Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Which We Learn About Reality

This morning started off like most weekday mornings at our house. I went into the girls' room to get them up. I told Emma it was time to get up and she said, "There's no school today", rolled over and covered herself back up. It's not that she was confused about the day of the week. She knew it was Tuesday. She further knew that Tuesday means school. However, she was making a declarative statement. She had decided that today would be a school-free day. Unfortunately, Emma had to learn a difficult lesson this morning: we cannot create our own reality. In Emma's world there would have been no school today. It would have been a day full of lollipops and gumdrops, video games and princess movies. But alas, Emma doesn't live in Emma world. She lives in the real world. And no amount of declarative statements, regardless of the force and conviction with which they are delivered, will allow us to change our reality.

The reason this stuck with me is that I see so much of myself in Emma's statement, in her desire to make things be as she wishes them rather than accept them as they are. How often have I done the same thing? How often have I tried to justify my own sinful behavior by comparing myself to others rather than to God's perfect standard? I'll say, "It's not that bad, not that big of a deal, not really that sinful." But no matter how often I say that, God's word is plain-all sin is abhorrent to God.

How often do we see this in other people? I read the other day where Bernie Madoff, the guy who swindled so many people out of billions of dollars said, "I'm not a bad person." My apologies, Mr. Madoff. I was under the impression that being a liar and thief, that stealing people's savings accounts, and college funds, that lying about it and covering it up and living in luxury at the expense of others did in fact make one a bad person.

We can't change our reality. But the good news is that we serve a God who can. Rev. 21:5, "And He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold I am making all things new." We serve a God who was not only able to create the world we live in; He is able to recreate our world, to recreate our reality. And this isn't some abstract concept. This goes to the core of who we are. The reality we all live in is that we are sinners who are separated from God. The reality is that there is nothing we can do to change who we are. We are sinners by birth and sinners by choice. We return to our sins, like a dog returns to its vomit. But in Christ, who we are can be changed. 2 Cor. 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!" In Christ, our reality can be changed. Rather than being sinners, we are made into saints. Rather than being separated from Christ we are baptized into Christ. And who we are is no longer who we were.

Remember in John 2, when Jesus was at the wedding in Cana? The host ran out of wine. Jesus told them to fill 6 jars with water; when they drew the water out to serve it, it was miraculously changed into wine. Jesus changed the reality, didn't He? He made it into something completely different. And that's exactly what He can do in our live. When we come to Him in faith and repentance, when we bow to Him and acknowledge His rightful place as Lord and Ruler of our lives, He makes all things new. Who we are, where we're going, everything is changed. For that we ought to worship Him. Even when we have to go to school.

Father, thank You for being able to recreate my reality. Thank You for saving me, for forgiving me, for placing Your affection on me. Help me to live not in the reality I desire but in the reality You have given me. Help me to find my joy, my fulfillment and satisfaction not in other things but in You alone. Help me to rest in You, and be content with wherever you place me. Amen.

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