The Grace of Withholding

September 4, 2018

We are arrogant creatures, are we not?

When it comes right down to it, most of us tend to reasonably comply with the laws and regulations that fit our own understanding or thought processes, but scoff and disregard others that don’t make any sense to us. We think something is a good step if it makes sense to us. We tend to see someone’s actions as stupid if it doesn’t fit our frame of reference.

Most of the things that we determine are good or bad are based upon what we have reasoned are the right things. Even on hot-button issues in our society, much of our villainization of those who hold opposing views comes from the fact that, to us, our perspective is clearly superior.

Why are we so adamant?

Is it possible that we all have an inordinately high opinion of our own opinion?

I was reading a passage that started my mind swirling this morning. It’s found in Psalm 84:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalm 84.11-12)

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My fellow-laborers in this kingdom work,

I’m sure that most of you have heard about the tragic loss of one of our brothers who ended his life on this earth this past weekend. He was, by all accounts, a gifted, successful, and fruitful servant of our King. But he was also a man embattled with things that a good many—perhaps even most—of us face in our often lonely lives in full-time ministry.

I didn’t know the man and I am not trying to draw conclusions about his life or his death. But I understand how even a faithful child of God could find themselves at such a desperate place.

My last pastorate ended over eleven years ago soon after a diagnosis of a severe depression. I learned many difficult and painful lessons in that season. I learned that sometimes the intense and overwhelming feelings we can experience are so unbelieveably loud while the foundational truth that we know is very quiet. When what we know and what we feel are so greatly at odds, our whole being is in conflict. It is agonizing at best. Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t claim to be an expert in the potty training of little boys, but I have been involved in a few rounds of this process.

If you’ve never done so, I need you to… well, let’s just call it imagine.

A young parent has this bouncing, rough-and-tumble little tyke that they really feel like is old enough to begin the process. They start at bath time or when changing clothes and such by just placing the little guy on the throne.

You veterans know what is going to happen here.

The mommy says, “Come on, go potty in the big potty for mommy!”

And, despite evidence to the contrary in many ways, the little dude really does want to make mommy happy. He grunts a little—making a genuine effort, mind you. And then mommy sees the pale yellow stream and is stricken with the horrible realization that there is a trajectory problem here. He’s doing what was asked in a heart of joyful obedience.

But he’s peeing right through the gap under the toilet seat.

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