Sometimes I have to remind myself that everyone, including me, sees life or world events or the Word of God through a particular set of lenses. Education, culture, family, community, and personal experience — they all influence the way we process information, but most of the time we assume that our perceptions are founded on the one true reality, and that people who disagree with us are ignorant, gullible, or just plain wrong.
But the truth is, none of us has the whole picture. We have this sliver of a glimpse, and even that is colored by the lenses we wear.
So, what are we to do? Knowing we simply don’t know could paralyze us, if it weren’t for one unshakable truth.
The sovereign, holy God of the universe knows all things, and He is bringing to pass plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness. While we all run around grasping for our personal version of success and significance, God’s story unfolds, page by page. And because nothing is impossible with Him, even with all our blind selfishness and stumbling about, we still bring glory to His name.
And so, I’ve chosen a word for 2013. “Receive.”
Not that I’m expecting God to give me anything the world might admire or consider great, but I desire to recognize His gifts in whatever form they come, to welcome them with joy and gratitude, knowing that every gift He gives is good. Whether praise or persecution, honor or humiliation, wealth or want, His love chooses well for me.
The word comes from one of my favorite quotes — one that has steadied me many times when the winds and waves of worldly ambition have threatened to throw my little ship off course. It’s from C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra, and was spoken by an angel to the protagonist, Ransom, after he rescued an entire world from an Eden-like fall. As Ransom grapples with the magnitude of his accomplishment, the angel says this:
“Be comforted, small one, in your smallness.
He lays no merit on you.
Receive and be glad.”
My goal for 2013 is to be comforted in my smallness. To happily live for His glory, not seeking merit but only the pleasure of His smile. To awake each new day with the joyful assurance that He will give daily bread according to my soul’s true hunger and not according to my selfish cravings.
I don’t know what 2013 holds. But I know that the pages of this year have been written. There is One who sees what I can’t, who knows what I don’t, and whose purposes will be — must be — accomplished.
This is my goal. To receive and be glad.
Giving thanks in community for (#649 – 659):
the refiner’s fire
the potter’s wheel
the pruning shears
the power of words
the power of art
God’s story already written
the body of Christ
grace to be present
grace to speak
grace to be silent
Grace and peace to you in this New Year, friends!