Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

February 05, 2004

For Christmas my son gave me a daily devotional by C. S. Lewis. It had been some time since I'd read Lewis, but I'm as captivated by his intelligence now as ever. What wonderful stuff. The book is called A Year with C. S. Lewis. I'm tempted to share long passages from it almost every day, but, exercising great restraint, here's just a short sample (from the January 31 entry): This is my endlessly recurring temptation: to go down to the sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal. . . . Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted. We are in fact like honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle. But we dread a rise in the tax. We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope--we very ardently hope--that after we have paid it there shall be enough left to live on.

Yesterday I had two very rewarding conversations. I ran into Manuel quite by chance. I had started off for lunch without my hat. Realizing I would regret going out without it, I turned back, and so encountered Manuel. He has been walking in desert places lately, feeling very unsure of himself, of his future, perhaps of his faith. He told me that he had an opportunity to visit his family in Guatemala and was leaving Friday. I just sensed that this was going to be a very important reunion for him, perhaps a time of spiritual refreshing and renewal. I told him that L. and I would be praying for this. I told him also that I believed that God was calling him into a challenging new field of endeavor, and that often he leads us into the desert in order to prepare us for the task ahead.

Anyway, I told him all this under a sense of compulsion from the Lord. This was no chance meeting. And Manuel was clearly blessed, clearly happy to have bumped into me. I think it was definitely one of those Kingdom appointments.

I have been writing much on the subject of encouragement, but in truth God has shown me how often I really fail to encourage--how inadequate I feel to say the right word at the right time. Sometimes, often, the best I can offer is to listen in silence. Once I heard Lance Pittluck say that the Christian life is all about "just showing up." Just being there, being alert to what God is doing in a place, in a person, and joining in. As Pittluck says, when we walk into a Starbucks we should be asking, "Father, what are you up to here?" Because just as the Father loved the Son and showed Him all that He's doing (John 5:20), well, He loves us (because of the Son) and will show us too what He is doing.

So then I had another conversation, later on, with T., who reads this blog and will recognize herself. And I told her about what I've just told you--the Christian life is all about showing up. And I think it really blessed her. I think God granted me to really build up two people yesterday. To really show up! God is teaching me how easy and how awesome it is to serve Him by encouraging others.

So I just want to walk through my day today saying, Father, what are you up to here? Can I be part of it? What do you want me to do? It's so cool that He let's us play!


Post a Comment

<< Home