Monday, February 27, 2006

Thank you Father

I have a bad job. Well, the work I do is not that bad but the company I work for often leaves me drained and depressed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to be coddled at work, but it would be nice to be appreciated and treated with some amount of dignity from time to time. You'll just have to take my word for it that it isn't the greatest place to work, but being an uneducated man, my choices these days are few. As a Christian, it is a struggle for me as to how to deal with this situation. I find it so easy when mistreated to retaliate with poor work ethic. When pushed, you push back. After all, they are no better then I am, and I won't let them treat me like a dog. I'll show them. Not very Christ like is it? Now you see my dilemma. It also never accomplished anything, the more I push, the more they push, the more I push and so it goes. I came to the conclusion some time ago that God had put me in this situation to teach me humility. T he lesson I needed to learn was to always try to do the right thing in the face of adversity. To do my best at my job no matter how I was being treated. I needed to go home at night and be able to believe that no matter what the working conditions were at the plant, it wasn't my fault because I did what I was told and I did it to the best of my abilities. I believed that when I learned this lesson, that God would take me out of this situation and open up another opportunity in a more positive environment. One where I would be more free to do His work and life would be good. I have since learned the lesson of humility. Some days are still hard, some days I slip. But overall, I feel pretty good about who I am at work. God has given me some peace at work because I am also more aware of whose I am. I don't work hard for my company, I work hard for my God, because it's the right thing to do. It's what He would have me do. But a couple of weeks ago something new dawned on me. As I was thinking of all the things I would rather be doing with my life and all the work I would rather be doing for God,it hit me. Through all the complaining to God about how much I disliked my work situation, all the waiting for God to move me along to greener pastures and wondering about what I needed to do to get there...there was one thing I had never done. I had never once thanked God for my job. I never once thanked for the ability to provide my family with daily bread. I never thanked Him for the job that pays for our warm house, the cars we drive, the clothes on our backs. I'm sorry Father. I see now that you weren't just teaching me humility, you were teaching me to be grateful. Forgive me father, forgive me for being so ungrateful. Thank you for providing for myself and my family. I'm sorry I missed it for so long.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How and Why?

We live in an amazing time. I have seen and understand things that my parents would never have dreamed of. I can even program a VCR (for you younger readers, VCR’s are what we had to play movies with before DVD players). Take genetics, I don’t know all the ins and outs of genetics, but I have somewhat of an idea how genetics work. I understand how it is possible that my daughter can have my eyes and my nose (sorry baby), and how we are made up of DNA and how it is passed from generation to generation. Again, I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I understand how it works. There’s no magic in it anymore, or is there? You see, that’s what happens to me when I take something that is a mystery and come to understand how it works. It starts out as something magical and unbelievable, but then when I find out how it works, the magic is gone and I puff myself up a little bit and marvel at my intellectual prowess. But is the magic really in HOW something works or is it more in WHY something works? My daughter and my son have some of my physical and emotional features. How that works is really cool, but WHY that works, that’s magical. That we have a God that wants part of my father and mother to live on in me and part of me to live on in my son and daughter, that’s awesome. We have a God of details. When my children’s children ask what I looked like, my daughter will be able to say, “Well, he had brown eyes like mine, and a nose like mine and hair like Uncle Patrick’s.” So, who cares how it all works. Why it all works, that’s what I really want to know. It’s because God loves us, and He loves to show us in the details. Let’s take a 2000 year step back and apply this to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Again, I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I understand how it works. I am a sinner, God and sin cannot dwell together. The bible says that the wages of sin is death.(Romans 6:23) There is a price we pay for our sinfulness, we have separated ourselves from God with no way of our own to get back. God chose to not live without us and found another to pay our debt of sin, His son. Jesus took our sin upon himself so we could be blameless before our Father. That’s how it works in a nutshell. But the mystery and the magic are in the WHY. Why would He do that for me? When I have freely chosen to become what he despises, He would choose to do this for me. And that is exactly what He did, He did it for me. God didn’t send Jesus to die for us. He sent Jesus to die for YOU. He didn’t say, “Well, individually they aren’t really worth it, but collectively maybe.” Jesus tells us how the shepherd will leave the flock to search for the one lost sheep (Luke 15:4) and that He is the good shepherd that lays his life down for His sheep.(John 10:11) The sacrifice of Jesus was personal to you and to me, God loves us that much. Why, not because of what I’ve done, that’s for sure. I don’t know why. The question was asked by David long before Jesus was even born, “what is man that you are mindful of him”.(Psalm 8:4) Today I ask the question, tomorrow my children will. God loves us is the only answer. In the end, the how is humbling but the why is amazing.