Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday thought: Steady

After reading John Piper's poem "The Calvinist", I have been contemplating that word he uses to describe someone who trusts in a sovereign God: steady.

I was reminded of an event several years ago when my son, Tim, was running at Div. III cross-country nationals, and my good friend Angela had joined us at the course.  We made the mistake of walking the course the day before the race with the assistant coach (whose job it was to mother the runners).  After 45 minutes of walking the course with a constant commentary of things like, "I bet a hundred runners slip over this stream.  I'll be purposed if we don;t see broken bones..." and "This is a tight spot-- they will be pushing and shoving here,"  I found myself feeling slightly sick to my stomach and very nervous for my dear boy.  The next morning as we waited for the start, I felt positively ill.  And my sweet friend Angela reminded me, "Chris, this is where being a Calvinist is supposed to pay off!"

Holding steady and acting on what you know to be true despite how you feel sounds wonderful in the abstract.  But it is hard work in reality.  It's much easier to let our feelings have their way, and to follow wherever they may blow. As a matter of a fact, I think it would be impossible without God's gift of grace that gently calls us back to himself.

This time of year I am reminded of the steadiness of  Joseph.  He wasn't buying the whole virgin birth story,  but he was kind, and thought to put Mary away quietly to help her avoid scandal.  Then God, in an incredible work of grace, spoke to Joseph in a dream, and steadied him.  He stayed the course after all.

And I think about Mary, who believed the angel, and hid things in her heart.  How did she do that?  We get a glimpse here, in Luke 1: 46-55.  May her song be ours, Gentle Reader:

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and rejoices in God my Savior, for he  has looked on the humble estate of his servant.  For behold, from now on all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy of sfor those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imaginations of their own hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant, isreal, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

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