Tuesday, 29 January 2013

You are God, I am not.

You are God, I am not. Not exactly a news flash. I’m confessing again.  Lucky I’m good at it! I feel like I do it all the time and that’s probably because I need to. 

God is God, I am not. I don’t want to be a skeptic and usually I’m not, but every now and then I find my brain becomes mush when pondering eternity or God’s greatness or even the universe and creation. My thoughts get so befuddled that I honestly have micro-moments of ‘this just can’t be!’  Then my personal life and experience reminds me, ‘oh yes it can be and it is!’ I’m reminded again that I am a small brain creature and God can blow my mind. Comprehension is not my strong suit, so when my grey matter gets in tangles, I rest in the knowledge that God is who He says He is.  The Bible is trustworthy. I know, because I’ve seen the evidence in my life and in the lives of those close to me who love Jesus.

Before I got married, my understanding was that God knew what was best for me and part of that was marrying a man who loved Him.  Unfortunately the man I liked didn’t believe God existed. He called himself an agnostic.  So we made a deal between us. I would prove God did exist and he would prove he didn’t. So I went out and bought “The Case for Christ” and “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, as well as “Letters from a Skeptic” by Gregory Boyd, all priced around $12 each (this is important to note). He went and bought a book called “The Case against Christianity” which cost him $60 (ouch).  I know it’s not all about the money, but I like to think I got more bang for my buck!!  So what happened next? I read my books and passed them on to the man I liked. He started reading his book and found it a weak and heavy read.  Anyway as time passed, questions were asked. Most were above me, but I had faith, so a lot of the questions weren’t an issue to me. I didn’t need everything explained before I believed God to be real. So I would send him and his questions on to someone more academic than myself.

I was working in a Christian health related organisation at the time and every shift we would ‘change-over’, which included discussing each client’s needs and then praying for them.  I will never forget what happened next. It was Christmas evening and I asked my friends and work mates to pray for the man I liked, that he would come to know Jesus personally. You will not believe their faces the next day at “change-over” when I told them our prayers had been answered that very day. There were tears, mostly mine, and there was joy and wonder and amazement.  God is faithful. 

I married that lovely man and we have two wonderful children. We love each other dearly but that does not mean that our marriage boat has escaped some rough weather, but we have not capsized!!  God showed us we could depend on Him in all the circumstances we face. That’s one guarantee all of us face in life. There will be challenges ahead and we will have to continue to depend on Him each step of the way.  I can only pray we keep focused on Him and the testimony He has given us. My Grandparents had 56 years of marriage and we are aiming to beat them! It’s only by the grace of God we made it through the rough weather and only by the grace of God that we can hope for many more years of annoying and enjoying each other.  Most of us have heard these verses over and over again.

Jeremiah 29:11 is very well known, but v12-13 are probably not quoted as often, but boy they are just as powerful. Listen to this; ”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 

All through the ‘Is God real or not’ challenge that we had for each other, God gave me a peace I had not had before. It was a peace that was not characteristic of me, because my personality is more uptight than peaceful.  I knew it was from God.  I didn’t know how it would end, but I knew it would be ok. My faith keeps me sane when my grey matter is turning to mush. Dr Timothy Keller spoke to a panel of sceptics. After one particular discussion he concluded that sometimes arguments against God can be convincing, even to him, but what can not be swayed is his personal experience. He can always fall back on “But God did this in my life”. Argument has nothing on experience.  I know I can’t rely on my mushy grey matter. I rest in knowing what God has done in my life.

There is no doubt in my mind that God is God, I am not.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

First time Les Mis

As a freshie to Les Mis, I had no preconceptions on what getting a gaggle of girls together for a curry and movie was going to lead to. I have been introduced to Opera's and I love them, not as much as my dear friend Lou, but I do love them and are so grateful her and her husband forced us to watch one. Musicals - well I'm not really sure the movie of Grease is classed as a musical, but as a child I watched it umpteen times.  And Grease was good, but Les Mis was utterly jaw-dropping.  I know that's terribly cliché, but I had no clue. After 2 hours I was hoping it wouldn't stop. I don't really know how to explain it. I think a fellow movie go-er sitting behind me expressed my sentiments even though she used language I would not use; after the last note was sung, and the screen went black she said in utter shock "Oh  my  g*d". I think most I spoke with afterwards were surprised at how good it was, even shocked, or maybe the shocking thing was just how much it moved to them.

I loved so much about it, the cinematography/special effects were amazing, they gave us huge shots and terribly intimate shots.  The singing got me, I love powerful and passionate singing.  I'm not saying all who starred were the best singers I have heard, some were, honestly, some were, but all were astounding fantastic at acting. In fact I would be so brave as to say that I saw some on the highest quality of acting I have ever seen on big screen.  I can't mention the singing and acting and not mention how utterly cool it was that the lot was filmed live, there was not pre-recording, they sang it as we saw it.  Which may not sound that cool to some, but I can truly appreciate that element of the production.

I don't know anyone who wouldn't know the song 'I dreamed a dream', I always have thought it pretty, but to hear it in context ... I can't describe it...context is the muscles behind this song.  I imagine that Victor Hugo, who wrote the book the musical is based upon, would have given Anne Hathaway a standing ovation for capturing the gut wrenching pain expressed in Fantines song - it wasn't pretty, is was misery. This is a good thing, in case you were wondering, and part of the reason I was raving about the acting.

As good as the music, singing and acting were, the story was the soul touching winner for me.  Someone suggested it was a redemptive story only hours before I saw it, but I wasn't really for the theme of redemption all the way through.  The honest prayers sung by Jean Valjean were so powerful, I was so moved by them, the example of a man who bears his soul, it was beautiful.  I wish I could be that honest with my Lord. The message; through all of life, there is hope, there is love and there is redemption. Thank you Jesus that we can pray honest, stricken prayers, as well as delightful, joyful prayers.  You Lord, hear us always.