Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reweaving the cloth

What happens when you blog about things that are just percolating in your head? My blog.

To wit, I'm thinking that sins and repentance have some permutations and consequences that we (I) don't often think about. To be very sure, I firmly believe that having believed on Christ to save you puts the responsibility to protect your eternity in His hands - you cannot keep (protect and maintain) yourself from falling away. If he does not keep you, none of us are stable or strong enough in ourselves to not fall into whatever it takes to be deceived or fall away again. That's why God alone is the judge of our hearts and the saviour of our souls. He knows and accounts justly our confession of belief and makes us into his own, it isn't our achievement.

That said, there is the dealing with our daily sin and/or continuing "old man." We do have our part to play in our place in time with how that is going. It is actually, tangibly better if we make active search for God's way and deliberately are willing to be humbled in order to be conformed to the truth. If we do not, then we may still be received into the presence of God at the end of our days but the consequences of our intransigence will certainly play out in our character and our lives.

Does that sound complicated? No, it's simple, but it's the conclusion of the matter, not the beginning of the thought. I was thinking about three people I know and/or know of. Two are dead, one is making progress in that direction.

One is a fellow I never met, but who had particular excellence in hospitality, humility, leadership and intelligence. You noticed those things in about that order. It is quite remarkable that you would notice the first two before the last, but that came directly out of his commitment to God. He had made his choice and his choice had changed him, and permitted the last two gifts to do many things that others with his rank, affiliations, and training yet envy. Now that he is gone, no one can fill his place, no one can do his job, no one will take up his efforts because he was a unique expression of so many of God's gifts and graces. We all wish he were still there, we will always wish he could step back into our lives, we would all rather have him living and moving in our world. I suspect that will always be true. If the way of God's world were different and he could come back 10 years from now (for argument's sake like that FedEx guy who got stranded on an island), we would want him back in our lives without change.

Another is my older sister, whom I loved and love yet to this day. She should be here, she should have had a full life. She would have been a terrific mother. We would have been such great friends and teammates now. Nothing will be set to rights until the dead in Christ rise and she and I have the years together that should have been all along. But she was a stubborn girl for many reasons, and when she needed help and love and truth, her family couldn't give it to her. And she died. 

The last is my mother, who is now old, and the dementia and deterioration are in full march and cannot be turned back or turned aside. She has no thoughts of regret, but that is not the product of old age, she has always been that way. The truth always comes out eventually and as I spend her final years helping her the best I can, so many lies and cover ups and excuses are being unraveled, but now it is too late. She cannot say "I'm sorry" now because she never said it when she still could.  She is a Christian, there is no doubt in my mind at all that she has acknowledged Jesus as Lord and relies on Him in this life and for life eternal.

But following hard on that foundation is the fact that she has never forgiven who knows how many people in her life, has ordered her goals in ten thousand ways to protect her cash flow and her self image, and has told so many "white lies" to achieve those goals that she hasn't known the difference between the truth and a lie since she was in her twenties, at least. When she goes, although I love her, I will not miss her. I have always missed who she could have been, who she should have been had she been willing to be someone other than that false image she's always tried to be.

If she had given up her own artful creation years ago, or even ten years ago, God could have made something solid and satisfying from all the remnants that were left. It wouldn't matter how few threads were left, He could have rewoven the cloth into a pattern of substance, something that would satisfy her and rectified so many injustices that still produce wounds decades later. But she would not.  And so she carries that attitude with her to the grave.

How will she deal with seeing those friends and family she so cavalierly wounded when there is no sham or pretense to hide behind any more? She loved them and they love her, there is forgiveness and acceptance, but how will she endure the meeting? It is a hard, hard thing to think about. I guess I'm worried for her. This is something that cannot be altered now, it is all those things she has been trying to avoid all her life, and it will come.

She'll make it thru alright, I know. Jesus will see to that. I just wish it didn't have to be this way. I wish it had never been this way.  I used to waste hours daydreaming what if I could go back in time to this point or that event and turn the tide, warn of the disaster coming, save a life, "save" all our lives. Finally I let myself dream it all out as a thought experiment over about ten days. The conclusion was that it would all end the same anyway because she was who she was, and that's the thing that needed to change. Not the events or the timeline, but the character of the individuals involved, and that can't be done thru warning or exhortation. Only a willing humiliation combined with the redeeming power of the Truth will change any of us.

The cloth of my own life hasn't much to recommend it either. What or who I am is not much of anything, I have no status or accomplishments to name, my family is disappearing and my friends are few and tenuous, to my shame alone. My only hope is that God can still reweave the threads of my future into something He can be proud of. I'd like to be someone He can boast Himself about, a tree who bore fruit in season, someone He took such good care of that the end of her days was so much more amazing than the beginning that all the people around her still talk of it.

That's the thing I challenge Him with in private, and now in public. Yes, at my own hand and by my own effort, I could do nothing, but my only claim to success is Him. What shall He do? What is the story he is writing? Shall he leave me as I am, or make something of me? I have not forgotten my responsibilities and I know He hasn't forgotten His, and therein lies my faith and expectation. I hope. I come, I cry, I watch, I wait, I look, I long.

Posted by Sweetbriar at 4:09 PM