Wednesday, March 13, 2013

failing to notice

Written by William Graddy, my good friend, who was also my English professor at Trinity College in Deerfield, IL

Read Exodus Chapter 3 and Matthew Chapter 11

And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great sight, why this bush was not burned.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called out to him. From Exodus 3:3&4

We often fail to notice many of the gracious things God does for us day by day.  Some of this blindness owes to our sins.  When our fallen nature, or our “flesh” rules, our perceptual grids change accordingly.  And grace is simply invisible to the fears and lusts that dictate what a self-sufficient soul heeds. 

Sin isn't the entire explanation for our failure to see specific graces, though.  God often hides His handiwork, changing water into wine, arranging for upper rooms and unridden foals so quietly that, if we don't peek around the corner, or inquire into what we habitually take for granted, we'll never know that they were prepared for us, already ours for the finding.  Then there are our habits of attending to whatever is most pressing, which often means attending to whatever is loudest or largest at the moment.  Seldom is God's voice loud, or His graces phosphorescent.

Consequently, it would seem wise to do two things:  pray for ears and eyes that are attuned to the spiritual and the subtle; and decide, perhaps a couple of times in the course of a day, to look and listen past the clamorous and the immediate.  What still, small voices might we hear?  What burning bushes or ravens bearing bread might we see?

The second claim I want to make is that our bondage to duties us in large part to our focusing on what others expect of us, to the exclusion of what God has planned for us.  We confidently quote, "I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  But we usually do so when we're looking at a crisis, something that threatens our livelihood, health, or safety.  When we're simply occupied with our duties we seldom ask what plans God has for us in the midst of, or sometimes instead of, those duties.

"His yoke is easy," we murmur, piously capitalizing the "H" instead of shouting, as we should, the entire pronoun:  “HIS yoke . . . .”  Doing so would remind us that many of the heaviest, most galling yokes we bear might just be ones we've taken upon ourselves, not the ones a loving Father has chosen to carry along with us.

Yokes we might be authorized to put down.  Graces a loving Father has already accomplished and delivered. Resources that would have gone unnoticed:  How many transmitted messages of God's love do we allow our habits, our busyness, our lusts, and yes, our best intentions, to jam altogether, or to scramble back into the familiar but fatal alphabet of the flesh?

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