Keeping An Appointment to Not Be Busy

Quoting Mark 4:19 where Jesus says that it’s the cares of the world that is killing my faith, today, I will not care about the cares of this world. Kevin DeYoung, in his forthcoming book, “Crazy Busy,” says,

“For most of us, it isn’t heresy or rank apostasy that will derail our profession of faith. It’s all the worries of life. You’ve got car repairs. Then your water heater goes out. The kids need to see a doctor. You haven’t done your taxes yet. Your checkbook isn’t balanced. You’re behind on thank you notes. You promised your mother you’d come over and fix a faucet. You’re behind on wedding planning. Your boards are coming up. You have more applications to send out. Your dissertation is due. Your refrigerator is empty. Your lawn needs mowing. Your curtains don’t look right. Your washing machine keeps rattling. This is life for most of us, and it’s choking the spiritual life out of us.” (pg. 29).

So today I leave my cares behind and spend the day with Cheryl in Chicago, walking, talking, picnicking, riding our bikes, napping, and going to one of Cheryl’s favorite places to eat:

It’s not careless to not care so much, it’s trusting and resting in Christ’s finished work. I don’t have to do it all.

I’m out-a here!

Dear Bathsheba,

“Dear Bathsheba,

It was a blessing to see you in the assembly – I’ve missed you so much. But I understand, well, not really, but you know what I mean, how difficult it was for you to come and worship. When the choirmaster announced the first hymn, I was nearly floored – in fact, I was speechless when he called us all to sing, “To the Choirmaster. A Psalm of David, When Nathan The Prophet Went To Him, After He Had Gone In To Bathsheba” (Psalm 51: verse one in the Hebrew Bible). My heart sunk for you, and I’ll have to admit, I was a little embarrassed for you to say the least. Given that this was our song for worship, I’m glad that we had our recent conversations together; they have been used of the Lord to help heal both of our hearts and prepare us for singing. I still have hope for more healing time with you, but I want to speak to the conversation that I overheard after worship between Simeon and David, as you stood by hearing what seemed to be an unfair benefit in the lives of so many at your expense.

When Simeon the Choirmaster expressed his own brokenness, as he prepared the choir to lead that hymn, I saw the expression on your face and remembered what you shared with me. Now I get it. It does seem painfully awkward to hear people express ‘thanks’ to David for writing that hymn, even if it was from the Lord. And Yes, it helped even me to confess my sins to God and feel the joy of my salvation again. But it does seem so unfair when such mercy flows to others at such personal cost. I mean, so many in Israel this week, men and women, have started to repent because the king, your new husband, publicly repented. But you’re still bearing the scars of rape, the murder of your husband, public humiliation, the grief of family members on both sides, the loss of some of your friends who now ignore you, and most painfully, the death of your baby. I almost want to say with you, “Who cares if anyone repents and gets right with God – not at the expense of such personal grief and pain.” But you are more like David’s future Son than you realize, whom David calls Lord. He will bear such pain and anguish like no man ever has so that sinners like your king and husband, and yes, you and me, can repent and be cleansed of our sins and have eternal joy with God. It’s a sweet truth that David’s Lord would suffer so deeply so that we become the beneficiary. At his expense – we get to sing.

Yes, I know that it hurts so bad that you could kill him for murdering your husband – I too have wanted to take justice into my own hands – literally, around his neck and avenge you. And yes, when it’s personal suffering that benefits the lives of others, it just doesn’t seem worth it to wait on God’s unfolding plan to exalt his mercy and love.

But my dear Bathsheba, I want to share with you what I believe will help our hearts as we wrestle with the pain and loss of the past year, and our desire to be happy again in our salvation.

1. Let’s believe that time does not heal all wounds, but the timeless presence of the Lord does. Scars never go away, but neither does the Lord!

2. Let’s believe that when David’s Lord comes, he will lead us beside the still waters and restore our souls – he will lead us into everlasting joy.

3. Let’s believe that if we want pure, unmitigated justice for David, then we are inviting the full wrath of God on ourselves.

