Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Risk: part 1

Been reading through John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life". It's a bit of a gut wrenching trek into the depths of my own failures. So, if you're looking for that kind of soul-searing conviction, I recommend giving it a read. In all reality, it's pretty great. In particular, today I was reading about taking risks.

Piper gives some examples of the people of God who took risks for the glory of God. People like Esther, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and so on. People who stepped up and delivered faith when faced with uncertain outcomes. Piper makes an interesting statement about such acts, saying that in most examples of Godly risk-taking, that there is no special revelation given to the "hero", that the decision had to be based on "sanctified wisdom". This statement led me to this thought:

We, as Christians, are blessed with the endowment of the Holy Spirit. We have the counsel of God made evident through the witness of the Spirit, with the Law and Will of God etched on our regenerate heart. Thus, we do not face the risky decisions of this life unarmed. We are able to make calculated risks for the advancement of the Kingdom. We are not called to be the bringers of victory or the cause of defeat, we are called to be the obedient servants. We are co-laborers, adopted sons, and agents of an eternal kingdom.

As we face daily risks, so very minor in our own country, anything but minor for our brothers around the world, we have a trustworthy God who has given us exactly what we need to live a life of risk. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Better than hugs

My son gives the greatest hugs on the planet. There is something sweet and fantastic about hugging my daughter, and those moments are intimately, deeply nourishing to my soul. But my son's hugs? They are on a whole other level. He pours his whole self into these hugs, he melts into your arms. It is a moment frozen in a love that is as near to perfect as can be found this side of Heaven. 

Giving my children their bedtime hugs is one of the things I miss most when I'm at work. I long for days when I get to be there, every night, wrapped in their arms. It is with this longing in my heart that I was broken tonight. Finding a rare moment of downtime, and able to pick up one of my books and read, I turned the pages of Piper's "Don't waste your life" and I read as the author works through explanations of Paul's deeply passionate edifications that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain. As Piper worked through what does it mean "to die is gain", he worked through those things in our life that we tend to treasure, and those things that we probably know hold a higher degree of importance in our daily pursuits than they should. But then, he reminds us that the underlying reality must be true in our lives that for our dying to be of gain, for Christ to be magnified above all else in our death, we must grasp that death is far better than life here. 

That statement generally gets a strong "hurrah!" from me. And tonight it did as well, until I read on as Piper listed out the things that we must be able to gladly proclaim that death would be better than... better than friends, better than love, better than professional success... better than hugging your kids.

Even as I type this out now, I have to pause... better than hugging my kids? The thought rings out into two streams in my head:
1) the beauty and reality of Christ, His atoning death upon the cross. The propitiation of my debt, and fulfillment of my random completed by his life, death, resurrection, and ascension is so monumentally glorious that I am called into a life that says: if today I die, I will rejoice in the glory of an eternity spent in the loving presence of my Lord. And that that is worth immeasurably more than the lifetime of hugs from my children. 

2) the beauty and unashamed, unbridled love that my son embraces with his hugs is merely a foretaste of the totality and perfection of the unconditional love that God has for His people, as displayed through the sacrifice of His Son. In those moments of deep satisfaction as I hug my kids, I am getting a shadow of the reality of an eternal embrace of my Heavenly Father, embracing His adopted Son. In these hugs, I should taste and see the wonderful glory of God's love for His children.