The Threat of the Ewok

While in Korea I would send gifts home.  Thank God for Amazon and the Disney Store.  It was easy to go to the website and to order and it would arrive in 5-8 days.  It just made it nice to know I could do it.  And the kids loved it.  They liked getting mail as much as I did.

Except one present.

I sent my son a stuffed animal, Wicket the Ewok.  I thought it looked awesome.  It was fluffy and furry and had a face and little arms and legs.  I thought it looked awesome.

It terrorizes my son.  He wants no part of it.  When you show it to him he freaks out.  He whines.  He hits it.  He just wants it to go away.  And he watches it as you put it away.  He wants to make sure he knows where it is, and is relieved not when it is hidden but it is far enough away that he feels safe from it.  I’ve tried to introduce it to him while we play, and it doesn’t change.

He has a Kermit that he loves and laughs at.  He has a Wooly Mammoth that he loves.  He has a fox that he holds as he goes to bed.

But the Ewok is a terror.

I feel bad that I got it for him.  I feel bad that it causes such fear in him.  It was meant for goodness and it only causes grief.

Sometimes I think its a testament to how much I just didn’t know my son at the time.  Being away had caused some lost knowledge, some gaps in my relational knowledge and I came back and all of my kids are older.  They’ve changed ever so much and I wasn’t quite aware that so much could change.  And they really haven’t.  Not really.  But I cannot shake the feeling that I missed something while I was away with my son.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about me getting to know my son.  A lot of time passed and he has changed the most, as most kids do their first year of life.  The fear is that I missed just enough of that forming knowledge in which I know him… but he also missed just enough of getting to know me. We play together and chase each other, and I push him in his stroller and carry him around… sometimes it doesn’t feel like playing.  It feels like making up for lost time.

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Running to Death

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

-Philippians 2:5-8

A decision was made on my behalf, before I was born, to be loved.  To be loved, in its fullest expression, meant that the Son agreed to die for me, on my behalf, for the glory of the Godhead as no one else could.

Paul is encouraging us to be the same, to have the same mind as Christ.  A worthy goal, to be sure, but how and why?

We live and move and have our being in such a way that promotes the goodness of the Gospel by serving each other.  Just as Christ served us before we knew it, we avail ourselves to be useful, never forgetting how deeply we are loved before we knew it.

And why?  We do this not just because we are loved, but because our salvation is due to such extravagance.  We are obedient because Christ was obedient, even unto death.  We work out our own salvation in “fear and trembling” because we know we are being asked to die daily to each other.  We die our death in such a way that promotes the goodness of the body and promotes the glory of the gospel.

This is a challenge to me, as I fight against my desire to self-promote in all areas that I can.  I fight against this when it comes to my wife, my kids, and my unit.  I want to self-promote.  I want to get what i think I deserve.  I want to take a nap.  I want to watch the TV shows I want to watch.

Even as Christ defeated death, so I now run to it, no longer afraid of the punishment I once faced.  Instead I die to myself and my wants in order to help my wife, my family, those I serve, to see the gospel clearly.  I run to death because I’m working out my salvation in fear and trembling, sure of the One who has called me to obedience.

The odds of glory and love

As I watch the events of the world around me, I am interested in the concept that God wants us to be happy.  Sometimes its phrased, “God wants me to happy.  If He created me this way, then it must be ok.  Why would God make me this way if He didn’t want me to be happy.”  But, then, how could a book be written by/for/about this deity who seems at odds with what a lot of the things that make us happy?

When I pray, I sometimes say the Lord’s Prayer.  I feel like I should say it more often… its a pretty good prayer (understatement).    I believe it was given to us, in part, so that we could understand the heart of God even as we ask for things.  Each line tells us something about the God who provides, and about us who ask.

Hallowed be Your name… Answer 122 to the Heidelberg says that this line is as much request as it is an invocatory.  By saying this, we are asking to “Help us really know You, to bless, worship, and praise You for all Your works and for all that shines forth from them: Your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.  And it means, help us to direct all our living – what we think, say, and do – so that Your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.”

We do not pray for our happiness, alone.  We should not ask just for blessings and for our safety as if God’s joy was based on our happiness.  Our life, our blessings and our struggles, are not about our happiness.  Its about knowing a God who has called us and loves us, and wants us to know Him and to make Him known… even in our struggles and in our blessings I do not speak out of both sides of my mouth when I praise Him and ask for His help in how He’s made me.  I struggle because I am at odds with His glory. I need to acknowledge His supremacy so that I can rely on Him in my struggles.  We invite danger when we think that God’s goodness as a father and as a god hinge on our happiness alone.

If prayer is a constancy of our life, then there should not be a moment of joy or pain in which we can make him known.  Yes, God knit me together in my mother’s womb, and he formed me innermost parts.  He knows me and knew my struggles before I was born.  He also saw my need for Him.  God did not make me dependent on myself.  He made me, us, that I, we, may pray “Hallowed be Your name…”

Pride is the enemy of hope

I came across this line, “Pride is the enemy of hope”, somewhere at some point.  I wrote it down and have been mulling it over for a bit now.  Is it true?

Hope is not an abstract way of thinking, setting your mind on a possible future or outcome that is favorable to you.  I mean, it is, but it can only be stunted by present calamities.  Hope towards, strain forward, for what?  In my theology, in my worldview, it hinges on a person.  Hope is a person.  Pride, self-made king, only stands in opposition to this One.

How can I look to a future of myself, the self-made man, and long for anything more than what he has given to me?  My future looking is limited by my death, something I cannot overcome but something I deserve.  I need the one who has Overcome.

Is this not what Paul is warning about in Chapter 8 of Romans?  We are not to hope and cling to the flesh, our own desires and plans.  Which is king, me and my frail body or the One who has overcome?

The Divine Act

“…grace is found in the divine act in eternity whereby the Father appoints the Son as Mediator and the Son voluntarily accepts the role.”

There is nothing that astounds me more at times as I stare at the world around, the beauty and the horror, and see the deep love of God in Christ.  For this, He agreed to die.  For this, He was asked to die.  To the hope of our eternity it was agreed, and not for own sake but for the glory of the One who is sovereign over all.  This thought grieves me, that I should be the problem.  My heart leaps at such a thought, such joy!  I am loved by a God so great.  And not me only, but those whom He has called and who answer his call.

This grace has found me and drives me on, as a husband, as a father, as a chaplain.