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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Got any "dust"?

Do you know what a crisis is?  It is the stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined. Some of us call this a place of "transition" - movement within this point of crisis determines if the "transition" will be good or not as pleasant as we'd hoped for.  By definition, it is a place of danger and instability.  Anytime you have a transition point, there is an opportunity for instability.  For example, when you transition from carpet to tile flooring in your path of walking, you have to be sure your foot does not slip on the tile.  It is a smoother surface, can be a little "slicker" than the carpet, and the combination of your shoe and the "slickness" of the tile can make for a mixture of additional "hazards" which may not be fully recognized.  Misstep and you could find yourself landing quite hard on that tile!  A crisis demands our attentiveness - in those brief moments between where we are and where we are headed lays a huge potential for us to "transition" either with grace or outright stumbling.


“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”  (John 3:19-21 MSG)


The crisis?  We seem to like the darkness!  It is natural for us to run to a place of comfort at the point of transition.  The little baby learning to take his first steps holds on with all his strength to the couch, armchair, and coffee table - whatever he has in his path which will support his weight and give him balance.  The point between chair to table seems insurmountable - just a little out of arm's reach.  We see it as such a small distance - one tiny step. The baby sees it as insurmountable.  He will reach out again and again - only to turn back to the couch or armchair to give him a sense of "stability" and "balance" again.  He struggles to take the tiny step - because he is unsure, doesn't know how to let go of what has been his past "stable" place, etc. Sound a little like us whenever God asks us to take even the tiniest of steps into the light? 

As Jesus said it - we seem to be uncomfortable in the light - the transition between being in charge of our own lives and that of releasing control to God is almost too much to fathom.  So, we run for the darkness because the light feels "too threatening" to us.  The second crisis?  We are creatures who make a practice of denial and illusion.  We deny our need for a Savior - because we don't see ourselves as sinners.  Denial and illusion go hand-in-hand.  The more we believe an illusion, the more we will deny the truth.  An illusion is anything which misleads by giving a false sense of reality.  I daresay we probably have a few illusions we have held onto as "truth" over the course of time!  The way illusions work is to keep the other person in the "dark" about the truth.  So, to deal with the illusions and eventually turn us away from their untruth, we need light!  

As long as I keep the blinds on my windows closed in the house, I don't see the dust on the bookshelves!  Once the brightness of the sun begins to stream through even the cracks of the blinds, the evidence of my need to do a little "house-cleaning" is certainly evident.  Living in the desert provides more than one opportunity a week to clean the house, for a lack of humidity allows a lot of dust to be stirred up!  In most homes around here, we deal with the dust by sealing our homes well against the dust.  Light betrays our shortcomings though - revealing that not every crack was sealed!  Some dust still made its way in.  Why?  We cannot shut out the world's effect on our lives!  We may try, but we simply will find something of its influence "creeping" inside despite every attempt to keep it out!  Light exposes this!

Now, as long as I am the only one in the home when I recognize the thick dust layer, I am not too concerned.  But...when you are a guest in my home and observe the same "lack of cleanliness", I get a little "shamed" by the truth!  It is how we are as humans - we don't like others to see our shortcomings.  We do everything we can to provide a "cleaned up front" so no one has to be aware of the "dustiness" within!  Jesus' answer to our crisis - more light!  In fact, he asks us to remove the blinds completely so light is free to expose what should not be allowed to remain.  The dust doesn't seem significant at first, but if you breathe it long enough, the health problems associated with it can greatly impact you!  The longer we just try to mask our need for a Savior and deny our sinful nature, the more our nature will beckon us to believe illusions and further deny our need.  Just sayin!