Monthly Archives: February 2012

Room With A View

I was able to join Kevin in Arizona early this month for some R&R following a business event he attended.  We decided to not make too many plans and just do what seemed fun for that day.  On Friday we decided, rather offhandedly, to take the drive up to the Grand Canyon from Sedona through Flagstaff.  What a great decision this turned out to be!!

The Grand Canyon was one of the most breathtaking, audaciously gorgeous places I have ever visited.  I didn’t know what to expect and pictures simply do not do the Grand Canyon justice.  As we stood on the south rim looking across the canyon I was left speechless, yes speechless, with awe at how starkly beautify this wonder of the world is.  I can only imagine what it looks like at midnight when the stars are shining down from a clear sky.  You probably feel like you can reach up and pluck a star from the sky.

As I stood there speechless and having my mind blown by this wonder of the world I felt like God began to speak to me about holding life in the tension of both the Grand Canyon view as well as the microscopic view.  As I stood on the rim of the canyon I could see the entire expanse of the canyon and it is marvelous!  The colors, the shadows, the sounds and at time the absolute silence, the birds, the rocks and the various forms the rocks make.  It was stunning.  But, I was unable to really see the bottom of the canyon and I certainly couldn’t study what makes the canyon the canyon.  For that I needed to get to the bottom of the canyon floor and begin to take apart the canyon as it were.  I would need to gather sand, rocks, stones, plant life etc and examine them much closer with much more refined tools than my eyes.  That’s life.  You have to keep both views in tension.  In one hand we hold the Grand Canyon view of life with its expansive beauty and majesty, its tapestry of sights, sounds, colors, tastes and smells.  In the other hand we hold the narrow, microscopic view of life by studying at a deeper level allowing us to more closely examine the reason why we feel what we feel, believe what we believe, value what we value, act like we act and react to situations like we do.

We can’t always live with the Grand Canyon perspective or we will miss the important details that make life deeply and intensely rich.  But  we also cannot only live with the microscopic, introspective perspective or we miss the larger than life ideas inspire us, make life sweet and allow us to not just dream but to reach for those dreams.  You must hold them both in your hands.

I only had my phone with me so the pictures aren’t that great and they obviously don’t do the Grand Canyon justice but here are a few from our visit:

Though I was speechless as I gazed upon this glorious example of God’s extravagant imagination I just had to share this little life lesson out loud with you…

 

Advertisements

Do You Want to Get Well?

The Gospel of John is my favorite of the four Gospels in the Bible primarily because John gives us so many accounts of how Jesus interacted with people.  In John’s Gospel we get to feel like we are walking along the dusty roads of Jerusalem with Jesus and his followers  We get the most up close and personal encounters Jesus had with people in John’s Gospel.

When I read the Bible it is often the things that are unsaid that intrigue me as much as what is said.  The story of Jesus’ encounter with a paralyzed man in John chapter 5 is an example of this.

I like how The Message records the encounter:

Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.

There are several reason why this encounter intrigues me:

  1. Jesus knew this was a place where sick people gathered hoping for healing as well as to beg for alms
  2. Knowing the history of the pool and knowing how long the man had been an invalid the question “Do you want to get well?” seems obvious
  3. It seems as if the man doesn’t even answer Jesus’ question but gives an excuse
  4. Jesus heals him anyway
  5. The man doesn’t even know who Jesus is because later on we read that he was asked who gave him permission to carry his mat on the Sabbath and he doesn’t know who healed him.  Jesus healed him anyway.

I’ve asked hundreds if not thousands of people this very question as I’ve counseled, pastored or simply befriended them: “Do you want to get well?”

Who doesn’t want to get well?

Because I have worked with hurting people for so many years I have read this encounter many times asking the Holy Spirit to help me understand it and to get what is not so obvious in the words.  And then one day I read it completely different.  A whole new perspective opened up to me.

I believe the paralyzed man (in most other translations it says he was paralyzed) actually did answer Jesus’ question with a “Yes I do want to get well” but he was saying I want to get well in the only way I know how to get well, I need someone to help me get into the pool when the angel stirs the water and since I don’t have that I can’t get well.  (Legend has it that an angel would periodically stir the waters of the pool and the first one in received healing).

