Archive for August, 2017

The Masterpiece

August 31, 2017

We never get life’s canvas blank it always comes filled in
With who we are and where we’re from and all the good and bad
And so provides the place and time in which we get to grow

I cannot show how great a love when everything is easy
I cannot know how far I’d go if i had never journeyed
If every day i had enough and nothing caused me worry

I cannot grow in knowledge if i never have to learn
I cannot grow in strength if I never have to strain
If nothing made me try too hard and never was I troubled

It’s the pull between the light and dark and good and bad we grow in
That shows us who we are right now and who we are becoming
When we choose the paint we add onto the Master’s canvas

The canvas is full of joy and pain and light and somber hues
And scenes of peace and conflict and scenes that are confused
And for every scene in black and white are hundreds gray and blurred 

On this canvas we leave our marks to make it more complete
With marks of joy or sorrow or light or dark or pain
The Master then transforms our marks into his radiant glory 

For it takes the bleak, forbidding, world to reveal His love and peace
And our confusion and despair to show His hope and joy
And on the day when we go home we’ll see His Masterpiece 

Remembering who is in control

August 23, 2017

Zech 4:6 – So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

Zech 8:10 – Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor.

I am reading the above passages this week. So now, as I hear the responses to the President’s speeches, I am reminded that the Lord is still in control and orchestrating our affairs. Zechariah was written as Israel was in exile and the Lord was reminding them that there is hope at the end of His discipline – He is able to draw all His people to Himself. Unlike Trump’s claim during the campaign, that he is the answer to all our country’s problems – God is reminding us here that He is the one in control, even if God has ordained Trump’s presidency.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the statements made by the President, it is clear that, despite all our communication tools, there are groups in this country that do not know how to listen to each other. With insulting categorizations, quick responses and blanket statements thrown around, there is precious little communication (listening) actually happening. There are fears and doubts that are not being understood. There is healing of relationships that needs to occur. There is a need to understand that God is more than we can understand and is larger than our biased (whether we acknowledge it or not) agendas.

When “our side” is winning, we can become complacent – not bothering to hear what concerns others my have, and when “our side” is not winning, we can become aggressive – caring more about being heard than listening. In either case, the call is the old prescription, “to love our neighbor as ourself,” whether we don’t want to or need to. And for those of us who consider God to be on “our side,” we need to confess our brokenness, that we have not loved God or neighbor as we should, that we need to ask God how we can be used by Him to help bring healing to the land in which He placed us, and that we need to acknowledge that we need God’s intervention in our own lives as well as in the lives of those we disagree with.

The problems we see are bigger than the President, than Congress, than the Supreme Court, and bigger than the Constitution. The solution to the problems is not ultimately to be found in the laws we make, the culture we make, the schools we build or the walls we build. The problem is all of us – our sin. The solution is love and grace – taking the time to get uncomfortable and listening to those who are different, wrestling together with the messiness of all our situations and acknowledging that the fears and concerns of others are just as real as our own.

That said, the love and grace we need is from God. Once we have fully grasped just how much we ourselves need that love and grace, we can then share that with others in this broken world. Meanwhile we need to patiently wait for the time when He will complete His work in us.

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