but even if…

Grace

Cat-Poop Pies or Golden Nuggets?

When I was a kid, we had a giant sandbox. It was more of a sand pile, actually – leftover builder’s grade sand with lots of big pebbles in it. Some sparkled in the sun, which made for some pretty good treasure hunting. My little brother and I spent hours prospecting for gold with plastic sifters, sometimes instead finding mysterious squishy presents left behind by our cats – felines are such givers.

We soon learned that these moldable clumps made excellent mud pies. I’m not sure if I realized we were actually making cat-poop pies, or whether I would have cared. I was a barefoot, outdoor-loving, creek-tromping six-year-old who’d just moved from the city to the country. As long as I wasn’t eating the pies, all ingredients were fair game.

With this backstory in mind, you might understand why this C.S. Lewis quote has always struck a chord with me:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I steer clear of making mud pies out of anything that could be found in our cat’s litter box. But I do have to ask myself – what kind of mud pies am I making these days? What worldly distractions or fleshly desires tempt me? And what should I do about it?

Transition

Why is it that I always try to make it about me? The verse doesn’t say, “The horse prepares itself,” it says, “the horse is prepared.” In other words, the Lord prepares us for battle…a battle He has already won, by the way. So if you’re like me, that leaves you feeling a little humph… asking the Lord, “So what exactly is it that you want from me again?”

Whaddaya Get the Guy Who’s Got the World?

Even better than a membership to the Jelly-of-the-Month Club, Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year. And I’ve let too many years go by in the spirit of Clark W. Griswold, not appreciating what I’ve been given, having already spent more than I can afford. Yes, Jesus probably already has everything He needs… but so do I. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Fight or Flight

Typically I drive around town without thinking too much about my speed. I follow the rhythms of traffic and obey the natural laws of the road (curves, hills, obstacles, terrain) that govern how fast I can safely travel. But occasionally, I’ll pass a police officer and glance down to see that my instinctive speed-o-meter is in direct violation of the signpost law. I’m surprised how reliably this triggers an adrenaline release–heart races, stomach turns, fingers and toes go numb, breath shortens, antiperspirant fails. I’m actually experiencing this physiological response right now, just by thinking about it. Weird.

Nothing More to Want

Shall not want? Is this possible? In our culture? Flesh wants. It wants approval and food and decadence and material things and, and, and… a list a mile long. It has a lot of things it has no business wanting. But…

But That Is Not All…

Jesus, the worthy Lamb, was made like us “in every way.” He gets how hard it is to be human. He gets you. When you lose your temper, He understands. When you’re scared, He knows that emotion. When you’re tempted, He’s lived through that too. God could have sat on His throne and condemned us for not living up to His standards, but instead He went to great lengths to reach out to us, to know us, and to make Himself known more intimately than ever before. Jesus is our bridge over troubled waters—our ladder between this life and the next. He is the Alpha-Omega, A-Z, Root and Vine, Author and Word, Divine Warrior and Prince of Peace—King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Be-all and End-all.

Good Enough?

We needn’t think too much of ourselves, but neither too little. For we are His creations, and who are we to be discontent with what God has made? Or with the lives we’ve been given? He is in control and as we yield to Him, I believe we’ll know just when to say good enough. And not in a Stewart Smalley, “I’m good enough, smart enough,” focused on man’s approval kind of way, but instead because, doggone it… God likes me.

Survival of the Weakest (1 of 2)

And having surrendered everything but their will to live, the trio could hardly believe their eyes when they saw land in front of them… they were safe. Alive. This amazing, true story of survival may seem like nothing you’ve experienced… but haven’t you? Isn’t this the story of man? A great fall. Becoming lost. Facing adversity. Highs. Lows. Struggling to gain control of the uncontrollable. Ultimate weakness. Surrender. Faith. Rescue.