Forgetting What is Behind

Greetings, gentle readers. I hope this Lenten season finds you well.

I’m sure from the title, you have surmised what this post will address. After all, about 90% of my posts since November have had to do with my struggles with an old pain. And there seems to be no end to those insufferable (I mean, er…inspirational) Internet memes in my Facebook feed that constantly admonish me to just “forget it and let it all go.”

Well, you’d be wrong. ­čÖé

I was doing research for another topic the other day and stumbled across Philippians 3, where the Apostle Paul speaks about “forgetting what is behind.” And after reading what he wrote, I wondered for a second if he had utterly lost his mind and I had signed up for the wrong religion: Continue reading

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The Sufficiency of Grace

I’ve got a message for you today. You’re not going to like it. It’s about grace.

I was feeling really crappy last week. I mean, really. On the verge of hysterical screams, in fact. My stress level was out of control, and I just couldn’t seem to pull it together. So I did something to put my pain into perspective. I found a picture of the crucified Jesus on the Internet (see right), made a little motivational poster out of it and hung it up in my cubicle at work. It said, “Even Jesus had bad days.” And below that, 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”

There was something terribly poignant about that verse and that image coming together. Two hours later, I wanted to tear the poster off the wall. Continue reading

Why I’m (Functionally) Egalitarian

Yesterday, I stumbled across an interesting post on the Gospel Coalition Voices blog. In it was the following quote by Russell Moore, dean of Theology at the Southern Baptist Seminary:

What I fear is that we have many people in evangelicalism who can check off “complementarian” on a box but who really aren’t living out complementarian lives. Sometimes I fear we have marriages that are functionally egalitarian, because they are within the structure of the larger society. If all we are doing is saying “male headship” and “wives submit to your husbands,” but we’re not really defining what that looks like . . . in this kind of culture, when those things are being challenged, then it’s simply going to go away.

I hate to break it to Dr. Moore, but…duh!┬áBecause when you practice the kind of complementarianism outlined by the Bible, that’s what you get: something functionally egalitarian. Continue reading

On the Altar of Sacrifice

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Abraham. He was really old and afraid that he’d die without an heir. But then God gave him a promise: his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. A couple of decades later, Abraham’s son is born–the firstfruits of a great promise.

And then God tells Abraham to do something unthinkable. He is to take his son up on a mountain and sacrifice him to the Lord. We know how the story ends: Abraham goes up to the altar, the Lord stays his hand, a ram gets the knife instead (see Genesis 22).

Atheists like to use this passage as evidence of God’s cruelty, even though Abraham kept his child in the end. But I think this scripture is indicative of something else–of what it means to be, as Romans 12:1 says, a living sacrifice. Continue reading

Joyful, Joyful!

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For you, Malala.

Many bloggers are writing about joy this week. After all, we’re in the middle of the most joyous season of the year. There are twinkling lights in the city squares, ribbons wrapping the columns of houses, and the smells of baking goodies wafting out of every door. My nearly 3-year-old son talks excitedly about the gifts he will unwrap on Christmas Day. While I watched him participate in song and applause at my church’s service this morning, my heart became fit to burst. It’s hard not to be joyful.

But I realize it’s not the same for everyone, or even during the rest of the year. Sometimes the car breaks down. Sometimes work becomes overwhelming. Sometimes nasty people get in the way. The kids get sick, the washing machine goes out (my house this week), the spouse becomes cranky and distant, and internal demons surface to fight your every step. At these times, it’s easy to sink into a pity-party state. You watch your neighbors drive up in their spotless Lexus or BMW, while your not-so-stylish Ford sits collecting pollen and paw prints in your crumbling driveway. Joy seems like a thousand miles away. Continue reading