Pensées (brief reflections)

The plums and almonds are blossoming. The wafting smells drive my allergies crazy, but the beauty is worth it. “Where no oxen are, the stable is clean.”

Sometimes, you are dropped right into the middle of man’s total depravity and see what some humans are capable of doing to other humans, and it hits you right in the gut.

The only hope for mankind is the cross of Jesus Christ. This is the exclamation point on God’s verdict on humankind, as well as God’s compassion.

If our only hope is the cross of Christ, why are we as Christians so slow to believe the horrible things that humans do to each other. The history of the world and the verdict of the cross shout loudly from every corner that humans are indeed capable of doing great wickedness.

Humans are also capable of great beauty and great achievements. This makes their wickedness so much more wicked. If humans were not image-bearers of God, sin would not be as ugly as it is.

Today I harvested a bunch of dill and hung it up to dry. The oregano also was ready to harvest, so I gathered the firstfruits of much more to come. My tomato seedlings have sprouted. Man’s wickedness is ugly. But God remembers mercy.

Have you thanked God that he has not yet come in judgment? He has not yet gathered in all of his people, and his compassion has not yet reached an end. This is the astounding mercy of God.

And at the same time, sometimes the longing is more intense than other times.

I have had the privilege to know the stories of a few people. Some of them are the strongest, most courageous, most astounding people I know. I am continually floored by their resilience in what they have survived. This reminds me to be very patient with the ones whose stories I don’t know. You don’t know what they have endured.

I stood in line at a pizza place and ordered my pizza. They fixed it just as I ordered it. It was exactly what I expected. God’s providence is astounding. His hand is not only in that which is unexpected, but also in the ordinary and usual. Think, for a moment, about everything that had to happen for the pizzeria to make a pizza just as I ordered it. It boggles the mind, and none of it is out of God’s control.

When I was a teenager, I was in a pizza joint with my brother. He ordered a pizza. They asked if he wanted anchovies. He said “sure”, not knowing what they were. I have a vivid memory of him shouting “Fish? Fish on pizza?! What kind of monster puts fish on pizza??!”

My brother liked to make a scene.  I love that about him.

There is never any reason for anyone to ever listen to the Steve Miller Band. I tried to get my Alexa to make a note that I never, ever, under any circumstances, want to hear the Steve Miller Band. She said, “I can’t do that.” Useless robot.

Every time a pastor cracks a joke about a woman, another soul shrivels a little bit in despair, withdraws behind their wall, and vows to never, ever speak about her pain to anyone, ever. Pastors, is the joke worth it? When it is replayed on the day of judgement, will it be funny then?

Every time a pastor ridicules or scoffs at someone’s pain, mocks a victim of a crime, asks “what were you wearing” or makes a joke about mental illness, yet another soul shrivels inside and hides behind their wall. Is it worth it?

When you hear what humans do to one another in the dark, you have a hard time getting worked up about so many of the things you used to get worked up about.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. In wrath, remember mercy.

I’m going to water my flowers now.

7 Comments

Filed under Random thoughts

7 responses to “Pensées (brief reflections)

  1. JOHN ZOOK

    Beautiful writing

  2. Bunkababy

    I really love reading your constant reassuring words. Reminders . It is easy to get swallowed up. I can’t seem to look over my own existence without trauma bubbling hot under the surface. I need a constant reminder.

    Sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other because I just can’t take anything new in. But today it sunk in some.

    But you wanna know what really stuck in? The fact that you are harvesting dill!!! How can that be? How many harvests of dill can you get in a season? We get one. In the end of August. Dill in March. Wow.

  3. Brad Hepp

    I really enjoyed this post. You and I are in slightly different branches of the Church, but I sense our common faith far, far more than any differences.

  4. Anu Riley

    Your musings are wonderful. A reader might not think they are connected at first, but if you go with the flow, you’ll see a theme emerge. ​

    “If our only hope is the cross of Christ, why are we as Christians so slow to believe the horrible things that humans do to each other.”

    I can’t say “amen” to this enough. This has been on my mind for a long time. There was nothing conservative, clean and sanitary about His death. It was raw, real and repulsive.

    The cross was blood, sweat and tears. Often, when I am aiming to and abiding in Him to obey the two greatest commandments, I wonder if I am going to sweat blood. I get a miniscule glimpse of the kind of love He has for humanity, and it HURTS. It’s not humiliation, it’s humbling. And my pride is fighting back. And too often, it wins. And then we start all over again.

    “Humans are also capable of great beauty and great achievements. This makes their wickedness so much more wicked.”

    You have a simplistic way of expressing great truths. When I read about past leaders who really did great things for people, but treated the very people around them with great contempt—-this kind of insight fits perfectly.

    I think one has to be incredibly insightful to serve others; why are such persons paid so little to deliver so much? Your pizza came out just the way you wanted it—I really do think there’s real talent at work. It’s not just a fluke.

    I so appreciate the crackdown on “jokes.” I usually don’t glean the Gospel from a movie like “Clueless,” but it was there. Cher befriends and mentors a new girl at school, to “make her over” in Cher’s own image.

    Cher saw her own contempt and cruelty reflected in her “creation” when her friend makes a snobbish joke at the expense of a sweet but unpopular boy, humiliating him publicly. Cher was shocked at the snobbery and saddened at the pain on his face. It made her realize that while she may look and dress pretty, on the inside she wasn’t so pretty.

    Cher had told her friend previously that “loadies” are fine to laugh at but no one takes them seriously. So her friend’s casual cruelty shouldn’t have surprised her, but it did. I don’t think she ever stopped to look at the faces of those she looked down upon.

    Spoiler alert: Cher picked up that this boy’s home life wasn’t the best and that he had a drinking problem. Nothing funny about that.

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