Monday, May 9, 2016

You're a good man, Charlie Brown

Do you remember the old Charlie Brown cartoons on TV? Although not necessarily "Christian" TV viewing, I so enjoyed watching them because Charles Schultz had a unique way of displaying his little cartoon creations.  Pigpen was the friend who just never "measured up" to the standard - always clouded in a fog of dust and grime, he probably wasn't the best smelling and it didn't matter where he was, dirt just managed to follow him.  Kind of like me sometimes - no matter where I go, dirt just seems to follow me and I have to admit, I kicked up a little dirt from time to time.  Lucy was sometimes seen as the overbearing, bossy, and a little bit of the "know it all" kind of friend.  Her demeanor was less than "godly" at times, with outbursts of anger, and you might even find her picking on one of the other characters in the cartoon. It was her way to be the kind of "obnoxious" friend other just tolerated.  I had to wonder how many times others simply "tolerated" me when I came across as the "'know it all" or just plain too bossy for my own good.  Schroeder was the notorious catcher on the group's baseball team, but most don't know he struggled with insecurity over his "lack of skill" as a player of the sport, yet he played a mean Beethoven.  In life, we sometimes hide behind things in hopes someone won't discover the many things we don't do very well at all. Lucy was in love with Schroeder, but he had little time for girls, choosing to play his classical music on his toy piano instead.  Schultz depicted real world issues which plague each and every one of us in life at one time or another. From being the one hard to love, to being the one who doesn't return love, his characters were rich in meaning.  One thing from the cartoon that always caught my attention - someone was always trying to get the attention of someone else - to get them to see things their way, hear them out, or just notice they existed.  Isn't it good to know when we talk to God, he hears us no matter what it is we are saying?


We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. And if we have no doubt that He hears our voices, we can be assured that He moves in response to our call.  (1 John 5:14-15 VOICE)

A couple of thoughts today:

1. Confidence isn't based on what we can do, but on what another has done for us.  We sometimes get this backward in life - thinking we can only stand assured when we are able to accomplish something.  Schroeder couldn't throw a ball - something he finally admitted one day as he was walking back to his position at home plate.  Lucy longed for the attention of her dream guy, but almost always was left hanging.  It isn't about our accomplishments - it is about Christ's.  Our confidence comes when we stand on his finished work, his grace, and his love.

2.  We might think we know what is best for our lives, but when we finally realize what is "best" is what fits God's plan for our lives, we suddenly experience a liberty so bold it makes us want to shout for joy.  It can take some time to get to the point we actually let go of our plans and begin to accept God has a better one for each of us.  We might have a struggle with our emotions, kind of like those characters in the Peanuts cartoon, up one day, down the other.  One day we feel we know what God wants, the next we are struggling to figure it all out.  Truth be told, this is what builds trust - not knowing the entirety of God's plan and allowing it to unfold before us in simple trust is something we all need to learn. 

3.  Movement is often not us moving toward something, but rather someone moving toward us in response to our call. There is something extraordinary that happens when we call out to God - he moves heaven and earth to get near enough for us to know he is in control!  No one seemed to listen to Charlie Brown as he tried to coach his little baseball team of misfits.  He never seemed to win a game, despite his best efforts.  Yet, he still coached with determined focus.  We might not think our prayers are being answered, but if we maintain our determined focus, we will see his movement all around us.  Just sayin!