I once waited tables at a fancy-pants restaurant that boasted on its wine cellar full of dusty bottles the elite could swirl and sip for about the same price-tag as three months of rent for me. During a wine-tasting training session I was offered a $50 swig. I enjoyed wine and was excited to sample this luxury, which in the end tasted a lot like licking a tree. “Mmmm, oakey.” So take the following treatise on wine for what it’s worth, coming from a girl who’s had more boxed wine than bottled. But before you write me off as completely uncouth, I do believe what you put the wine in does matter. My Man taught me that.
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.
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.
Where does the ground (the earth, physical life) meet the sky (the heavens, spiritual life)? Is there a Big White Gap? Do we see the spiritual realm as some distant, far off place? Or is it here, now, all around us?
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…
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.
When we trUSt Jesus, the focus isn’t on U and I (going it alone), but in the U-n-I… UnIon… of the US in JesUS. Oh, and in case I haven’t lost you yet, DOG spelled backward is…
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.
Reminders of His truth to deliver us from our daily distractions. Reminders of His grace to comfort and sustain us. Reminders of His peace that will refresh us like a warm towel laid over our eyes—taking us to another world, relaxing and invigorating our senses, and refocusing our perspective… lighting our path for the day ahead.
My 3-year-old daughter adores art. Occasionally however, her love becomes a source of frustration when she has trouble executing the beauty she sees in her mind’s eye. Her cry begins with despair and turns to rage because “It’s not beautiful!” Her maturity in one area does not line up with her development in the other.