Friday, July 12, 2013

What life would have been like


By the amazing coincidence that is God's hand at work, Beve and I surrendered our lives to Christ within three months of each other in the spring/summer of 1971. Yep, 71, back in the 'Jesus-people' days, for those of you who know what I'm talking about--when there were kids on street corners witnessing to everyone who passed by, who testified and testified and were sure they were living so close to the end times that they'd better get every last living one of us saved because all hell was about to break loose. Or all Heaven, I should say.  Beve and I had quieter conversion stories, at least more private ones, but what began that summer of 1971 changed everything and I have to go all the way back to before that to imagine any other life than this one.

This loving-Jesus one, I mean. Not always doing it well, not always making the right choices, not always even believing with my whole heart, but believing never-the-less. Sometimes doing exactly the opposite of how a 'Christ-one' might act, if that 'Christ-one' had actually stopped to ask Christ HOW to act before diving in and acting.
But here's the real question: what would my life have been like if He hadn't knocked on the door, if He hadn't hounded me, if I HADN'T surrendered myself that hot August day?  Who would I be now? I told Beve the other day that I think I'd be more petty, more whiney, more...more all kinds of things that make me shudder in remorse at the thought (and in remorse for how I am WITH Him).
Psalm 124 says, "If the Lord had not been on our said--let Israel say--if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive..." 
Read the whole Psalm (it's short, won't take but a moment) and you'll get a pretty graphic picture of what life is like without Him on our side. We're in the hands, the teeth, the whole territory of the enemy and our character, our behavior, our very souls would be twisted to ugliness just trying to survive on our own.

This Psalm gets right to the heart of the question of what might have become of us without Him. If the Lord had not been on our side through all the things that life throws at us, just imagine what we might be.
Likewise, if the Lord is not on the side of those we encounter, those we work and interact with, is it any wonder that they do not have the strength, peace, supernatural AID to empower them to be more than merely human? So they're angry, petty, easily offended. Of course they are.

When I think of life in light of these words--these beautiful words--it stops my grasping for more, my whining at my lot, my looking around at others. I am what I am because the LORD is on my side. How great is that? The only comparison I should ever, EVER make is to what my life would be like without Him.

And then I come back around to this Psalm and say in full voice, "Praise be to the Lord...Our Help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth."

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