. He originally wanted to sell my mom the headlight for $50 but suddenly said he would take $25 for it. My mother bought it.
Now, her original plan had been to take the headlight and my car to an auto repair place. The labor would have been at LEAST $100 (plus tax). My uncle volunteered to install the headlight and replace the rear bulbs for free. So what would have easily cost my mother almost $200 only cost $25.
Why did this make me think of my Father? Lately, I have been feeling far away from God. I haven’t been listening so well, and I guess I’ve been feeling abandoned (though I know He has never done that). This headlight reminded me that God has my entire world in His hands. He even cares about my car. So if He cares about THAT, surely He must have every other aspect of my life under His watchful eye and guiding hands.
So there you have it. God is a DADDY. He is my Daddy, and He is YOUR Daddy. He can replace headlights, broken hearts, anything you can think of. I got a new headlight because He makes all things new. 🙂
I love this clip from the Joss Whedon series “Firefly,” a sci-fi western weaving some of the most lovable and real-to-life characters together in an amazing journey. In the clip, Shepherd Book (a preacher) and River Tam (a traumatized teenager) discuss the Bible.
River accuses the Bible of being full of mistakes: “Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.” So she’s cutting it up (literally) to try and make more sense out of it. Shepherd tries to explain: “You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you. ” After considering, River returns to apologize: “I tore these out of your symbol and they turned into paper, but I wanna put them back.”
Book’s patience shows he’s a pretty rad preacher man. He’s a Believer who feels for a lost kid who doesn’t quite “get it” yet, instead of feeling superior or offended.
Book says, “It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith.”
Orson Scott Card once pointed out that if it all made sense, it would lose everything divine (Xenocide). If it all made sense, maybe man just made it up. Sometimes its the very strangeness, the oddity, that makes it so real. The Bible is full of accounts humans would never make up, let alone die for – not just the passages that are miraculous or don’t make sense to modern ears 2000 years later, but passages calling us to sacrifice, suffer, embrace the unpopular, join the weak, let go of our desire for control, trust in something outside our physical senses. The passages that are messy and embarrassing, painting believers from Abraham to the disciples in an ugly light because they were all broken too. The passages that simply don’t make sense to us – from the Trinity to freewill.
Sometimes the faith doesn’t make sense. And if God wrote it, we shouldn’t expect it to. He wouldn’t be much of a God if we could understood everything about him and the world he made. We’d expect some things to only make sense to Him. It’s the strangeness that makes the faith all the more divine, all the more real, all the more powerful. It isn’t merely human.
River realized that tearing pages out of Shepherd Book’s “symbol” just turned them to paper – they lost what made them important. She tried to take the Bible on her own terms and it lost something. It’s only when she takes them whole that it becomes more than paper, more than ink, more than words and stories – more than a symbol. It becomes a conversation between God and his people – who he is, who we are, how we lost our way and how we can come home to the love He holds us for. You don’t fix faith. It fixes you.
For Further Reading: “No Argument for God: Going Beyond Reason in Conversations About Faith” by John Wilkinson
I have a friend who is always joking, “Use your big kid words!” when someone is obviously floundering to express extreme emotion – makes me laugh every time. Sometimes, like kids, we feel so much inside us and just don’t know how to express ourselves. Remember temper tantrums? Remember screaming in your mind? Remember punching pillows? Think of times you felt emotions so potent you struggled to even express yourself – frustration, joy, rage, love, hate, the list goes on.
Sometimes all it takes to get that out of us is words – to put a name to something often makes it more manageable. Expressing ourselves with words communicates who we are, what we feel, and what we believe to the world around us. Sort of like using turn signals in traffic – the alert people to where we are at right now and where we are headed! Worship is an expression of love as well, and sometimes worship is as simple as… words.
I love you, God. I trust you, God. I need you. I want you. I am comforted by you. You make my day brighter, my thoughts clearer, my hope real. You bless me, protect me, and delight in me – and I want to delight in you! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you, God! And I use my big kid words to express that! You are awesome, you are magnificent, you are precious, you are everything.
Let this clip by Christian dramatic artists “The Skit Guys” direct your thoughts to what words you might use to show appreciation to God and those you value most. Our deepest regrets are often the words that went unspoken – the things we should have said and never got around to. Change that intentionally today! Words are powerful. Yet another reason Jesus was called… the Word.
“Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.” – V for Vendetta
No picture of divine inspiration exists more beautiful than the chalk drawing Prologue of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water.” Not everyone is an M. Night fan, but his insights into faith and the human condition run deep. This short clip shows the Prologue in its entirety – a storyline of God’s attempts to communicate and inspire us, and our tendency to stray. Like Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Once man and God were linked. He inspired us. We listened once – but the cares of this world have distracted us. Why doesn’t God speak today? Why don’t we see more of him at work in the world? I think a very convincing case can be made that God is alive and well, more active than ever and speaking to us regularly when we listen – and this is worship. Going to God, communing with him, striving to listen as he tries to help us. Never forget how to listen.
Here’s an interesting read, an article written 12/23/11.
We can show God’s love to a hurting world by taking care of others needs. We can keep humble about it by doing so in secret. The movie “Pay it Forward” shows people inspired to change other people’s lives – and refuse repayment, simply saying “pay if forward.” Jesus started this 2,000 years ago. “I’ll die for your sins. You CAN’T repay me. It’s not even possible. But to show me thanks and pledge allegiance to my cause – pay it forward. Love neighbors, love enemies, love God.”
This article tells of people who go to KMarts and pay off stranger’s layaways anonymously. Can you imagine what people feel when they come to make a small payment on Christmas presents they can’t afford and find out an angel paid for them in full?! I have a friend who loves to give like this. He pays for the vehicle behind him when he goes through drive-thru restaurants and smiles knowing he brightened someone’s day and lightened their burdens. Giving is better than receiving, but you have to try it to know it!
Try it this week! Share your own stories as a comment. What a way to worship, with good stewardship of your finances and a helpful heart toward strangers!