"We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." -2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
I'm a very lucky man. Yes, very lucky to be alive. Or shall we say blessed?
You see early on when my mother became pregnant with me she went to the Doctor in severe pain. The doctor gave her a brief examination, took no scans of any kind but decided quite assuredly that the egg was caught in the Fallopian tube, and that the pregnancy needed to be terminated immediately. In fact it was urged that it should be done that day. And thank God himself that my mom was a trained nurse, and she knew that it could be any number of issues, it wasn't necessarily this issue. And my life almost ended that day, in abortion. But my mom knew better. And I survived. I was delivered on a holy Saturday, and there were no doctors available, because it was the resurrection weekend. But finally a doctor was found, though my head was caught and stuck during the birthing process, and they had to do a C-section to free me. But I survived.
The doctors couldn't decree my death sentence, because God knew my mother would become a nurse, an RN, and have the knowledge to know the truth. Imagine if my mother had been a dentist or an electrician?
It's not that my life amounts to much, it doesn't. For most of us, in the grand scheme of things we're very little. We don't matter all that much in the mechanisms of history. Though maybe that's not completely right. Maybe we really do matter more than we realize to the course of history.
Who can fail to recall that classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life." Think of how history and events had been so Impacted in the small town where George Bailey resided. One man, so deeply impacted a community. Now I know that this film is a work of fiction. But the themes run true.
How would the world be different if you or I had never existed? Things would indeed be very different. Thousands of lives we've effected, for better and often, for worse. And think of the people they've impacted, the people we've impacted have often gone on to impact thousands or even millions of others.
Scientists tend to take a uniformitarian view of the past, that history remains basically static in a geological and biological framework, but catastrophism seems just as likely, given how small events can have such massive world-changing impacts on the world.
One life really does matter. It really really does. We think we can do so little. But we can actually make a huge difference. And I don't mean if we have millions of dollars or know the right people or have social media influence. I mean anyone with a little determination, rich or poor, dumb or smart, can make a huge difference. It's true. All you have to do to begin is to believe that it's possible. And it is.
Each of us lives a series of moments through our lives, and those moments define our lives. And we have to try and make the right choices, so that we can make a difference for good in the world. There is a lot of evil in the world. I mean, there is a ton of evil in the world. The norm is evil. And it invades the church, it sits in leadership positions and tries to guide the body toward false ideologies. It's a deadly danger. So the odds are stacked against us.
One life to live, in this life anyway. We've one life. So precious. We walk around and see all these people. I look at their faces. And I watch them. They're like works of art. Their faces are like paintings. Especially women, as a young man, I notice this incredible beauty. They look to me like royalty of some sort. There is an aura about them. I'm awe-struck by it, really. I can't help but notice.
Yet the things we do. The depraved things we lower ourselves to. And the chill of the cold, cold winds of winter that shoot through... Something is quite off. These works of art have gone quite oddly away.
So much beauty in the human condition, mingled with so much trauma and darkness. The contrasts are astonishing.
The beauty of a sunset, astonishing. The simply pleasure of watching a man cut an apple. I recall one time, when I was very young, I was on a train or something, some sort of travel destination. I think I was in Atlanta for the 96 Olympics, or something like that. And I was young, about 11 years old. I was watching this man, sort of hunkered down, carving the peeling off an apple. He had a blade in his hand and was carving a line out of the apple, moving the apple in a circular arch, the blade gliding across the apple. And I was awe-struck in this moment. Then I noticed another man, watching him carve up the apple as well, and the man looked at me, and smiled, like he knew I was marveling at the beauty of the man carving up the apple. It was a powerful moment in my memory. Things as simple as this...
They are the moments that define our lives. They are the memories that transform us. And God is guiding those moments. He's weaving the strands together. He's the orchestrator behind the meta-narrative. He's the author, writing the story, clicking on the typewriter, putting it all together. And he nods to us in our memories. He speaks to us, sometimes backwards in time. When a strand come to fruition in the future, we look back and notice how he brought it all together, and we access a memory and see God there, nodding to us, and smiling. He works through people you see. It is his great and odd pleasure to work through mere humans.
"For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." -Isaiah 53:2-7 ESV
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