Thursday, July 29, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A Picture of the Faithfulness of God
A full rainbow in Whitecourt, Alberta.
A full rainbow in Whitecourt, Alberta.
"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the everlasting covenant between me and the earth. . . . Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13, 16.
Every crisis in your life can make you stronger.
I believe this happens by increasing our capacity for trusting God. True strength must come from God. Recently we experienced a crisis in which we had very little control, but
Friday, July 16, 2010
Gollumized or Eutacised?
Gollum was a Hobbit. But something happened to him. Hobbits are as a rule good-natured folk, hospitable and delighted in parties and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted. They had red cheeks, bright eyes and thick curly brown hair on feet and head. When Bilbo met him he was anything but a Hobbit; rather a monster: thin, black-skinned, flatfooted, with sparse hair, long thin hands and bulging eyes. In Tolkien's words, "he was a loathsome little creature."
What happened to bring about such a dramatic transformation? He set his affection on the Ring. And the One Ring, the Great Ring, the Ruling Ring of power overtook him and disfigured him. He called it his "precious." He worshiped it and it eventually consumed him and ultimately destroyed him.
Gollum's debauched life is a vivid picture of what happens when I set my heart on anything in this world. His disordered love did him in. Because of his obsession with the ring, Gollum was no longer what he was supposed to be. The same distortion happens in my life every time I set my heart on the things of this life rather than Jesus Christ. Augustine said disordered love leads to a disordered life. I am in peril of becoming "gollumized" (David Naugle's word in Reordered love, Reordered Lives).
Eustace Clarence Scrubb was Edmund and Lucy's disagreeable nine-year-old cousin (in C. S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader). Eustace was a disgruntled, self-centered little lad. The cousins found themselves transported to the land of Narnia as participants in a rescue mission aboard the ship, Dawn Treader. At one stop on an island, Eustace wanders off alone and stumbles into the lair of a fire-breathing dragon. To his delight the dragon was not only dead but had also left his entire fortune of gold and precious jewels to him. He drifts off to sleep but when he awakens he realizes that something shocking had occurred during his nap: his true inner state had manifested itself in his outward appearance. He had been transformed into an ugly, scaly monster.
Eustace was devastated. He wanted desperately to become "undragoned" and become human again. He pleaded for help but no one was able to help - until the great Lion appeared to him. Aslan led him to a mountain pool and told him to wash in it. But first he must remove his leathery skin for the waters to work their magic. Eustace tries but eventually Aslan has to tear his thick scales off with his sharp claws and this is excruciatingly painful. Then the Lion places Eustace in the pool, bathes him and clothes him in a new suit.
I am prone to chase after the stuff of this world, but by God's grace I have been "eustacised" (my word). My cure from the distortion of disordered loves begins when "God as the Great Physician applies the medicine of the cross to the disease of my sin and nurses me through the love of the Holy Spirit into good health according to the prescriptions of His word." (Naugle, 147). His love, through the cross of Christ, transforms my love and reorders my life. I become a worshiper rather than an idolater.
Ideas for this refection comes from my reading of David K. Naugle's Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
I have experienced a "eucatastrophe." J. R. R. Tolkien coined this word in his essay, "On Fairy-Stories." He used the word to describe a "good catastrophe" of a "sudden and miraculous grace." For me the word describes a "blessed disaster." It is an event in my life that, though painful, is intended to bring about a glorious transformation.
Jonah experienced a eucatastrophe when he found himself on a ship in a violent storm, thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish (Jonah 1). God sent a blessed disaster to expose the prophet's pride and prejudice.
In my case, three years ago God removed from me the thing in which I had placed all my worth and identity: Ministry. In the process of the violent storm God exposed the ugly sins of pride and selfishness, lust and covetousness in my heart. But for His "sudden and miraculous grace" I would have given up everything important in my life to hold onto my idol of ministry. In His mercy, God removed the blinders of pride from my heart and revealed that my identity was based on what I did rather than what he has done for me.
I haven't arrived yet. The journey of glorious change is not finished. And it won't be done until I have reached Home with my Saviour. I still have strongholds of pride and lust in my life. And God continues to bring eucatastrophes into my life. He will faithfully strip away every false value from my heart until I find His Son, Jesus Christ, to be my one and only true treasure. And so I thank God for the "blessed disasters" in my life.