Monday, May 09, 2005

"When I became a man"

Note to readers: This post starts rambling at the end and needs to be edited. Feel free to peruse it in its unfinished state or come back later for a bit more refinement. --------- Friday I fired off a quick post about needing prayer. Thanks to those who prayed. Today was an interesting day. Long story short, that thing that was dear to me that was killed then resurrected a month ago, was canceled again on Friday. This time, it seems, for good. Apparently the folks who nixed it in the first place figured out a way to get their hands on it a second time. Today I had the distinct privilege of sharing the news with the rest of the team that was invested in the project. Thank God for grace and favor. He led me to a passage -- actually reminded me of it last week, before the bomb dropped on Friday -- that says: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." The verse stayed with me all weekend. Finally this morning I looked it up in a concordance. I had forgotten that it comes out of a familiar passage: I Corinthians 13. The "Love Chapter." For context, verses 4-13 follow:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

They're beautiful words. We read them at weddings, recite them as poetry, preach them at church. Living them is an altogether different challenge. And this weekend, living them took on a whole new meaning for me. I discovered that I never really understood why verses 8(b)-12 were included in the rest of the passage. Love is ... blah, blah, blah (not really). That part I get. But then it talks about prophesies that end prematurely; tongues being silenced; knowledge being discarded. Then there's a random thought about putting childish ways aside. In between, references to seeing "in part," with the hope of one day seeing "fully." Yet verse 8 begins with a promise: "Love never fails." That's easy to believe when circumstances are well, but what about when the people we love fail us? When they kill that which would otherwise bring life to lifeless circumstances (prophesy); when they silence language that people actually understand (Acts 2 tongues); when they discard knowledge that provides understanding about situations and people? You know, the occasions that make us burn with anger and beg for retaliation. That's when true love refuses to fail others, when it empowers us to put childish reactions aside. When the pain and frustrations are raw, we see "in part" -- that is, only the immediate consequences of their failure. It's only after "we are fully known," that God promises that we will "know fully." Adversity reveals the character of a man so that God can trust us with more ...

1 Comments:

At 5/10/2005 09:28:00 AM, Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

Our attitudes match up in this instance, Jeremy. Though I admit to at first wanting to find some way to circumvent the vision-killer. But then I realized that one person's short-sitedness, one person's desire to remain in the safety net, is not enough to thwart the plans of God. Our Father does not bless us with gifts and talents that can be used for His Kingdom just so we can sit on a shelf. He gifts us to serve Him. And the people involved in this project are filled with the talent and the vision.

This is a speed bump, a pothole the devil will use to try to break our spirit. But if we press in to God and seek His will, our spirits cannot be broken.

This is a set-back by earthly standards. The true tragedy would be to let it put the "quit" in us. Instead let's rise above out-dated modes of thinking and love the people we wanted to reach fiercely enough to find the opportunity to reach them.

 

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