Archive for May, 2010

29 and Counting…

It was a Saturday, many May 23rds ago. Twenty-nine of them, in fact. Two young, idealistic kids, taking their vows in front of family and friends in a white colonial church in Stonington, CT.

I was 22, one year out of Vanderbilt. She was 21, her supersized UConn graduation scheduled for the next day (no, we didn’t attend!)

Looking back now, I’d have to say that we were basically clueless. I’m surprised her Dad didn’t duct tape me to a tree and tell me to “come back in five years when you’ve grown up some.”

No clear career direction. Very little money. Far loftier ideals than any kind of track record. Anyone could do the math and figure out that the timing wasn’t right.

The time is never right for the big decisions, is it? You’re never ready to have that first child. Maybe that move to a new area of greater opportunity really isn’t convenient right now. All the ducks aren’t fully lined up to start that new business.

But the calculus of some decisions includes forces both rational and primal. Sometimes, a thing must be done because…well, it must be done, even if all the “math” doesn’t seem to add up on the front end.

I remember wrestling with the decision about whether I should pursue getting engaged to Sandy. What is the will of God at a huge fork in the road like that? An older friend listened, and then asked me a simple question – “Well, do you WANT to marry her? One way God leads is through our desires.” Now desire alone can lead us into a world of trouble, but wholesome and healthy desires for a spouse or a family or ______ may overrule that drumbeat of the logical conclusion that “the timing just isn’t right.”

There were many rational pros – and cons – about pursuing such a commitment at that age. But primal forces were at work as well. Love does not always carry a calculator.

The timing is rarely right. Or wrong. The pieces may not all seem to be in place. No-one is coming to you with a 100% money-back guarantee; no major decision involves total certainty and no risk. Sometimes, like C.S. Lewis as an adult, you have to face down your fear of the water by simply diving in and swimming.

Twenty-nine May 23rds ago, we joined hands and dove in. [I just read this to my wife. She added – “we’re still coming up for air!”] Yes, anyone could have presented an alternate timeline, and with good reason. But primal forces were at work, and we have no regrets. We’re gladly swimming.

What primal forces are at work in you, urging you to the water’s edge?


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God and Abundance

When you think of God, do you think of bounty, liberality, generosity, grace, and kindness?

If not, then here is a verse you need (I certainly need it!):

Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

Wow. That sounds a lot like Someone I could…well, be at ease with.

But I fear that we often think of God in these terms: But You, Lord, are mean, and perpetually harsh, and stingy as all get out in light of my many needs.

We call that slander in the courtroom, and we should call it such in the judgment seat of our minds.

In fact, we often look around us, just at the basic gifts of life, and somehow fail to recognize what a constant testimony they are to a Creator who is amazingly generous, even to those who ignore or despise Him. 

Of course, this is hardly an isolated verse. Just in Psalm 86 alone, we see these phrases: “Be gracious to me…” “Make glad the soul of Your servant…” “Give ear to my prayer…for You will answer me.” “You are great and do wondrous deeds…” “Your lovingkindness toward me is great…” “You are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth…”

Seems to me that those who seek God find Him to be exceedingly abundant. This stingy being that occupies our imagination?

To paraphrase Wesley in The Princess Bride, “I don’t think he exists!”


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