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Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40
Internet surfer that I am, I recently came across a meme which could be described as a drama queen's motto:
"I don't want to be overdramatic. But today felt like a hundred days in hell."
Yes, within the faith community, it is often agreed eternal torment is some kind of reality, even if it is beyond our finite minds.
Nevertheless, we do ourselves a large disservice to ignore our own self-created and contained versions of this most unpleasant torture. For indeed, even those pious Christian versions of us need to admit something hardly "Christ-like" or flattering. Sometimes we like to create our own little Hells. And then we further enjoy tossing others - and ourselves - INTO them.
Many Christians are still locked into the conviction that the Bible speaks to a very narrow slice of life. Of course, all Christians believe that the Bible has some very specific things to say about prayer, Bible reading, worship, and evangelism. But many Christians are not convinced that the Bible has some very definite things to say about civil government, the judicial system, economics, indebtedness, the punishment of criminals, foreign affairs, care for the poor, journalism, science, medicine, business, education, taxation, inflation, property, terrorism, war, peace negotiations, military defense, ethical issues like abortion and homosexuality, environmental concerns, inheritance, investments, building safety, banking, child discipline, pollution, marriage, contracts, and many other worldview issues.
All Christians must remove their blinders and widen their scope of ministry to include the world. This will mean the development and implementation of a comprehensive biblical worldview. Put simply, a worldview is the way you and I look at things. How did we get here? How did the world get here? How does it run? Who or what runs it? What laws govern us and the world? What role if any do we have in the government of the world? What does God think of the world? How does He want it to run? Who has He put in charge of the world? What are His plans for the world? Basically, the Christian's worldview should be the same as God's worldview, the creature thinking the thoughts of the Creator.1 Is God's view of the world comprehensive? Is He concerned about every nook and cranny of creation? Did He give His life for the "world"? Is He Lord of "all things"? To all of these questions we would answer "Yes!" Then, why should Christians limit their scope of the world? Why should Christians have a lower view of the world than God does? Why should humanists have a higher view of the world than we do? George Grant writes:
The Lord is not slow about His promise.
First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!"... But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:3-5, 8-9
We live in a fast food society. There are many places now that have put time clocks at the order windows. If your food is there in less time than promised, you get a reward...a free meal, a coupon, something. We are not used to waiting.
The Lord wants us to learn how to wait, to wait on Him. There are some things about waiting that I need to learn. As I look at the many definitions of "wait " in the dictionary, I see these:
- to stay in place in expectation of
- to remain stationary in readiness or expectation
- to look forward expectantly
These are all things I need to learn.
First, when I wait, I learn to expect God to act. If He is going to act, then I am not going to act. I am going to wait on Him to act. That seems so simple, but the fact is, if God doesn’t do what I think He should do, then often I move ahead, doing it instead. And, of course, I only make a mess of things. In waiting for Him to act, I learn to live content in the situation itself (Phil. 4:11), trusting Him to make the changes He deems necessary at the time He deems right.
I recently came across a souvenir my mother received from her British pen pal in the 1950's. It's one of those trick images of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; who you see depends on the angle of the portrait.
It brings to mind the following scripture:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
And it made me think of my distorted image issues:
"...I stood in my bedroom, in front of my three-way mirror. I’d seen so many versions of myself. I’d been fat and thin, feeling both unworthy and worthy. Yet I was never satisfied..."
(Excerpt taken from Cruse's book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder")
Images and mirrors don't delve into great detail about each trauma, milestone, issue and phase of our lives. They don't accurately depict things as they are. Smudges and warps can alter what reflects back at us. And these images and mirrors certainly don't predict the future or explain the Most High completely.
Okay, I'm attempting to simmer down. I just finished another viewing of the animated Disney classic, "Sleeping Beauty."
Like a lot females out there, I have a complicated love/hate view of this fairytale princess depiction.
Over the years, I have bought into, absorbed, aspired to be like and have been resentful of this ingénue archetype. I have run the gamut of emotions, largely because of the all-important beauty factor which is mandatory for our young princess heroine.
It was all I could do to get through this latest viewing of the film.
For, right off the bat, we have our staple Disney music, chiming in, emphasizing just how beautiful our "Sleeping Beauty" is...
Some people seem to have a genius for making others miserable! They are continually touching sensitive hearts, so as to cause pain. They are always saying things which sting and irritate. If you have any bodily defect, they never see you without in some crude way, making you conscious of it. If any relative or friend of yours has done some dishonorable thing, they seem to take a cruel delight in constantly referring to it when speaking with you. They lack all delicacy of feeling, having no eye for the sensitive things in others, which demand gentleness of treatment.
Thoughtfulness is the reverse of all this. It simply does not do the things which thoughtlessness does. It avoids the painful subject. It never alludes to a man's clubfoot or humpback, nor ever casts an eye at the defect, nor does anything to direct attention to it or to make the man conscious of it. It respects your sorrow--and refrains from harshly touching your wound. It has the utmost kindliness of feeling and expression. A truly thoughtful person, is one who never needlessly gives pain to another.
Visualize this scenario. There's a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child's view consists of the following: the back of the driver's and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there's even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy's head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child's song. But, instead, what do we hear?
"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
Does this sound familiar?
If you have children or remember being one yourself, you're probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:
Are we there yet?
We want to get there already, wherever "there" is.
"Unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." Exodus 3:8; 33:3
It's the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.
I recently caught a viral video of a turtle repeatedly head butting a cat. The feline, annoyed, swishing its tail, eventually got up and moved. And the turtle was on its way. Is it a lesson in adversity? In persistence? In forging ahead, despite negative feedback?
Other people hold mirrors up to us. And a significant mirror came to me in the form of a critic to my beloved baby, my book, "Thin Enough."
They say we're supposed to embrace the criticism and the ugly truth. Well saying that, doing that and feeling great about it don't necessarily happen all at the same time. But criticism and unpleasant comments still occur, often while we're in the middle of something as challenging as recovery from a compulsion, addiction or disorder.
As we bump along in life, we often misunderstand things, especially concerning our recovery. I recently caught a cartoon which captures that reality.
In it, we see Jesus and His disciples on a fishing boat. One disciple is in a festive mood, complete with some castanet shaking. This prompts another disciple's response...
"You idiot. He said cast the nets."
Does this spotlight, once again, our human cluelessness?
Perhaps, rather, it taps into the purposeful recovery-from-addiction meaning in our lives, should we choose to embrace it.
Let's take a gander at the fishy verses...