In the man’s experience the only way to get healing was to get in that pool so he was answering “Yes, I want to get well I just don’t know how it’s going to happen because I can’t get in the pool.”

Back to Jesus’ original question.  After a bit of research I discovered that people like this man became dependent upon their family and friends to carry them to and from the pool.  This was also an area where the man could beg for alms.  Jesus wasn’t just asking him do you want to get well from your paralysis, he was asking a whole lot of other questions in that one question: “Do you want to be healed of your paralysis?” to be sure  but also “Do you want to stop relying on your friends and family to cart you around?”  “Do you want to become a productive member of society and earn a living rather than beg for alms?”  And lastly and most importantly “Do you want to get well my way?”  Because Jesus had a whole other ideas about healing.  Jesus had power to heal unlike anything this man had encountered before.  Jesus was about to heal way outside the box for this man.

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.”  Not the avenue of healing this man was expecting or looking for.

“Instantly the man was healed” is what John tells us.  How did he know he was healed?  I don’t know but I do know he responded with faith because he picked up his bedroll and walked off.  Hmm, not even a thank you recorded.  He just walked off.

I think this story has HUGE implications for those of us today regarding healing of any sort.  It seems like such an easy question to answer, “Do you want to get well?”  Of course I do!  Who doesn’t want to get well?

But do you want to get well the way Jesus’ has for you to get well?  Or are you stuck in your perspective of how you should get well?

  • Has a friend or relative been powerfully delivered of an addiction so you are now waiting for God to do that for you?
  • Has someone you know had God miraculously pay off a debt and now you are waiting for God to do it the exact same way for you?
  • Has someone been healed of depression and is now off antidepressants and you are wondering why you can’t get off them?
  • Do you read the stories of healing in the Bible and expect it to happen exactly like that for you?

You get the idea.  My point is that God DOES have healing for us but if we are fixated on the way we think healing should happen because that is how He did it for someone else we may miss the unique way He wants to heal us.  The Bible records so many ways that Jesus healed we cannot afford to get fixated on one way.  And since Jesus is the same today, He is still in the business of healing His way according to what you need.

Jesus created you and designed you.  Nobody knows you better than your loving Creator.  No one knows what you need  to heal and how you need to heal better than Jesus who loves you and accepts you 100%.

So I think Jesus was asking a much larger question: “Do you want to get well my way?  Will you consider a whole different plan for healing than the one way you think healing will come?”

Less obvious but likely true based on the research I did Jesus was also asking the man “In getting well are you willing to take responsibility for your life?  Because you can’t expect your friends to carry your burden any more and you can’t come here  begging for alms.  You are going to need to be a productive member of society.”

That’s a powerful question “Do you want to get well My way and make the changes necessary in order to have this healing?”

What is hurting in your life today?

Do you want to get well?

Do you want to get well God’s way?

Will you trust Him to know exactly how healing should come to you?  Will you trust Him to speak into your life exactly what you need to heal?

Will you embrace the changes that healing will bring into your life?

Just asking it out loud for you to ponder on the inside.

My Virtual Life…Is Taking Over My Life!

This morning I caved and joined Pinterest.  I’ve had the app on my phone for a couple of months now but have resisted joining because I knew it would suck me in the moment I did.

And I was correct!  I haven’t even created one board or pinned on interest but I have spent at least an hour surfing all my friend’s boards for ideas.  Yikes!!

This morning I took Kevin to the airport and since then I have been living virtually through my computer.

I am already an early riser but now I think I’m going to have to get up at 4 AM to get it all in.

After I read my bible and journal I check out what my family, friends and acquaintances are doing on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumbler
  • Blogs through my google reader
  • Instagram
  • E-newletters
  • Online groups I belong to
  • Online devotionals

And now Pinterest.

I may never have to leave my house and talk to actual people as I can have a whole virtual life and feel like I’ve connected with actual people.

On second thought, that will never work for an extreme extrovert such as myself.

I much prefer life out loud, up close and in person.

But I’m still gonna need to get up an hour early so I can check in on my virtual life and steal all your good ideas and thoughts for my life!