Sep 4, 2007

reviewing sabbath: aw, crackers

It's been said that familiarity breeds contempt.

It's my opinion that familiarity breeds unfamiliarity.

I found this to be true all throughout my Sabbatical... everything that I thought would trigger me into some kind of magical sweet spot with God seemed like old crackers in the pantry - you're looking for something substantial to eat but can't seem to find it, while all along there's this box of Saltines making some sort of statement right at your face.

"Not a chance," you say to it. "I'd rather eat some cheap Ramen Noodles, and that's not even what I'm looking for here."

And so the crackers nod your way as you close the cabinet, as if to say, "That's fine, but you'll be back."

I'm sure I've probably lost you by now.

Let me start over, then.

I'd hoped that these past 8 days would provide me with some sort of special insight into the heart of God, myself, my marriage, my sons, God's Church that I serve in/through, the world at large, and the grand scheme of eternity. Tall order, I know, and I think I've been around the block enough to know that I shouldn't expect all of that to happen... even if I did hope. After all, there is that great promise in the Bible from James 4:8, "Come near to God and He will come near to you."

It's actually a big deal.

I don't know how this is going to sound, but I have over this past year had a kind of blurry glimpse of "something" from God... "something" that is absolutely amazing, and big, and crazy, and out of my control, and... well, God sized.

And God is pretty big.
I say this with all kinds of cautious, holy fear because I don't want to even start to guess what it is that lies ahead. But I do know this... by the absurd grace of the Lord, I'm in an amazing church of people who seem to falling more in love with Jesus Christ and what it means to live out our faith in the everyday. Then there are these two young boys in my house whom I get to walk with and show what godly manhood means one baby step at a time. Doing life with me in all of this is my amazing bride, through whom I've understood more about the love Christ has for His Church.

Then there's God and me... me and God. Somehow ate He got me back in my later days of high school and saved me... and I've never been the same since.

The ground here is very rich, the pay is an undeserved blessing for such a task, and I have found amazing support from the religious community.

So who knows what's ahead?

And if it is indeed God-sized, how might I prepare for that?

Over the years I've had my share of big things through small people that have tried to wear me down. Then there's the regular stuff that comes in and out of life through phone calls, letters, and emails. Even this past week I experienced an unexpected helping of the "little foxes" that attempt to spoil the vineyard.

First I was angry about it, finding that I couldn't quite get on top of it all the first part of this whole week. "C'mon, God," I'd say in my prayers, "You know that I'm doing this for You so what's with all the stale crackers? Where's my meat and potato moment?"

Then I had a great realization... through a chat with my wife, then another with my oldest son, and one with my younger son, too.

I began to ask a different question.

"God," I humbly began, "is this opposition part of what you want to prepare me for? Is what is ahead so important than you want me to build some muscles for it now?"

Now that's a scary question.

More in the next post.

The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan. (Exodus 16:35)


tanner ridge said...

I really like Saltine Crackers in my Ramen Noodles. :)

(I'm not making a metaphor here so don't look for it(but it's OK if you see one))

Ed G. said...

looking forward to the next post...

Brian said...

Me, too.

Tam said...

I heard once this..."God will not give you a vision w/out the built in ability to accomplish it." Whatever it is that you feel He is showing you - he is indeed preparing you for now. I think that is so cool! Welcome back...