Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

My friend Gayle and I were talking on the phone last night, and she said a couple of things not to be forgotten. We had prayed about a conversation she was going to have, and it went better than either of us would have imagined. She said that it didn't feel like she really did anything.

That's right. When we do it right - God working with us - it never feels like we really did it, because we didn't. We have to get our jollies not from having done something big, but from having received something worthwhile, something way better than we can accomplish - getting used to the idea that what we can accomplish ourselves really isn't worth doing anyway, even if it impresses men.

"I am Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

That eventually led to her next point: "All the stupid things we do are because we're trying to get out of something or trying to make something happen." I immediately knew that this is true.

In Psalms 14 and 53 it is written (two places, so we get a second chance to see it), "The fool has said in his heart that there is no God." So I realized that in some way these must be equivalent, but how was not yet clear.

Of course it's true that sometimes we should make something happen, and there are things we should try to get out of. That in itself may be fine, but it remains that when we're being fools, one of these or both is always present.

As I think about this, we're so anxious to make things happen because we figure that God won't, or because we feel like we have no meaning unless we move and shake the world. But why think that way unless we think the world is all there is? Isn't it enough if we move and shake the heart of God? And that we do if we listen to Him and learn His ways, if He gets to move and shake our hearts, so that He can listen to us (Luke 10:25-42).

And why are we so anxious to get out of things? As Psalm 46 rightly says, God is an ever-present help in tight places, and once we've experienced that, we begin to realize that tight places are not as bad as God not being around. Another thing I've seen in myself and others is pride in the chance to show off, to be seen as a demerdeur, as the French say. "To God the Lord belong escapes from death," as it is written, but we enjoy taking that glory to ourselves. Why so, except that we're convinced God has no glory to give us Himself?

As in mathematics, so in all of life. Seeing the equivalence in apparently different things really gives understanding and changes our thinking. And since as the proverb says, "As a man thinks in his heart so he is," I can expect such a change in thinking to change me, and thus how I act. So we'll see in time to come how well I connect these dots and wise up.

I would like to grow up before I grow old. Next Thursday May 11 my boys will be reminding me that I have attained 55, the double nickel, by having me order from the Senior Menu at Denny's. So if I want to win that race, I'd better get moving - or, rather, sitting (Luke 10:38-42)!

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