When a new government takes office they often talk about transparency. They want their administration to be open and their action clearly understood by the public. That kind of openness is important. It was God’s intention for creation. That is the meaning in Genesis two that our first parents were “naked and unashamed”. There were no secret between Adam and Eve. They had nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Further, they were completely open with their God. When sin entered so did secrecy and separation from one another, and from God. The work of our Lord Jesus at the cross was to bridge that separation, cleanse our hearts, and restore that openness with God. David shared a wonderful prayer that is good for us to include with our’s each day. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”(Psalm 139:23-24) Openness with one another must begin by having complete openness with our Lord, and that through our life committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Matthew chapter eight is an account of a leper coming to Jesus asking for healing. Verse three tells us that “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him”. This is amazing, and would have been amazing to anyone who was watching at that time. Lepers were considered unclean. In fact, if they went near people they were supposed to shout “unclean, unclean”. They were completely separated from the community and no one touched them. And it wasn’t just that Jesus was God and knew what He was going to do. The whole characteristic of God, portrayed in this simple act, was that of that of a God who loves us deeply, and is willing to enter into even the very worst that this world offers. God has entered into your world and mine to deal with the uncleanness (sin) that we are incapable of changing. We are unclean, but in His shed blood we are cleansed and can come back into the community with our God.
[category Good Morning]
Young children learn the word “why” early, and use it in response to many statements we make to them. If we are asking them to do something, or to stop doing something that is harmful, we really can’t give them an answer they would understand. We are asking for compliance for their good. The reason comes from our experience and a view of life that they don’t have and can’t yet see. We have seen consequences to certain actions or inactions they have not. We are asking for trust in love. It is the way God deals with us when He gives directions that are for our good. Because we love Him we trust in His greater wisdom. The same with parent and child, but it is difficult. It takes patience, and persistence. Continuing to give guidance in love, especially in the face of repeated resistance, is painful. It has been painful to God, and it is painful for us. Yet there is hope. There is forgiveness. There is a new beginning. And the love, strength, and guidance of God never fails. We continue each day in the best wisdom God gives, trusting in the depth of love He has for each of us.
There are a couple of cheep ball point pens laying on my desk, the give away kind you find in a lot of businesses. I picked up one yesterday that had the Howard Johnson name and logo on it. That used to be a popular restaurant/motel chain, but has been out of business for years now. It was a mainstay that no longer exists. We can also think of the home improvement store Hechingers, more recently Radio Shack, and now Sear is closing stores. Things change. Anchors that we thought were firm in life are no longer there. Whether a business we’ve liked, a beloved family member, or even strength for a task we used to do easily, things change. There is sadness and we don’t like it, but it should cause us to hold more firmly to the One who does not change, Jesus Christ, the rock in the midst of all life. The Apostle Paul recognized the severity of this change, but said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”(II Corinthians 4:16) Regardless of what changes around us, or the clarity of our eye to see what is happening in the present, the Lord is near, and is working to renew all things, and bring them to their rightful place in His plan.