Archive for April, 2012

The Maker of all Mankind

Today I went to church with some friends who are soon leaving for the mission field.  The service hadn’t begun yet, so I let my mind wander like the restless child who isn’t yet required to sit still and pay attention.  Somehow I landed on the topic of the fear of man.  It may not be as random as it sounds since I have been listening to the story of Nelson Mandela.  I have a lot of respect for his ability to resist intimidation.  It’s not an easy thing to do, and I have often, especially in the past, battled an unhealthy need for approval.

I was not pondering these thoughts with any great intensity, but God is a gifted opportunist and decided to pose a question.  He said, “Do you know that I make people?”  It may seem like an obvious question, but if you have ever heard God ask an “obvious” question you know as well as I do that they can have some rather unexpected results.

In the recent months God has been growing my love for Him as Creator.  I have long had a deep sense of awe regarding nature and science, but He has been turning my Bunsen burner into a flamethrower.  The poetry of creation in the book of Job has simply come alive.  The eternity of God, knowing Him as the Ancient of Days, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega, the God who was and is and is to come … well, you could lose me into the ether for three days.

But the connection of the fear of man and God making man was one that I had not seen like this before.  Many times people have a way of filling up the frame and we can’t see anything else.  It seemed that God stretched the frame and showed me there is something more to the picture. I realized that I have an audience with the Maker of any person standing in front of me.  Think of that.  I don’t care who it is or whether they love or hate you, they are a created being.  They are as dependant on the creative genius of God as you are.  And you have an invitation to commune with that same God.  The Inventor.  The Mastermind.  The Maker of all Mankind.  You have a relationship with Him.  In light of that incredible dynamic, the person and their intimidation factor seem to shrink from the super-human status we give them.  The size of the invention pales in comparison to that of the inventor.

In the past I had always looked at the power of God or His love or even pleasing Him over pleasing people as primary ways of overcoming the fear of man.  I had never thought of the fact that my access to the Creator loomed like a giant presence over the shoulder of every person I talk to.  That’s something to think about!

I know that people can (and do) still cause us very real pain and will do it regardless of what we know about them.  But our ability to stand strong is still vitally important and so is our dignity as well.  And while this perspective may not be the paramount bulwark against intimidation, it is still worth pondering.  It has been soaking into my spirit like a gentle rain on the soil, and perhaps there are one or two others out there who will find great joy in this facet of their connection to the Maker of all Mankind.

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Purposeful Randomness

Some evenings I go for a walk at a nearby pond where I am certain to see a Mallard and a Coot or too, and sometimes a Cormorant or some chubby little blue-billed ducks that are as round as they are long.

Tonight I went a bit later than usual, so I was still walking as the sun was setting.  This provided a delightful treat, one in which I will be indulging again!  It’s at that time when everyone settles in to roost and I caught the lanky Blue Herons and stuffy Night Herons coming in for the night too.

What I wasn’t expecting was the aerial gymnastics show.

For with the setting of the sun comes the insects.  And with the insects comes the acrobats.

These tiny aerial geniuses would have put any Blue Angels show to shame.  They dipped and dived, swooped and wheeled, and with daring speed skimmed the surface of the water before flashing into the sky again.  If you didn’t know what they were doing, you’d think they had an electrical short in their GPS.  They provided quite a startling contrast to the placid and predictable energy of the Mallards and Coots.

I was enthralled.

And as I was watching (while trying not to get dizzy) my thoughts turned from the birds to our lives.  Someone who didn’t know what the birds eat would have no idea that there was purpose to their randomness.  Have you ever tried to swat a fly?  One second it’s up by your head and the next by your elbow, and then behind you, so that within two minutes you have done circles around yourself and still haven’t gotten the blasted thing.  Can you imagine making a living out of catching the little buggers?  Yet that’s exactly what these birds were made to do.  There is purpose in their random flight.  There is a reason why they don’t fly in a straight line for more than two seconds.  This is how God has designed them because He, with exquisite skill, has matched them to their prey.

How often do our lives feel like that?  For some people, they are forever darting and diving above the heads of the Mallards.  You, like the acrobats, have lived a life of sudden turns and flashing speed, and at times, those who don’t know your design have wondered if you have an electrical short in your brain.  Have you considered the possibility that God has matched you to the purpose He has called you to live?  That, in spite of other people’s opinions and misperceptions, there is a reason why you can turn on a dime and leave some change?

Maybe there are others who feel like those crazy flights are seasons in your life, when God forces you from the placid world of the Mallard to the random world of catching flies.  If this is where you are, what if you were to ask Him for the purpose?  What is the reason for the randomness?  What have you not seen?  What is the “catch” you are after?

There is incredible beauty, skill, and grace in the flights of these birds He loves.  I feel that they are not just feeding themselves, but thrilling in the chase.  And frankly, I don’t think they care too much about whether or not I know what they are doing.  How much more could it be for you?

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