Does Jesus Matter in Life?

Does it really make any difference if we are Christians when we are facing real life circumstances?

I wonder if the average Christian truly has any expectation that the presence of God will actually impact the situations he or she is living through. And I also wonder, do we lack expectation because we lack faith?

Right now in my circle of life, there are all kinds of car issues. Our old van is more and more refusing to go into reverse. Laura’s transmission gave up the ghost all together. Shimmi just got hit with huge auto repair bills. On top of these needs I have loved ones facing foreclosure, facing medical debt collectors, and using roofing loans to pay for groceries.

Does an eternal Jesus matter in these concrete issues?

My mind goes to the Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis. Lucy was the first of four children to experience the all together Other Reality of Narnia that was far more real than their everyday England. And over and over people would doubt, malign or question the reality of Aslan, the great Lion who was the True King of Narnia. And over and over, Lucy looked for Aslan. She asked for Aslan. She hoped for Aslan.

And over and over, Aslan showed up in the most surprising ways. Unpredictable yet unchanging. I am learning to believe that if you never have need of a god, you are doomed indeed. It is in those “God I am hopeless unless You show up on my account” moments that we see we need a God, and we are not God. I think this is a good thing. And God is happy to be God for us. I think this is the best thing.

In one Nania scene when all seems lost, Aslan remarkably shows up, to which Lucy remarks, “You came!”

“Of course I came. Did you question that I would, child?” Aslan asks.

Lord give us Lucy hearts. Teach us to look for You in the hardest of moments with hearts of faith. And teach us to wait expectantly for Your appearing in our hard places.

“You surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12

Pink Pigs and Black Lab

Her name is Lucy.  She is a black lab that is a little over four months old. Wondering why you haven’t heard much about her?  Because her future has been on shaky ground these first 3 – 4 months…. What was I thinking to go back into Puppyland? But the verdict is in. She is definitely going to live, and live with us. I am so glad because this morning she provided a beautiful “Ah-ha” moment with the Lord about Unanswered Prayers.

The Lord and I have been talking a lot about the difference between feelings, facts and faith. Feelings are good, only not enough to build a life on. Facts are good but can be deceiving.  What are facts to me, may be not quite the whole picture from God’s perspective. My friend Mary made a great distinction between facts and Truth. She said facts are information but Truth is power.  Wow.  I loved that. And then finally, or rather ultimately, there is Faith. Belief in the unseen power, love and goodness of God. Ahhh– the squeeze begins.

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood.”
“Faith proved more precious than gold.”
“His ways are higher than our ways.”

Talk about tension.

God is revealing everything in my life that competes for His affection. I am pretty sure I want this or that. And He says “No, but you can have more of Me.”  I ask for something else. He says “No, but you can have more of Me.”  And on it goes.

I don’t feel bad about the process. I don’t think He does either. He is trying to show me how I go looking for the wrong thing, the lesser thing, the Un-needed thing over and over. He is painfully but lovingly showing me how I believe in what I can see more than what He has promised me. Enter Lucy.

Lucy has a whole bag of toys: Old shoes, a red lobster, an orange pumkin, and her favorite, “Blue,” a blobby blue toy with a face. Go figure. But every single day, I said every single day, Lucy sneaks into Charis’ room and nabs a pink pig slipper and lays down and begins chewing on it.

Every day I say no.  Some days she brings it to me as if to say, “Today?”  Other days, she waits ’til I am distracted and slinks off to her bed with it in her mouth. And of course I see her and take it away and give her one of her own toys. She seems oblivious to the fact that her whole world is governed by me; that I know the condition of her toys. I replace them as needed and buy her new ones just for fun. I buy her food and make sure she eats. I even clean up her many messes, some that are true accidents, and many that are on purpose.  But I do more than provide for her. I enjoy her.  I am here for her, but she is also here for me and my family.  There is an emotional exchange between us.

I am like Lucy more than I care to admit.  Every day, I ask for some stupid pink pig. Every day, I think that I have to scrounge, or that I can sneak, when the reality is, my world is governed by my Living God.  But I am more than a family pet to Him; I am His bride.

Really. You are too. Really.  Maybe faith is believing that those pink pigs are only distractions and the safest place I can be is in His arms.  There has been a Holy Exchange between us. I am here for Him. And He does more than provide; He enjoys me.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32