Posts Tagged ‘daffodils

14
May
13

Death, sorrow, baby einstein, sundresses and hope

In the midst of reading about an abortion doctor crushing innocent babies because their parents decided that the babies were an inconvenience, and thinking about lots of personal and family related problems that require much attention, prayers and miracles, I was sitting on a public bus going through the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark with tears in my eyes. Tears of pain. Tears of anger. Tears of frustration. But also tears of hope. My iPod was playing a song that seemed so out of touch with what I was thinking about, Steven Curtis Chapman’s Our God Is In Control from his majestic album, Beauty Will Rise. God is in control? Really?

As I sat there and pondered this, a beautiful 5-year old girl smiled at me. I had noticed her running to catch the bus with her dad who looked like he had the day off. They made it, and the little girl in a flowery dress was beaming with pride when she walked through the bus and found two available seats. They sat and talked, and got off at the center of the city, ready to explore. She smiled at me, jumped down from the bus, and walked happily away with her daddy. Just the way life should be.

Early this morning Marcus and I were watching a Baby Einstein DVD about colors while eating breakfast together, and my 15-month-old son got very excited when the color yellow was presented with a picture of a field filled with yellow, perfect daffodils. He was so happy. So out of touch with everything that was going on in his daddy’s head. He came with books and toys for us to play with. Laughing, smiling, ready for a new day.

“This is not how it should be. This is not how it could be. Our God is in control. This is not how it will be. When we finally will see. We’ll see with our own eyes. He was always in control”, the song was playing in my ears. It’s true. This isn’t how it should be. Death, disease, pain, lack of finances to pay for health insurance, fear of losing your job, intense loneliness, fear of going through life all alone and depression. None of this was part of the original package. Sin, destruction and death entered the world. And it’s so easy to be swallowed up by the existential hopelessness that is our lot if we don’t know God. If we don’t know someone who is in control. In control even when it sure doesn’t look like he is.

The little girl is right. Marcus was right. Life is good. Yellow is a wonderful color. A day out with daddy is wonderful. It’s epic. It’s eternal. It’s what will last. Yellow daffodils will last. Death and sorrow will wither and pass away. Wearing a sundress with daddy and laughing at his old jokes won’t.

And life is found in the midst of this tension. The tension between aggressive diseases, unbelievable cruelty, loneliness, shipwrecked marriages and daffodils, teddy bears, sundresses and wonderful, patient dads. Hope and light is breaking through. Jesus is real in the midst of this mess we call life.

Torben

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19
Mar
08

In

I’ve been re-reading Philip Yancey’s book on prayer called “Prayer (does it make any difference?)” these last days, and that in itself has been good for me. I enjoy reading a book that talks honestly about prayer. A book that doesn’t pretend that prayer is easy or always fun or satisfying. A book that talks about both the valleys and the mountain tops in (my) prayer life. As always it’s refreshing how real Philip Yancey is when he tackles a question of faith. I sure wish there were more authors like him..!

Anyway, this is not about telling you, dear reader, how great an author Mr. Yancey is, but it’s about a little comment  he makes in the Prayer-book. He has been looking through the New Testament and observes that we find the two little words “in Christ” 164 times in the New Testament. 164 times is a lot and it seems fair to conclude that we’re looking at one of the main themes, if not the main theme of the New Testament.

When I accept Christ as my Lord and Savior I become a part of  Christ’s family and Christ moves into me and a wonderful exchange happens: he gets my life with the good, the bad and the ugly and I get his life with all the righteousness, love and life that I don’t have in my old self. I am now IN CHRIST and all he has is mine and he is capable of doing everything through me that I struggle so much to do in myself. 
It’s a wonder, it’s a mystery, and it’s the truth. I am in Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me“, Paul tells us in Galatians 2:20. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. I am in Christ just the way I am. I am perfect in Christ. Nothing I’ll ever do, say or think can keep me away from who I am in Christ. I am in him, and the journey of discipleship is about God revealing to me what this mystery means. I can’t fathom it, explain it and often times I don’t believe it, but it remains the truth. I have been crucified with Christ. I am dead. I now live in Christ. I am in him and he is in me. A mysterious union took place. I have been blessed enough for God to unpack little bits of what this mystery means to me in my life, and I long to see more. 

But this is the (hidden) message of Easter. Easter isn’t “just” about forgiveness of sin and Jesus taking the penalty that I deserved. Easter is about life, even though that in itself is obviously fantastic beyond words! Easter is also about the exchange between Christ and me. Easter is about me sharing in everything Christ is and has. Easter is about Christ’s resurrection power living in me now (Ephesians 1: 19-20). Christ is alive in his people, in his children, in his broken cups. Let’s celebrate that Christ is in  you and me. Let’s ponder the miracle of the Cross. Let’s ask God to reveal the mystery of the Cross. Let’s stay at the Christ and hear Christ pronounce not only forgiveness of sins to us, but also the possibility of resurrection, of life, of hope, of peace, of joy, of power because he himself, the crucified and risen Lord of Lords chooses to live in fragile, weak and failing human beings such as me. 

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Torben – Happy Easter! 🙂  




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