Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Than Water

This is so much more than water.

Over the span of several mornings I read the sixth chapter of the gospel of John.  In a nut shell, I find this chapter to be a dichotomy between what is perishable and what is eternal.  Jesus has compassion on thousands who've followed him to a remote place.  His desire is to feed them at the close of day.  His disciples could only find some meager bread and fish.  Jesus blesses it, distributes it and the meal for one person feeds thousands.  Its very cool.  Later in the chapter these same folks go looking for Jesus and find him across the lake.  He exposes their shallow desires to be fed again or do some other miraculous act that will capture their attention afresh.  They're just hungry again.  He conveys to them they need not what is perishable, but what is eternal, which is Christ himself.

I endeavored to listen for God's voice regarding this chapter in John.  Is there anything else I need to know these days about seeking what is eternal in Christ alone?  Earlier this week, I had an episode.  We're surviving by the graciousness of wonderful family members, but our independence and self determination is dramatically limited by not finding employment and having little money.  I tried to assist our son, Eli, by purchasing his parking permit for his academic year.  I didn't have all the information I needed to complete the application.  In addition, I had to transfer money from Anna's account to ours to complete the transaction.  This, in itself, frustrated me because we didn't have the sufficient funds on our own to do this.  I exploded!   I ranted and raved in the presence of my lovely, compassionate wife who, on occasion, has to put up with stuff like this.  Pray for her.

I was angry.  My anger was directed at two people, God and me.  I expressed frustration with myself for putting us into this predicament.  I then poured out my red faced venom and contempt for God before April and minutes later in the street in front of the house in the dark.  The next morning as I walked in the neighborhood for exercise I was sorry for the antics of the night before, but I wasn't sorry for expressing my frustration.  It was and remained real.  Later that morning from a place of calm and relative peace, I apologized to April and God.  She expressed her love for me.  I was grateful.  I then said sheepishly, "I hope God still loves me."  She quickly assured me God loves me, and then affirmed me by saying, "God has to act for us."

Later that day, I read Psalm 18: 6-9a,

  In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.  
Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
  He bowed the heavens, and came down . . .

I reflected again on John 6.  Jesus cared about the physical hunger of those who followed him, and he provided the perishable.  We, these days, need the perishable.  Psalm 18 fed me.  We've cried out to the Lord.  He's heard us.  I believed afresh he will bow the heavens and come down.  Cool, but John 6 conveys much more.  Jesus said to them, “I
am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and
whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6: 35).
What is perishable will perish.  Money is spent.  Cars wear out.  Houses deteriorate.  What is eternal is different.  My frustration for the perishable not easily coming to us and permitting us to move forward with our plans is misguided.  My anger with God not providing for us how and when I believe we need it is, also, misguided and immature.  God IS providing for us.  Alleluia.  I need to think differently.

This, then, brings me to the gift our nephew, Larry (by the guiding hand of God, I believe) gave me yesterday via Facebook.  This commencement speech was passed along to him, and when he saw it, he thought of me.  That's funny.  I challenge you to watch this (no ice water needed).  For some of you, it will challenge your Christian sensibilities and puritanical view of language (he cusses), but watch it all the way through.  David Foster Wallace revived me to think differently at a time when I was thinking too much about myself, and too little about what is eternal.  Let me know what you think (that's an important word in this speech).

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