Sunday, May 16, 2010

Got clothes?

She stood, casually chatting with a friend in the street behind our offices. It was not her looks that attracted attention. She was good looking, without a doubt. It was her posture. It bespoke an attitude about her life, her worldview. Insouciant, cavalier, without concern. Proud of her looks and charms.

What struck me as ironic was the fact that she would have never stood that way if she had no clothes on. She would have been less carefree, and more concerned with her nakedness. Much as you and I would be if we knew how naked we really are.

You see – her stance, her attitude reflected what so many of us think about ourselves. We are comfortable in the conceit that once we have clothes on, nothing matters. Our “selves” – at least our bodies – are invisible. Unless we choose to expose our bodies, no one can see what we are like. What we choose to wear provides only a glimpse of the person underneath.

What we do not realize is that we really are naked. Our credit limit at Nordstrom or our eye for fashion means little to God. Regardless of how we try to disguise ourselves, He sees right through to the core of who we are. He sees the Truth of who we are. He sees the Reality of who we are. Moreover, He sees exactly what we need and He has provided it. His concern is for our nakedness in His presence, not for His ability to cover our nakedness and shame.

You know what is interesting? He is not repulsed by our nakedness. He does not hide Himself from us in our most embarrassing moments in life. When we’re exposed, He covers us.

I remember my son’s first efforts to dress himself when he was little. He knew he needed clothes and he knew where they were. His first appearance before Mom, fully dressed for the first time – all by himself – brought a chuckle. The intent was right, but so much else was not quite right. Colors. Buttons. Belt. Socks. Size. But all that mattered little. My wife scooped him into her arms and carried him back to his room for some much-needed assistance.

The Father does the same for us. God could be angry with our attempts to do it ourselves, but He is not. He is saddened at our efforts to always try to do it ourselves; He is compassionate in providing what we need, not just to cover our shame, but to remove it. And He is willing. Willing to remind us of our nakedness and our inability to cover ourselves. Willing to remind us He can dress us and that only He can take away our shame, not just cover it up. So let us put on Christ.

If she had only known. If she had only understood. Then, she would really experience a carefree insouciance, a care-less-ness born of the knowledge of God’s love, His mercy, His forgiveness.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Yes, I'm waiting

My brother-in-law is about to leave this world. He's been battling pancreatic cancer for almost three-and-a-half years. The battle is almost over.

He's 53. And married, with a four year old daughter. His wife has had to watch the slow and now sudden decline of the man she loves. Of a husband who used to run circles around her, so full of energy. He feels 90. Now, he has to use a walker and for help. It is very sad. It is heartbreaking.

My wife just returned from three weeks spent with them, helping and serving where she could. She had to come back before she wanted to. She wanted to stay, knowing that these last few days would be the hardest on his wife and daughter. Knowing she could help and wanting to. Wanting to show the deep love she has for her brother, his wife, and their daughter. Wanting God to show them Jesus. I know she wants to be back there now, doing what she can, being Christ to them.

I have wanted to ask him some questions, but he has been very antagonistic towards Christianity. And for some good reasons. He's gotten very angry, derisive, even verbally abusive towards my wife - his sister - when they have spoken about this in the past. I long to have a quiet conversation with him. But he does not have the energy, the strength that it would take to talk for extended periods of time. And I don't want him to waste his energy in anger.

God, have mercy on him. Make yourself real. Draw him to You. Sweep the detritus and the anger and the hurt out of the way. Brush it from the path before him so he can run to the foot of the cross and embrace it. Invade his space and let him know you love him and long for him. In that masterful Way of yours, leave him without defense and be his defender.

You see, my brother-in-law doesn't know if there is a God, but he wants there to be one. I'm not sure why, but I think it is because he wants to see justice done. I think he wants to know that some Where, some When, Someone will confront his Dad. But if he doesn't really know if there is a God, why? If there is, won't He judge everyone fairly? Me? My wife? My father-in-law? My brother-in-law? Doesn't he understand that this must be so? God is even-handed, just. But God is also merciful. Compassionate. Providing a Way when, and where, we cannot.

Something about...

Waiting. Expectantly. Cautiously. Patiently. Purposefully. Dreadfully.
Weighting the wait... A? B? C? NC? How quietly can you wait?
Windows weight. And filter. Is it Hamming? Cosine? Tukey? Your front door?
Why filter? Is it just too much to handle? Not inside our bandpass?
What do we filter? What is swept away and what remains?
Waiting the weight... will it lift? What will it leave? Will I see its path?

Even God filters. We cannot know what He knows; cannot see what He sees;
Cannot grasp what He holds in the palm of His hand. The Universe. The Quanta.
We cannot even grasp us. In the palm of His hand.
So we wait...
Expectantly. Cautiously. Patiently. Purposefully. But
I am a dreadful waiter, in spite of outward appearances.