4. Let’s believe that God is Just, that whatever wrath is poured out on David’s Lord for David’s sin, that God is also Just for us as well. God’s Justice is so perfect that there is nothing left to punish, not in David, not in us.

5. Let’s enjoy the forgiveness of our sins as much as David enjoys forgiveness. I know it creeps up on you, the bitterness and rage when you see David happy as a lark, but if he can’t be happy in his forgiveness then neither can we. Please don’t hear these words as static and void of empathy for your suffering, rather, hear them with stretching hard to see a happy God who delights in showing mercy to us all.

6. Let’s believe that it is worth it to suffer and consequently others are drawn closer to God for it. This is perhaps the most painful thing to contemplate and accept at this moment, but let’s fix our eyes upon this Week’s unblemished lambs, who will bleed-out their lives so that we may go free.

7. And most tenderly, I want you to know that you are not alone, you do not have to suffer in silence, and I will weep with you as long as it takes.

Let’s keep praying to God as David instructed us, “Do good to Zion [your people] in your good pleasure” (Psalm 51:18).

Daddy loves you so much,                                                                                                       Eliam

p.s.                                                                                                                                 Thanks for last night’s supper – the fig and pomegranate salad was delicious. We’ll babysit Solomon for you tomorrow evening so that you and David can have a date. See you soon sweetie.

Have you ever said to someone, “How Could You!?”

All of us have had our expectations crushed by some deviant behavior committed by someone we care about. We believe that with the right amount of teaching and influence, that a certain someone is beyond the ability to stumble and fall. The judgment, “That’s so beneath you,” is one way of saying, “You’re better than that.”

But consider two presumptions that you would have to believe:

1. That humans are capable of excelling beyond the ability to fall and fail.

2. That you have never done anything yourself to warrant the same response.

Sure, we are disappointed, even saddened and grieved when someone we care about has broken our hearts with a trespass of some sort. We cry in their presence and do not hide our pain. This is good and normal. It means we really do want to see excellence and safe passage for another. But this is where rightful longings for good behavior and wrongful beliefs in the ability of man collide. This is where you can either bring hope into someone’s brokenness, or add insult to injury.

When God approached the first couple that failed the first failure, what did he say? I can tell you that he did not say,

“HOW COULD YOU? After all that I have done for you, after all the hard work I went through to provide such a cushy setting, after I have invested money, time, and energy into you two – how could you just throw it all away? This is so beneath you .  . . I’m speechless . . . I’m at a loss for words to describe my disappointment with you . . . you beat everything.”

Whew! Can you imagine hearing that? Sounds self-centered and ego driven doesn’t it? It sounds like someone is a little too obsessed with entitlement. Invest – expect a certain return. No return – are you ready for this?

“You were a bad investment – I should never have stuck my neck out for you. Had I known in advance that this would have been my return, you would not have gotten a dimes’ worth of love from me – you have turned out to be a waste of my hard work.”

I thank God that though I grieve him with my failures, my sins, my wasteful moments and episodes (for I do believe that when we sin and fail, we fail to “redeem the time” that we were given, and did not make the most of a good opportunity [Eph. 5:16]), he does not pour salt into an open wound, causing me to feel rejected and dismissed. No, he calls me to confess my sin and failure. He instructs my heart to consider the path of repeated missteps of unbelief that led to the inevitable fall. He beckons me to approach his throne of grace and forgiveness. He promises new mercies for another morning, new beginnings for another day. He does not sulk with self-righteous indignation. He is not surprised. He is not self-deceived. He knows that without him I can do nothing right. He knows that in a moment of blind stupidity, I can do the unthinkable. He is not self-deluded with grandiose aspirations that does not take into account my wandering heart that is prone to leave the God I love. My God is wide-awake to what he has invested in: The Everlasting Glory of His Grace that will be enjoyed and praised by broken sinners. “O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.”

Yes, God calls me to holiness, without which, I will not see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). But he knows who he’s dealing with, and he knows how much I need him – thank God! This is why he sent is son, Jesus Christ. When by faith Christ stands in my place, the Father is able to say to me, “How Could I Not Love You!?”