So, yesterday was the official "first day of summer," if you hadn't noticed. Summer has begun.
2 posts from June 2010
June 22, 2010
Though my hunch is, most of us have already jumped the gun and embarked on summer like intentions. The bar-b-que is out, we've gone to the lake once or twice, or enjoyed eating outside or working on a tan or got our tomatoes planted or maybe only (at least) begun to think about what we'd like to do with summer.
I, for one, am trying to get a bit of sabbath rest this summer. To help me, if not get the rest than at least think about sabbath a bit more than I do, I've been reading Dan Allender's wonderful book entitled (waddya know) "Sabbath." In it Dan recounts a conversation he overheard, two people "boasting" about the amount of email they get and how much work they have to do. A very common conversation, on I bet we've all been a part of. Dan then notes this:
"Boasting about work is a national pastime. The one who works harder, against greater odds, and with fewer resources to gain the greatest ground wins. We are proud that we shoulder such immense responsibility..."
Yikes. We say we don't like to be so busy, but the truth is, we are absolutely addicted to it. Just trying slowing down a little and you'll see. Try ignoring your cell phone for 24 hours. Don't use facebook. Don't check your texts or emails. You'll see.
Anyhow, we went to the beach for a few days to relax and drink in warmth. I was amazed at the amount of activity was going on in a place of "down time." Folks were surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, running on the beach, doing yoga in the park, paddle boarding, activity everywhere. Classic. Folks were spending their precious vacation sabbath going hard at it, just like they do the rest of the year. Intense about vacation, how ironic is that?
It got me thinking about how much we feel our worth through what we do, what we accomplish. How we also derive a sense of security through frantic activity, by getting on top of things. And then God says, commands even, that we take a genuine sabbath, and we don't know how.
I, for one, want to find it. So I'm going to continue this wonderful book of Dan's, and stop blogging. Just wanted to throw the thought your way that work might be in the way (even play as work) and suggest a little summer sabbath.
June 03, 2010
I was thinking about the name of Jesus. How it means "God saves," or, "God is our deliverer, our salvation."
Which got me to thinking about the idea of God as Deliverer, as opposed to, say, the preferred idea of God as Preventer. It made me realize how much I want God to be my Preventer more than Deliverer, meaning, I want him to prevent bad things from happening in my life. Prevent means it never happens to me. Deliver means I am in deep trouble and need God to rescue me. I think we all prefer the notion of God as Preventer.
And yet, God is so much more often presented in the Bible as Deliverer. My goodness, just read the Psalms. "Arise, O Lord! Deliver me!" (3:7). "Deliver my life from the sword" (22:20). "For he will deliver the needy who cry out" (72:12). And just think about the history of God's people; it is one deliverance after another. Paul's life is as well, which causes him to say, "On him we have set our hope, that he will continue to deliver us" (2 Cor 1:10).
Not prevent. Deliver. It is a very different view of life with God.
Now, let me be quick to say that I believe God is also our Preventer. Scripture also presents him as our shield. And we have no idea all that he has shielded us from. Which is actually my point. You don't notice God as Preventer, or shield, because you don't know what was going to happen to you since God shielded you from it. All we experience is those things where we need God to rescue us, to be our Deliverer.
I think it would be helpful to come to terms with how much we'd all prefer God to be our Preventer. Because when we hold fast to this view, we experience a lot of turmoil with all those things that don't get prevented. Why did God...how come this...did I not.... You know how this works. Notice how when he doesn't prevent bad things from happening, it often throws us for a loop. We get shaken. We go to doubt, or some sort of self-accusation and blame. It causes a lot of distress.
But when we realize God is our Deliverer, it helps us not be thrown by the fact that we sometimes find ourselves thrown into the furnace. God has not abandoned us. We have not blown it. We understand God is far more Deliverer than Preventer, and we can then cry out with confidence "O God, deliver me" and wait with hopeful expectation that he will deliver.
Anyhow, the categories are beginning to prove helpful, so I thought I'd share them.
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