Tuesday, August 3, 2010

George Bailey

I've been writing this blog since the end of March of 2008.  This means that, in the circle of life, this date has come around twice.  Still, because I am who I am, someone with a veritable library of dates in my brain (many of which have almost no importance to my actual life), I can't help taking stock on a day like today.  An actual anniversary.  The anniversary, I should say.  The New Testament calls it being born again, what happened to me on this date in 1971.  Through overuse, misuse and sometimes even abuse, the power's been taken out of that phrase, so much so that many of us don't wish to associate with it.  However, Jesus was pretty clear with Nicodemus that this is exactly what it is.  Our becoming His, lock, stock and barrel is in every way that counts, is being born again.  And for me, I have to admit, this is EXACTLY what it felt like when I met Jesus that long ago day at that camp on a lake up on the panhandle of Idaho.  Either the whole world was brand-spanking new, or I was, and it was pretty obvious which had changed.  Clean, new, fresh--yep, all those words one might use for a brand new baby could have been used for me back then.  Complete with the bonafide hunger I had for milk, and more milk and more and more and more, said the baby.

Another word the New Testament uses with great abandon, no, with great purpose--a word that we shudder to use these days--is saved.  "I was saved." "When were you saved?"  But I've been thinking a whole lot recently about that word again.  Just yesterday I had a conversation with a doctor (at one of Thyrza's appointments) about Job.  He suggested we all always ask the question, "Why me?"  I'm sure over the long years of his practice (he's mostly retired now), he's seen enough to know this is true.  But I told him honestly that I've never really asked that question.  I said I might as well ask the question, "Why NOT me?"  I mean, why shouldn't difficulties happen to me?  Why not disease, discomfort, pain and trial?  Why should I be exempt from anything that He intends for me?  This doctor was a little startled by me, it was clear, and we had a very good conversation, until his nurse knocked on the door, reminding him of his business.  But on the way home I got to thinking about why on earth my attitude is so unusual.  And all I can come up with is that He saved me all those years ago, He did what He promised He'd do, which is to take up residence in me and re-create me.  It's His influence.  Or not merely His influence, but His very presence in me, indwelling me that makes me view things differently than other people.

I can take little credit for it.  I know exactly who I am, exactly what I'm capable of.  How petty, selfish, weak.  Any good that I do, is Him.  That's what I claim on this day of my re-birth.  On my salvation anniversary.  Thankfully, I don't fully know who I would have been without Him.  I don't need a George Bailey "It's a Wonderful Life" experience in order to value this life.  39 years and counting, I've been living reborn, re-created and indwelt. Just call me George Bailey, without all that drama.  That's good enough for me.

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