Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In orbit

Back in the dark ages when I was in college, I had a shelf full of fairly cheesy books that were meant to encourage me to love and good works.  Or something close to.  It seemed like every time I turned around, someone was buying me a gift book of one kind or another, with smaltzy (is that even a word?) poetry and insprational photographs.  But these little volumes usually failed to produce in me the kind of response which they were created to produce.  I don't know if it's because the words came across as too simple and easy for a life which often didn't seem to have rhyme in it, or if it's just that I'm not, by nature, not a very sentimental person, but when life was hard (and there were hard moments even back then), and I was trying to hang on by my sweaty, slipping fingers, short lines of comfort didn't increase my grip.  And that's what we need when life is hard and we're barely hanging on, isn't it?  Something--someone-that helps us hold on a little bit more firmly.

But there was one book, and maybe those of you of a similar age remember it, that I've been thinking about lately.  It was something like a child's picture book, with illustrations and single sentences across the page.  To tell you the truth, I can't remember anything of the content, but the title was A Still Point in Our Turning World.  I've been thinking of this profound truth the last few days, that God is the still point and my life turns around Him.  But, like the earth around the sun, my rotation isn't a perfect circle around my Lord.  No, it's an ellipse.  And, perhaps also like the earth, I also rotate on my axis so that sometimes my face is toward Him and sometimes it's bent farther away.  But always, always, the magnet that is God in my life, pulls me back around until I am facing Him, and closer to Him all at once.

Back to the place in orbit around Him where His voice is more clear, His purpose more distinct and all is well with my soul as a result.  Wow, I just remembered, really just this second remembered that I had a conversation with my dad in the last year or so before he died about this very thing.  Dad maintained that once a person had given his/her life to Christ, that person was in a circle of God's will.  He actually got out a sheet of paper and drew something like the orbit of a planet around a sun.  Dad said he believed that not even sin could knock a person out of that orbit, because salvation is salvation.  Sin only moves a person to a different place in the circle (as he called it).  But the Holy Spirit keeps us safely within that circle.

And I guess that's exactly what I'm saying today as well.  We might twist and turn and face the other direction, but He pulls us back around, and never moves.  I Am that I Am, He told Moses.  And on this first day of autumn, in a season of huge changes in my life, I feel Him pulling me back around.  And that is very encouraging, indeed.

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