Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Center of it All...

I'm so thankful for the hope and optimism that children bring to this world!  Even when they realize that the world is not a perfect place, they still seem to exude a positive attitude in the face of strife and difficulty.  The future is overflowing with possibilities in the mind of a child.  And their innocence brings joy in the midst of cynicism.

I've learned a lot from my daughter Ashlyn the past 7 & 1/2 years.  And I was reminded of a truth last Sunday evening.  Before kissing her goodnight, we typically read a couple of stories (one being a Bible story) and pray.  On this night, instead of reading a Bible story, I thought I would talk to her about what she learned in Sunday school.  I've done this sort of thing on many occasions, and normally Ashlyn can tell me exactly what the story was about.  However, on this evening, her mind could not recall the exact details of the story.  To try to prompt her, I asked, "Was the story about Jesus, or was it from the Old Testament?"  Her response was, "Of course it was about Jesus, it was a Bible story."  Duh!  I should not have needed to be reminded of that.  The whole Bible, Old and New Testament, is ultimately about Jesus!

The apostle Paul believed this to be true.  He writes in Colossians "He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers - all things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross." (1:15-20, NRSV).

The Son was there in the beginning, he entered into space and time in the man Jesus in the middle, and he'll be there when heaven and earth are reconciled in the new creation.  So as Ashlyn reminded me, "God's mystery, that is, Christ himself" (Col 2:2), is splattered across the pages of the entire Biblical narrative.  As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, "In him (Jesus) every one of God's promises is a 'Yes'"!

This is good news for me right now (and always).  I've been stressed out the past several weeks for a number of reasons.  I've felt the kind of stress that disturbs your sleep, gnaws at your gut, and gets into your bones.  I know that this too will pass, but in the meantime, I need to see the world through the eyes of a child and I need to be reminded of Paul's words in Romans 8:31 and ff, "What then are we to say about these things?  If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?...Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us .  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Thank you Lord. - Shay

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