Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.
Rush Hour

Rush Hour

Last week I had business in Atlanta and Chattanooga.  I had a meeting in the morning, in north Atlanta, with a witness, to prepare for an upcoming trial.  Afterward, I had a meeting with another witness in Chattanooga.  Late in the day, I returned to Atlanta to track down a third witness.

When I got back to the north side of Atlanta, I called the remaining witness to see if I could come by his house to meet with him.  As it turns out, it was not possible for me to meet with him in person, but I spoke with him by phone for about forty-five minutes.

Meanwhile, my daughter Shea, was en route from Columbus to Augusta.  When I finished interviewing the third witness, I called Shea to see how far along she was on her trip home.  Providentially Shea, who was approaching Atlanta from the south, was about the same distance away as I was from the north.

So I suggested that we meet at a restaurant on the east side of Atlanta.  Both of us had to pass through late afternoon, early evening rush hour traffic.  Even though we came from different directions, along with hundreds of thousands of other drivers, we arrived at the same place within a minute of each other.

I was impressed.  Was it a coincidence?  Chance?  Luck of the draw?  Maybe, but that’s not how it felt to me.

Shea and I enjoyed a bowl of soup together and then got into our respective cars for the two hour plus trip home.  It was a difficult drive.  It rained cats and dogs on us the whole way  — pouring rain and water all over the highway.  We drove slower than the speed limit just to make sure we didn’t hydroplane off of the freeway.  (Way to slow for Shea, I’m sure)

Shea is a good driver, but she has been driving for less than a year.  I was very concerned about her even following me home.  If she had been making the trip completely on her own, I would have been even more concerned because of the dangerous driving conditions.

When we arrived safely home, I found myself spontaneously thanking the Father for arranging everything for our good — in this case for Shea and me.  Maybe nothing would have happened if we had made our own way back separate from each other.  Perhaps, I kept Shea safe; maybe she kept me safe.  But I do know I was grateful because the Father arranged all those circumstances just for me — from one daddy to another.

I realize of course that there are skeptics out there who have plenty of natural explanations for Shea and I arriving essentially at the same time through rush hour traffic coming from entirely different directions.  I don’t have to look far for that kind of skepticism — because its always close by — inside of me and all around me.  But I resist the temptation to believe it.  Rather, I choose to believe in love.

I suppose each of us have a little bit of Nicodemus (John 3) and a little bit of Mary Magdalene (John 8) in us.  Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night for fear of the Jews, and wanted to know how a man can re-enter the womb of his mother and be born again.  Mary Magdalene, on the other hand, thought by many to be the woman caught in adultery, was forgiven much and, therefore, loved much in return.

The Nicodemus in us is a little skeptical, he wants to make sure we don’t get duped or dupe ourselves.  Mary, on the other hand, follows love.  Most of us have tendencies in both directions — at times we have to work things out in our minds and at others we follow our hearts.

As an aside to all the skeptics out there — you know who you are.  There is room for skepticism, but it’s a small place.  I cannot think of a single time where Jesus praised someone for being skeptical.  But he did say:  “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  We seem to have an overabundance of skepticism, but faith appears to be in short supply.

By the way, you know you’re a skeptic if, right at this moment, you are constructing an argument against what you have just read.

Nevertheless, it’s good to use our minds; as it is to follow our hearts.  But I think in the faith life we have to be careful.  If we allow our minds to over influence our hearts, we may never achieve love’s goals.  Some knowledge, the really important kind of knowledge, only comes through the heart, not the mind.

Perhaps, this is why Paul tells us that our minds must be renewed, but our hearts must be enlightened so that we may know … (Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 1:18)

I know this can be a little complicated and I have over simplified the discussion, but I also know I do better when my heart takes the lead and my mind is second in command.  Because, I think (there you go … ) faith, hope and love grow in the heart and, then and only then, do they permeate the mind.

Enough of that, please consider this:

What if God really does exist?  What if he really rewards those who seek him? (Hebrews 11:6)

What if he really does work out everything for our good if we are called according to his plan? (Romans 8:28)

What if he loves each of us so much that he treats us as his friends and makes known to each of us what his plan is so that we can live according to his plan? (John 15:15)

What if mercy really does triumph over justice? (James 2:13)

What if love really wins?

What if he loves us bigger, better, more perfectly, with deeper affection, with our good always in mind, a thousand times wider, longer, deeper  and higher, than we love our own children, or whomever we happen to love most in our lives.

What if “our good” really is our good and is the very thing we would want for ourselves and those we love, if only we could see it from a perspective that allows us to see it?

What if it’s all true — every bit of it.  Everything we always hoped it would be and even more?  What if our “way out there”, wildest dreams about God’s love are really true.

What if he loves us with an unending love, a love that holds us and never lets go, a love that never takes its gaze away from us and always sees us as the apple of his eye?

Would we be thankful then?  For everything?  For every detail of our lives?

A young woman where I work has a note posted on her desk that reads:

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

What if … ?

 

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Comments

  1. This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Many thanks for sharing
    this one. A must read post!

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