One Step Farther
One may wonder what background or experience I have in writing about our God. My wife helped me define my qualifications:
One of my greatest attributes is still to be a child at heart. I love to play, tease, and just enjoy being with children. Being able to come down to a childís level and look through their eyes. Jesus told us we must have a child like faith and trust to be able to find our Lord, to be able to accept Him, to understand what He would have us do.
An agricultural background. Raising crops and livestock gives one feelings and insights into many of Jesusí parables. For these parables were about farming practices of that day. The basic emotions are not that much different today. Oneís frustration of watching a favorite animal die while they are working with all of their might to save it. The joy of saving that animal which shouldnít have made it through the night, but somehow lived, and then watching it grow into a fine animal. Watching sadly as crops that had the perfect stand and were ripe for harvest are ruined by weather or pests. Amazed, as a crop you didnít even believe would be worth harvesting unexpectedly receives a life giving spring shower. This saving water produces the best crop you ever had. In farming and ranching the odds seem stacked against you. For it often feels like there are many more losses than joys one encounters. But despite this one develops a loving orneriness that brings a true farmer, a devoted rancher out at all hours, in inclement weather, with great risk, regardless of their profit or loss. A loving orneriness that often has them doing things without the knowledge of even why they are doing it. Except it is the right thing to do, the work must be done, with the deep seeded hope that with the Lordís help there is one more miracle left. Then applying this emotion, this concept to the Lordís work.
My next qualification is best described by a phrase my wife has, dumber than dirt. Jesus did not chose the elite bible scholars of the day, He fought with their humanistic legal ideas. Jesus chose as His disciples men that were mostly fishermen, with a tax collector and some other vocations thrown in. They were mostly uneducated, although one had some education and was made treasurer. His name was Judas. There was another well educated man Jesus called to be His apostle. His name was Paul and he was persecuting Christians until Christ opened his eyes to the truth. Jesus chose unlikely men so all would know that it was not manís intelligence or ability that brought them to the Lord, but the Holy Spirit opening their hearts to allow Jesus Christ to come in. No one has ever said I was the sharpest tack in the box. It should be very obvious to all that only the gift of the Holy Spirit has allowed me to meet and know my Savior. That it is only when I push my pride away that He is able to use me. To the extent one is humble is to the extent one is able to know Jesus Christ, to do His work.
That I am one of the wealthiest men in the world. Not in earthly riches, but because of a gift that is far more valuable. I have sinned much and for these sins God sent the most valuable possession the world has ever known, His own son Jesus Christ, to die as atonement for them. I am beneficiary to this priceless gift of grace which opens wide Heaven gates. No one could be any richer, but all can share in this priceless gift.
That I am a failure. One of the hardest lessons to learn is not to be part of this world. We try to make our earthly dreams into reality, our successes. Our human nature believes that if we do not attain our goals in some degree we are a failure. There are the lucky few who reach their goals, but find nothing there but emptiness. Sometimes it takes failure or emptiness to bring us to Jesus. To shatter our human concept of expecting God to answer our prayers right now, the way we want them answered. To dissolve the concept that we deserve earthly blessings and notoriety for the great Christian life we live. For Godís way is not manís way. We must accept our Masterís plan for us, bringing all our problems to Him, while patiently awaiting His answer. This answer may not always be to our liking. But our Savior will always provide us with the faith to carry on, will give us the ability to accomplish what He would have us do. This could be anything from being a humble leader of Christís flock, to one merely praising Him for all the blessings our Lord has given us. The next two chapters try to put in perspective the Lordís plan for us.
Intent and Reality