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Saturday, August 6, 2016

The same, but not the same

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."  (Heraclitus)  Ponder that one for a moment or two and you will likely see the wisdom in these words.  We often think the things we are going into (or through) are just like they were the last time we went into (or through) them.  Sometimes when you actually take the time to look closer you see what once was is now different - including you!  It might come as a shock to some, but "the same" is never really "the same" in life.  There is always going to be some type of difference - even when it comes to the stuff we think we have already learned!

Forever, O Eternal One, Your word stands in heaven, firm and resolute.  Your faithfulness endures to every generation; You founded the earth, and it remains.  (Psalm 119:89-90 VOICE)


There is something which never differs or changes from what we could call "time past" to all of  time into eternity - God's faithfulness.  Charles Stanley said, "Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They'll stay faithful as long as it's safe and doesn't involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going."  This also is a true statement worthy of consideration.  WE define faithfulness is so many different ways - but most often it comes with a misguided belief that faithfulness is revealed by everything being exactly the same each and every time we see or face it.

As Stanley says, faithfulness involves risk taking, the potential of rejection, and even a little criticism from others on occasion.  They don't understand or comprehend the magnitude of the actions we are taking based upon faith, nor do they fully grasp the idea that faithfulness on our part is really only possible because of faithfulness on God's part.  Our commitment to walk according to the truth revealed in God's word is only possible because of his faithfulness to us in and through that Word being revealed in us by his power and through his grace.

I agree with Stanley - safety isn't defined by everything being the same.  I think it is bolstered by knowing there is someone faithful standing behind each and every action we take.  Every step has the potential to help us see something we didn't see before, or to realize we have become something different than what we once were.  We may not realize it, but when we take the first look into the mirror of God's word, we see one image.  In returning to his word again, we might just see a different image.  His word didn't change - but what we perceived the next time around did!

I once heard it said that without darkness nothing is birthed, and without light nothing ever flowers or blooms.  No darkness is ever the same; no blossoming of new growth is quite like the last.  All are unique - yet they stem from something which appears the same.  Darkness gives way to light - that seems the same at first, but with each new dawn there is the potential of a new day and all it holds.  Buds on a plant promise the evidence of beauty and a fragrance unique to the plant from which it stems.  No two buds are the same - no fragrance quite identical.

We need the darkness to bring an appreciation of the light.  We need attachment to the place from which life comes forth in order to reveal the beauty of our growth in the fullest way. We might resist the darkness because it seems different than what we have been in before - but the potential of what comes out of that darkness as light begins to dawn is unique to the period of darkness we have endured.  Just sayin!