Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Watch and See

An Inkling
There are two kinds of blindness:  can’t see and don’t see.  Few suffer the former.  All suffer the latter.  Those who suffer the former know it.  Those who suffer the latter typically don’t. 
When those who suffered the former met Jesus, they usually asked for healing, and he healed them.  But when you don’t know you’re blind, you don’t know to ask.  Gratefully Jesus doesn’t always wait to be asked (e.g., John 9).
Imagine the scene:  the “can’t see” blind man sees for the first time – sees colors, sees the faces of loved ones he had only touched, sees the face of the Savior who just healed him.  New sights were soon blurred by tears, and then explored over and over as the tears cleared, to ever expanding joy.
It works the same with those who “don’t see.”  At the touch of Jesus they begin to see, some things anew, and some things for the first time.  They start to see the beauty of God’s ongoing works that they had overlooked – such things as:
  • the splendor of the James River running at flood with the spring thaw; God does amazing things with simple gravity, light, and liquid.
  • the wonder of our most familiar face companions, each made in the image of God, and yet each so unique and amazing.
  • the astonishing capacity of God to work good even from evil (e.g., watch how many Muslims come to Christ not just in spite of ISIS, but because of it).
  • and that most amazing beauty of all – the cross; the light which flows from its darkness illumines all, and is the essential source for new sight.

Thankfully Jesus doesn’t always wait to be asked.  But it doesn’t hurt to ask.  And so together we say, “May we see yet more of your goodness?”  And yes, he has yet more to show us.
Watch and see!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

From Sardonic to Joyful

An Inkling
It’s a comedy skit classic – Bob Newhart’s therapy session.  It’s funny because we’ve all struggled with behaviors we don’t want, and most of us have tried various therapeutic and self-help approaches, to no avail.  So Newhart found some easy pickings for sardonic laughs.
Has any culture at any time or place ever had more resources to change behavior?  So how are we doing?  Some of the therapeutic and self-help approaches do seem to bear some fruit.  But overall, whether it be the two word or the ten word approach, our record for changing behaviors for the better is mixed at best.
The Lord has his approach too.  Rather than rely on our will power (two words) or fear (ten words), he goes to the heart of the matter, and fixes our “wanter.”  It’s not an overnight matter (see Romans 7).  But over time, by his grace, forgiveness, healing, and transforming power, we’re changed from the inside out, so that our desires are more and more to the good. 
What a novel concept:  instead of trying to find a way to get us to stop doing what we want to do, how about changing what we want to do to the good, and then saying “go for it!”  
That’s just one part of the abundant life Jesus brings.  But it’s a good one.  And along the way our laughter moves from the sardonic to the joyful, a very good sign indeed!