Saturday, April 27, 2013

scarlet hope.

You know how I love to turn college assignments into blog posts!  Here's another one for you, from a recent paper on Rahab.  (In case you're not familiar with how two Israelite spies find themselves in the hands of a Canaanite prostitute, you can find the story here).

Rahab was all wrong.  The wrong race.  The wrong gender.  The wrong profession.  She was a Canaanite.  She was a woman.  She was a whore.  She was marginalized, pushed to the fringes, literally living on the perimeter of her community. 

Rahab didn’t grow up in Sunday school, being taught all the right things to believe about God.  She may not have been able to recite the Ten Commandments or be familiar with what animal to sacrifice on what day for what sin.  But she did know a few things: She knew that Yahweh had given the Israelites the land and she knew that was a reason to be scared to death.  She knew that Yahweh had done incredible things already.  She knew that there was only one Yahweh.  And that he ruled over heaven and earth and everything else.  She knew that Yahweh valued all things hesed—mercy and faithfulness and kindness.  She knew enough to chose his side when two kingdoms knocked on her door.  And so he chose to use her.  Right where she was.  In the midst of her brothel.  He used her to keep his spies safe.  He used her to give Joshua another chance to make the right decision.  He used her to remind the Israelites of his faithfulness.  He used her to conquer Jericho.  He used her to bring the Messiah that would conquer Hades.  He used her to encourage Christ-followers across space and time to remain faithful.  

She had been used before.  In countless ways by countless men.  But that didn’t stop Yahweh from using her faith to bless His people and fulfill His promises.  He still chose her.  He absorbed her into the nation of Israel.  He gave her significance.  He redeemed and restored her.  And he gave her rest in his land.

The situation of many women (and men, if we're being honest) looks exactly like Rahab’s.  Enslaved by their circumstance.  Exploited in their weakness.  Ignored by society.  The situation of others looks nothing like Rahab’s.  They’re not all wrong.  In fact, they’re almost all right.  Almost.  But they still feel enslaved.  Exploited.  Ignored.

Like Rahab, we all mess up.  We let the world use us in countless ways.  We invite the Enemy in.  We sell ourselves over to him.  We let him strip us of our identity, our confidence, our freedom, our value.  And because we believe his lies, we convince ourselves that we belong in the dark corners of the perimeter. 

But we can, like Rahab, confess that Yahweh is sovereign Lord over all creation.  We can make a choice for radical change.  We can humble ourselves to Yahweh’s will so that he can draw us into himself.  We can we find redemption, restoration, and rest in him.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

time to wake up.

Meet my hero.  His name is Daddy.

A long time ago, I wrote this post explaining just a few of the reasons why I love him so-stinking-much.

Tonight the list gets longer.  Because today my Daddy faced his longest dream.  I won't go in to details.  It's not my dream to share.  And the details don't really matter as much as the fact that (today) my Daddy faced them.

"Facing" isn't a posture we typically associated with "dreams."  It seems to fit more naturally with things we want to avoid.  Like fears.  Consequences.  Disturbing facts.  Ugly truth.  But there is a dark side to all our dreams that is easy to avoid.  Dreams are scary.  They force us to move away from what is comfortable.  Engage the unknown.  Embrace risk.  Make ourselves vulnerable to the embarrassment of failure.  Sometimes it's just easier to live with the delicious ambiguity of our dreams than to actually take the step toward making them come true.  Sometimes we've been holding on to a dream for so long that the thought of losing it to reality is too much to handle.  Sometimes dreams are so fantastic and outrageous that we resign ourselves to the fact that that's all they'll ever be... dreams.

Like I said, dreams are scary.

Today my Daddy was brave.  Today he faced his dream.  Today he woke up and made his dream reality.  I am so proud of him.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

dye this.

When I was younger (like last year and all the years before), I totally missed the point of Easter.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know... it's about Jesus dying on the cross for me and the fairy tale ending of the resurrection.  And eggs! And bunnies! And chocolate! And pretty new dresses!  Honestly, waking up to a basket the Easter bunny left and finding the most eggs in the hunt after church kinda over-shadowed that first part.

Until this year.

My faith is changing.  Slowly, my Creator is bringing me to a new understanding of my relationship with Him.  But all this talk about being blue and treasured and righteous hinges on one single moment in history.  The resurrection.

It's not enough to believe that I was made by God.  Or that He loves me.  Or even that He sent His only Son to die for me.  Don't get me wrong, all of that stuff is important.  It's just not the point.  In fact, without the resurrection, it's actually all point-less.  Without the resurrection, Christ's perfection is wasted on the grave.  Without the resurrection, Christ's sacrifice is noble, but insufficient.  Without the resurrection, sin and death win the battle for my soul.

But the resurrection changes everything.  The power of Death died the moment Christ rose from the tomb.  By conquering Death once and for all, Christ sealed a new future for all who believe in Him.  He became the Way to this relationship I've been talking about.  His perfection becomes my perfection.  His sacrifice becomes my sacrifice.  His resurrection becomes my resurrection.  His life becomes my life.

The old is gone.  The new is here.  Praise God!

At the death of death
where love and justice kiss
We were born to sin
and only you forgive
In your final breath
grace and mercy win
At the death of death
You died and rose again

(The Death of Death, Charlie Hall Band)