Wednesday, September 9, 2009

God's Hands and Feet

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Beloved, now we are children of God...
I John 3:1a, 2a

Forgive me for saying so, but I enjoyed having my quiet time with God at the edge of the ocean in South Carolina this morning. Please know that I do not share that to boast or envoke envy, it really is paramount to what God spoke to my heart today!

As I sat on the beach my attention was drawn to a young father standing about 30 to 40 yards in the ocean holding his toddler in his arms. The dad was standing with his back to the breaking waves so as to shelter his precious son. To be sure, the lad did get wet but there is no way that young child could have been that far out in the ocean without his father's protection.

Watching the scene made me realize that spiritually I am that little boy! Sometimes life breaks on me, on us all, with the force of monster waves. Yes, we do feel the impact of the attacks but our Shelter is sure.

Then an interesting paradox hit me: on the earthly plane I am also the boy's father. God has called us to love and shelter our spiritual family and our human family alike. Being a part of a family does have its privileges but it also has its responsibilities. Some of us are called to go and do, others, especially those with physical limitations; to stay and pray. The important thing is that we are all called to love.

As we relish our sheltered position as children of God, may we boldly step out and be God's hands and feet to the world.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Restriction vs Freedom

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.
-John Locke

A few weeks ago I had the delightful burden of creating a website for my book. It was delightful because, after many hours of working on it, it worked! It was a burden because it took many hours!

I actually discovered that the longest and hardest part of the process was that I had to learn the "hoops" through which the web hosting service wanted me to jump. In my only mildly trained computer mind not all of those hoops were logical. And so, I would try it the way I thought the program should respond, when that didn't work I would alter one of the steps and try it again. Right around the fifth to tenth try I would finally stumble onto the proper sequence. This process would take around an hour or so and then I would repeat the chore on a different page doing a different task.

I found the process to be quite grueling, that is, until I discovered all the various pathways and hoops. It was at that point that I realized that I could accomplish my mission in a relatively short period of time now that I knew the process. What a shame I only needed one website!

Just a few days before this experience I had the pleasure of hearing a young pastor expound on the lament of the present generation that Christianity is too restrictive. It only offers one way to heaven. His words stuck with me as closely as my own name, "If you remove a fish from the restrictive environment of water, you do not give it more freedom, you give it death." The restrictions God places on us actually provide freedom for us!

The restrictions, or hoops, I ran into while creating the website provided great freedom (and even joy!) once I uncovered what was required. It is not until we feel the restrictive power of physical pain that we truly appreciate life without pain. Storms make sunshine brighter. The loss of a loved one teaches us to cherish those with us more. Struggles magnify triumphs. I have found this concept to be true in every area of life: politics, health, finances, relationships, the law, religion, education - you name it.

Our restrictions are actually a result of our flawed human nature and ignoring or refusing to acknowledge those restrictions only leads to pain and even death. But knowing the Truth offers freedom and life. May each of us find the freedom in our difficult circumstances and, like fish, swim to our hearts' content!

P.S. The address for my website is: I would appreciate you stopping by! Kathi