Wednesday, June 8


“You don't even know what tomorrow will bring--what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."” [James 4:14-15 HCSB]

It is quiet, Casey and Sara are asleep and I’ve watched another of those Lifetime shows where adversity is overcome with a dramatic flourish and once again, the hero (or in this case, heroine) is triumphant in the victory. I look around at what I have, the house that is far from clean and cringing at the thought of Casey’s bedroom and Sara’s as well as my own. I think about the water problem and the washer/dryer issues….the lack of the basics that most families have. I wonder where the strength of overcoming, where the triumph over this adversity is set to dawn.

I wonder where the hero is in this story……in my children’s stories

I can remember that day, back in February of 2004 when that persistent knocking upon the door of my barricaded room finally was ‘annoying’ enough for me to open it and ‘confront’ whomever was on the other side. No drama, no epic music greeted my eyes when I opened that door. Just a simple man in bloody clothes, punctured head, pierced hands and feet.

The door never would close again.

With fading memory, I can remember the course of emotion and awe that flowed through me that afternoon session at Willow Creek Community Church’s “Acts 2” conference. It was the first “Christian” conference I had ever been too. Gene Appel, a veteran pastor of ministry, was casting vision for WCCC as its new lead pastor…..and I got lost. In the visions of impossible dreams and daring challenges. Sometime that I thought was from God, a conversation we carried through the woodlands of the campus for several hours. A life simply destroyed that merely hoped for the grace to stumble to the finish challenged to become a champion sprinter.

That life would never be simple again.

In the movie Gladiator, Proximo the Gladiator ‘business man’ said “Ultimately, we’re all dead men. Sadly, we cannot choose how but what we can decide is how we meet that end, in order that we are remembered…….as men.” Many people view the Christian walk as a journey through sunlit hills and sloping valleys with fruit practically dripping from the trees and water so sweet bubbling in the gentle streams as to delight anyone’s sweet tooth.

Manhood is often viewed as a quiet, gentle and almost feminine spirit that moves throughout the land as if a ghost, never touching or impacting women, children or others in this mighty and vast world. Manhood was power built to bless, to move into chaos and challenge its very nature so as to bring order and structure to an insane world. They are only half of the equation that when brought together brings us into a complete image bearer reflection of a Creator God. But it is a struggle and a battle to get there and remain there and to move on from there….this world doesn’t want us to be remembered as who’s we were but what the corruption of sin started us out to be from birth. We cannot chose many things in this life, with principalities and powers against the chosen of God there will be conflict and sorrows that we were never meant to experience, but because of sin’s embrace we have come to know too well. All we can do is decide on how we will “meet that end”. And know that God will get us there.

I chose to meet that end as a godly man, at least die trying to be.

We cannot know the future; the epic failures of those who have tried the breath of human existence should tell us that. Yet we try desperately to make flimsy structures again the blowing winds and huddle around those things that bring us a semblance of comfort and fleeing joy. We don’t dare dream larger than ourselves for the cost may be too high for too long for us to want to pay. And yet……..

We have the promises and the direction of a God who created the planet we live on and the very air we breathe. Who gave us the capability of dreaming of heroic deeds and epic battles? A God who could simply name and claim us once we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But He doesn’t, because we are ‘destined to do greater things than these.’ The E.A.C.H. campaign has wrapped up and the headlines have moved on to the more ‘blasé’ things of this world. And yet, we remain. We can fade back into the world we were called from, retreating once more behind those solid doors of our sanctuaries and steeples. We can call this just another battle in the war of the forces arrayed against God and us. Or we can look at life differently so that we can (as Dave Ramsey would say) live differently.

A life lived in response not to “What should I do?” but one resounding “As the Lord wills…..”

That is where the hero is, one who dreams impossible dreams in this complex world and dares to declare all surrendered to God because of what he knows masculinity to be........

A life obediently using its power to bless.

No comments: