Saturday, November 8, 2008

Do I Have To?

We are poor people, much afflicted.
We camped under various stars,
Where you dip water with a cup from a muddy river
And slice your bread with a pocketknife.
This is the place; accepted, not chosen.
(Czeslaw Milosc, "It Was Winter")

I am not supposed to envy, but I do. I envy people like Brother Lawrence who seem to have found the ability to rejoice in everything they do; to experience God in the opportunity to clean the latrine and to attend Handel's Messiah with equal alacrity.

My friend is about to send his son away to the Navy so that the boy can become a Navy Seal; one of the more dangerous jobs in the military. He is happy that the boy is doing what God wants, knowing that God will take care of him, and yet . . . and yet . . .

There are many "and yet's" in life. We know, we believe, and yet we have not quite mastered our flesh . . . and yet we have not fully grasped the peace that passes all understanding in the middle of the choice to follow Him. I remember a conversation Jesus had with His Father. It went something like this, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet, I will do your will, no matter what."

Could it be that it is neither sinful nor immature to ask God for an easier task? Could it be that if Jesus asked for the cup to pass, that we are allowed to ask for it to pass? And then, with flesh lagging far behind, we step by faith into the thing that we accept, yet have not chosen; choosing the lasting peace that comes to the courageous who follow Christ, rather than the temporary comfort that fills the cowardly.

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