The dog is gnawing his bone, snorting and snuffling. I am curled on the couch at the end of a long day. The furnace fan shuts off. The house is quiet. I am tired. My throat is scratchy. I feel like I am coming down with a cold.
I think of you – your life, your sorrows and burdens. I wonder what you had to deal with today, and if you are at peace. When I write, I want more than anything that what I say is true, is real. This means that I want to be trued, made straight, conformed to Truth. I don’t mean that what I write has to be perfect or factually correct (though I want to do my best on that score). I just want it to be aligned with a larger true Reality I know as God. I want what I write to have integrity in that sense.
Do I have a Word for you? Is there a Word from on high for us this evening?
The dog rests his muzzle against my foot, then plops down beside me. He sighs. Then we grow silent and still. I stop grasping for words and thoughts. I wait.
“Tell them that I love them.”
Oh rats. This fills me with a kind of frustration and sadness. The phrase God loves you has become so clichéd. I could just as well write, You are in good hands with Allstate. Ok I will try anyway. Do you get that, really know, that the Creator and Sustainer of the deepest Truth and Reality loves and cares about you? Do I?
Then: “Stop living your life as though I did not exist. Stop behaving as if I am not real.”
Ah, here is the being true part. Does your life, as you live it, reflect your prayer, as you pray it? How about today, Loretta, and this weary stressed out self you are bringing to God? How much of what you did and said and thought and felt denied the reality of Christ and cut you off from the source of life and strength?
I grin, recalling something that came to me a few weeks ago while I was praying with John 14: 1-9. In this passage Jesus tells his disciples not to worry, but to trust in God and in himself. He tells them in his Father’s house there are many rooms, and he wouldn’t be telling them this, if it wasn’t true. He promises that he is going to his Father’s house and will prepare a place for them. And he will come back and take them with him to his Father. Then he says that they know the way to where he is going.
But Thomas responds, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Then Philip pipes up with, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
And Jesus, shaking his head, maybe even rolling his eyes, says, “Philip, have I been with you this long and you still do not understand?”
Good grief – how many miracles, healings, parables, and sermons on the mount is it going to take?
As I pondered this text, what I heard was, “Quit acting like you are confused. You know the Father. You know me.”
I laughed out loud. It was a call to grow up, to maturity. Stop the confusion act, sweetie. Get congruent. Be true. Line up what you believe and know in your heart with how you live your life. Stop fussing around worrying and fretting like you do not know me and do not have a home on high. Have I been with you this long and you still do not get it?
It makes me sad, carrying on like Jesus is not here, like God didn’t love us so much that he died and rose for us. Me – like some self indulgent, disingenuous little twit saying with Philip, “Just show us the Father, then we will all believe. Meanwhile we’ll put our trust in Allstate.”
Oh, long suffering Savior, have mercy on us sinners, one and all.
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