Friday, February 25, 2005



I was walking the beach one day in the late autumn of 2003, thinking about how I go about living. It seems to be a lot of work for me just to get through a day. Too much thinking, it seemed to me then, and I thought there ought to be a simpler way. One that would leave me with more energy for getting on with other things.

The idea I had was that God could handle some of my overhead. Much of it is worry, of the kind that leads people to hold up the roofs of their cars as they drive through tunnels. I look at what's happening and extrapolate from that into the future, in order to predict what will happen and what I'll need to defend against. I thought that if God were for me, it wouldn't really matter what came against me.

Well, I was right. God took good care of me... until I started getting scared of what he was doing. I could predict that as well as I could predict anything else, and the path led in a direction I wasn't sure I wanted.

Now, I was ready for oblivion because of my guidance. Self-protective to a real fault, life so limited it was barely living, and it was getting worse. That's why I turned back to God; I knew something needed to change.

I wonder why these things happen. Why didn't I just give up and pull the plug on life? I felt as if my grip on life were tenuous. It wouldn't have taken much to simply let go and drop into whatever happened. At the time I figured the chance that God would actually do something was slight, and I also had very little to lose, so why not try an experiment?

I'm good at experimentation. The cheaper the experiment the more likely I am to try it, and any experiment involving myself is usually cheap. I'm a good test subject, and I'm available. So, I asked God for help and told him to do whatever it took.

That was a year and a half ago. I know God a lot better now. I'm not sure if, knowing then what I know now, I'd have tried that nutty experiment. Yeow. Not only is God real, but he cares, and he does what he says he will do. Ask for something, and then look out. God answers prayer the way Jesus answers questions: He looks deeply and provides what is needed, not necessarily what is requested.

A dead man has few options. Now that God has put some of his life into me, I have more life with which to argue and disagree. I ask for anything, get it, and then, very like the Israelites start complaining about the direction.
"Yah, I need a new life, but I want it to be like the old one. Like that, but different."
This is sort of like buying a new car and then chaining it to a big rock so that it'll act like your old clunker.

But, I tell you, God is radical! When he talks about being born again, he means it! The Holy Spirit moves in, and a new broom sweeps clean. Out with the old, in with the new. I know God knows best, but oh, my, is it confusing to try to keep up with the changes.

I don't really need to keep up with the changes. Some days this actually works pretty well. I just realize I'm a child crossing a very busy street, and I reach up to hold onto my Father's hand as we cross. I just look straight ahead. If I look around and see all the cars and trucks heading toward us I get scared. Problems aplenty, out there in the real world, and my prediction software just goes crazy tracking everything. No wonder I'm exhausted at the end of the day.

There's too damned much overhead. I'm trying to do things I was never designed to do, but the burden has the benefit of being familiar. Very familiar. I feel naked without it.

Yet that's what a new birth is. We come into this world clothed only in skin, new, raw and tender. God's rain of love keeps the new spiritual skin from cracking and falling away... if I allow that rain to touch me.

"...God is radical. When He talks about being born again, He means it."

Amen, Amen, Amen, my friend.
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