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And God is happy

by davesandel on January 29th, 2021

Friday, January 29, 2021                     (today’s lectionary)

And God is happy

Remember the days past, when after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering.

And to what do I attribute this great contest? To Satan, and his desire for my soul? To God, and His desire for my soul? To my own inability to ignore the elephant in the room? Why is my lot in life, my providence suddenly a suffering?

Perhaps I don’t deserve this “enlightenment,” and shame bars my soul from entry into God’s grace and mercy. But the Hebrew writer continues …

You joined the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.

Slain missionary Jim Elliot wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Therefore do not throw away your confidence. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

Defining pain and suffering depends on me and my own state of mind. Today I feel an itch and can’t stand it, but yesterday the same itch disappeared when I paid it no attention. The serenity prayer needs praying every day, not just once. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

Trust in the Lord and do good. Take delight in the Lord. Commit your way to the Lord.

But with the Lord a thousand years are like a day, and there is such a cosmic difference between God’s “day” and mine. I don’t think God expects me to wait like he does, rather in his transcendence my Father seems to say, “Lose yourself in me and you’ll be fine.” In his intimacy my Savior says, “Come, let me hold your “owie,” and it will be all better.” Not that the wound disappears, but my pain is gone. And my Holy Spirit says, “Here, David, let me show you how.” I hope your Holy Spirit says the same.

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that is the smallest of all seeds on the earth, but once it is sown it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.

During my days of pain, suffering, waiting and impatience, the seed sprung up long ago and growing still, becomes the “largest of plants.” And what then?

Do you remember the joy deep in the heart of The Giving Tree? Author Shel Silverstein can’t quite decide who he identifies with, the tree or the man, so as I read his story, I think I’m both. But as I live in God’s kingdom, I am clearly the man. The tree gives the boy her apples to sell, her branches to build a house, and her trunk to make a boat. By the end the tree is a stump, but the boy, always impatient, always wanting more for himself and now a tired old man, needs nothing more than a quiet place to rest, so he sits on the stump of the tree.

And the tree is happy.

God waits for me, and waits for me, and waits for me, and waits for me. And one day, my ego played out, exhausted in my misplaced self-righteousness, I need nothing more than a quiet place to rest, so I sit with God.

And God is happy.

(Hebrews 10, Psalm 37, Matthew 11, Mark 4)

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