Monthly Archives: October 2011

Who Am I?

I’m going to need you to get out of your own world for this one. For these next few paragraphs you’ll need to sit back and actually contemplate the magnitude of what is going on around you.

 

As you read this, I assume you are sitting at a desk or in your living room. As you sit still, how fast are you actually moving? Yes, in an earthly, horizontal sense you are sitting still, but what about apart from the earth? As you sit still, you are sitting on a moving planet, so in reality, how fast are you actually moving? There are several different factors we need to consider to actually find out. First off, our planet rotates on it’s axis. But more than that, it wobbles as it spins on that axis. The speed of earth’s rotation is about 1,041.7 mph. Now secondly, the earth is also orbiting the sun at a speed of 69,360.73 mph. So, so far we have three different directions of motion, orbit, spin, and wobble. All put together for a combined speed of 70,402.3 mph. That’s the easy part. Everybody knows about wobble, spin and orbit. But there are a few more factors to take into account to calculate how fast you are actually moving as you read this.

For number four we need to take into account the center of our galaxy. The sun, and therefore the entire solar system, is actually drifting towards the constellation Hercules, more specifically the star Lambda Herculis, at an approximate speed of 43,200 mph. Now also we must consider that the solar system itself is actually moving upwards at 90 degrees to the plane of the Milky Way galaxy at 15,624 mph. The sixth factor we must consider is the orbit of the solar system around the Milky Way, at an approximate speed of 446,500 mph. Feeling a little sick yet? There’s one more to consider, but let’s add up what we have so far. From what we’ve said, as you read this, you are actually moving at a combined speed of approximately 574,585 mph, in six different directions.

Now for out last factor, we see that our galaxy itself is moving at 1,339,200 mph through the universe! So to add it all up, with wobble, spin, earth’s orbit, the solar system’s drift, the upward motion of the solar system, the orbit of the solar system, and the movement of our galaxy, you are actually moving at a speed of roughly 1,913,785 mph, but in seven different directions!

 

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that your care for him?” Psalm 8:3

This is what baffles me. No, not what I just explained, but what the weight of that verse in light of what I just explained. Not the speed of the universe or motion of our galaxy, those are mere shadows. What baffles me is, the Substance to whom those shadows point, He loves me? This is what I don’t understand. That God, who created these wonders, before he created anything, set His eyes on me. This puts in me the most profound and confounding question in Christianity. No, not the question of predestination. No, not the question of the inerrancy of Scripture. But this: who am I? Who am I that the Lord would choose me? Who am I that I would be the object of His grace and affection? Who am I that the Lord, would indeed, do “The Hardest Thing”? Who am I that men such as Stephen Hawking would be left to baffle in the shadow, yet I’m given the grace to see and praise the Substance creating those shadows? It certainly wasn’t anything in me that provoked this out of the Lord. I tell you now, with full confidence, I am in no way better than Stephen Hawking. I am no better than Sigmund Freud or John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

So why? Why would the Lord willingly choose the set his redeeming love and affection on mere wicked and needy sinners such as you and I? In all my prayer, in all my struggling with this question, I’ve found no other answer than Ephesians 1:6. For His glory! This is why. And when the Spirit gives me clear eyes, I see that His glory made it worth doing the hardest thing. Although agonizing, “it pleased the Lord to crush him…” (Isaiah 53:10). And that pleasure wasn’t flowing from how “awesome” or “worth it” I would be to save, but rather how unawesome and unworthy I am to be saved, and in that, have the glory of God shine brightest in the salvation of a wicked, perverse and rebellious soul! Praise the Lord that the very apex of the glory of God, namely His grace, would be set on and displayed in you and I.


The Hardest Thing

That line has been stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks now. It stems from the selfishness of the heart, and how often there is a misunderstanding of the Gospel. In talking to an eclectic collection of people, some friends, others strangers, one theme has been constant; a question on how it is possible for God to love and forgive us after all we’ve done. Inevitably every conversation I have been part of recently that begged this question winds up, wrongly I might add, at the same conclusion. “God can’t forgive me, what I’ve done is too horrible and I’m too far gone” or “God will never forgive me, I’ve chosen so many other things over him, he’s tired of my apologies”.

The answer to this misconception and misunderstanding of the Gospel is that God already did the hardest thing. The costliest, most loving thing he could have done for you, for me, he has already accomplished. That’s the root of the gospel. On that fateful night,in the garden, Jesus prayed. He cried out to the Father, fully knowing and understanding the Father’s will for his life, because that will was put in place before anything was. He cried out to the Father knowing full well that what he was about to endure was unimaginably painful, and undeserved. He cried out with sweat dripping like drops of blood because the culmination of what he had come to earth to do was close, and in that moment the enormity of the suffering and pain he was to endure he could not do on his own strength (Luke 22:39 – 46).

The Father loves the Son, and the Father loves his creation. Sin entered and fractured our relationship with the God. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8“. That’s the hardest thing, that in my transgression and iniquity, in the middle of my pride and idolatry, God sent his son, with whom he was well pleased to die a death so gruesome and undeserved. The hardest thing that though Jesus was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but gave up his stature, his comfort and his life to give me life (Philippians 2:6 – 10). The hardest thing is wrapped up in that demonstration of love and grace on the cross, a love that defeated sin by paying for it in full, love that defeated death through the resurrection of Christ, that’s the love that we boast off. Thats the grace that we live our lives under, and thats where the power of forgiveness lies.

So no, the hardest thing is not for God to forgive your sinful, wicked heart in your current failings. He already did that, while you and I were sinners (Romans 5:8). A belief in the contrary is contrary to what we believe. His love was poured on us by Him sending His son. Our right standing with God is based on someone’s good behavior. Good thing is that behavior isn’t yours or mine but His Son’s.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16