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Monday, September 14, 2015

Looking for Cracks in the Door

In early August I went with some girlfriends and their daughters to see NeedtoBreathe, a Christian band that has moved increasingly into the mainstream market.  If you have a certain image of Christian music that makes you think of your grandmother singing "and heeeee walks with me and he talks with me . . .", be assured these guys are legit rock stars.

(No respect to my Grandmom who could tear it up playing hymns on her piano.)

When I got home, I downloaded about 15 of their songs to add to the numerous ones I already had on my Iphone and I have rarely listened to anything else in the last month.  I've already written a post inspired by one of their songs and now I'm doing it again.  And they'll be another one, I'm pretty sure.  I'm addicted.

(This is not as problematic as when I was pregnant with Drew and found that I had a craving for canned pineapple and ended up eating it everyday until I had sores in my mouth.  Bless my heart.)

Anyway, when I wasn't listening to these songs in the last few weeks of summer, I was listening to the news.

(Cue Debbie Downer music)

These weeks were supposed to be fun and carefree and full of sunshine.  And yet, the news kept getting worse and worse as summer started to close. After so much bad news, I found myself listening to one song - Wasteland - over and over again.

Yes, our world can look like a Wasteland and the news shouted evidence of it.  Marriages and families in my own neighborhood have been ripped apart by the Ashley Madison scandal.  I told myself I would not look at those names.  I didn't want to know if any of those on the list would be familiar to me.  But eventually, I found myself, shamefully, scanning names, clutching my stomach as it churned for the pain this would cause spouses, parents and children.  I wish I had never looked.

I listened to the reports about the two young reporters killed on live tv by a deranged ex-coworker.  Thankfully, I have yet to watch the video.  Perhaps a lesson from my earlier voyeurism.

The refugee crisis takes my breath right out of my body.  Little children washing up on the shore?  Can't we do better than this?

There was more ISIS and cancer's relentless presence and people who think they are mature enough to lead an entire nation getting into Twitter battles like petulant teenagers.  Oh, and then there was Miley Cyrus and Kanye West at the VMAs, Texas losing the first game of the season and some how it slipped my mind that the 5th grade curriculum involves a science project complete with a Tri-fold board.  And that might mean a trip to a craft store.

Come, Jesus, come.

I went back to Needtobreathe's song, Wasteland again, playing it over and over and listened for hope, because hope is always there some where if you listen hard enough:

In this wasteland where I'm living, there is a crack in the door filled with light
And it's all that I need to get by.
Yea, in this wasteland where I'm living, there is a crack in the door filled with light
And it's all that I need to shine.

Oh, if God is on my side, oh if God is on my side, oh if God is on my side
Who can be against me?

At the same time, this scripture that the wise and wonderful, Anna Whitson-Donaldson, reminded us of a few weeks ago stuck in my head.

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

Think about these things.  These things?  They are out there in the world.  We've been talking about Genesis and the creation story in church.  And I am trying to remember each day that God called this world that He created good and He calls these people He created good.  And it is and we are.  We can sit in the wasteland and watch in horror and gossip about our neighbors or we can take the challenge He gives us.

Clean up this mess we made.  Don't look away from tragedy, but find the cracks in the door filled with light.  Be those cracks in the door.   We can focus our minds on good and just and pure and lovely and admirable.  And when we do that and we see that, we are able to believe in the truth that when God is on our side, we are given a power to to be light in the wasteland.

So I decided to this morning to look for cracks in the door.  Maybe you need to see some, too.  Here are a few.  How 'bout we fix our thoughts on these things.

* My pastor gave an incredible sermon entitled "House Rules" covering everything from being a husband, wife, mom, dad, daughter, son, or just a person in general.  It is one of the best and most timely sermons I have heard in some time.  GO HERE to listen.

*You wanna keep your eyes on what is good and pure and holy about marriage and at the same time see how technology can be used to repair people's hearts instead of shatter them?  Watch this:

*****AND OH THIS. !!!! THIS.  THIS.  This is very likely the best thing I've read on the internet maybe ever.  It is one of the most succinct, all encompassing, wonderful expressions of why I believe that even in this wasteland where we're living, my God is a good, benevolent God who loves us more than we could ever wrap our head around. My friend, Sandy, who knows a lot about the wasteland sent it to me.  This is another way I think this internet thing can work for good.  I think Sandy needed this.  I think I needed it.  I think we all might need it.

"Sometimes bad things happen for no reason other than we are human beings having a human experience. Pain, heartache, grief, loss, disease, and death are inevitable parts of the human experience.   God's will is not the path we walk, but rather how we walk the path.  God's will is not an event that happens to us, it's how we respond to what happens." - Christine Suhan

Maybe today the response is to look for cracks in the door.  Maybe the response is to be cracks in the door.  Have a blessed day, friends.  He's on our side.  Who could be against?

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