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No matter what

Monday, December 10, 2007

Isaiah 35:3-10
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution; he will come to save you."

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. … And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.

Standing before the fiery furnace Abednego and his buds faced death. They turned to face Nebuchadnezzar instead. â€"God will save us,â€� they said. â€"But even if he does not, we still will do the Right Thing.â€� (Daniel 3)

Anything that stops me from saying this over and over, day after day, does not come from God or from the brain God gave me. Pessimism, cynicism, realism ism ism doesn’t move me closer to God’s highway in the desert. Real is not enough. Hedging my bets is not enough. Curbing my expectations to avoid disappointment kills me outright - hardly an acceptable solution to the problem of evil.

In church two Sundays ago Margaret prayed for a small child caught in a wheelchair. His parents want him to be caught up in the air and get all the mess reversed, so they can watch him run and leap and laugh. But what do they do in the meantime?

The kingdom of God is near, Jesus said. Sometimes he said the kingdom of God is here. Walking with him, being touched by his hand, receiving his healing assured those lucky folks of that kingdom. But what about us? What, even, about the ones he touched after he left? Didn’t they die?

â€"I will send you the Holy Spirit,â€� Jesus said. â€"You will do even greater works than I have done.â€� But the Holy Spirit, perhaps by definition, is more elusive than the touch of Jesus the man. And who has done greater things than Jesus? We can stretch the words and make them fit sometimes, but doubt waits around every corner.

God knows the kingdom is not yet. There’s more to come. But Jesus said the kingdom is here. How do I grow into accepting his words?

Oprah inspires millions of people to write in gratitude journals, to give more to each other than they would have otherwise, and to hang on to hope. Every day on the TV screen she asks people to … one more time, prime the pump and let the water flow.

Paul says â€"whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy: thing about those things.â€� That’s not easy to do, but it’s always there. Helping each other do just that one day at a time, we turn corner after corner to see what happens next.

Let me live my life, Lord, believing your words instead of believing what I see. My eyes are clouded; your words are clear.

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