Please pray for two of my blogging / Internet friends and their families. Ginni lost her son Jon yesterday to cancer. He was only 36.
Trish lost her mom early Monday morning.
*** My regular Thursday post is below.
I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. . . . The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.
At the end of the summer, I was digging up an iris bed because of an infestation of iris borers. Borers are insects that rot out the rhizome (the fleshy root that looks like a yam). After digging up the bed, I sat and cut away all the rotten parts and divided the remaining pieces for replanting. As I sat there slicing through rhizomes and tossing away rejects, a sudden flash of insight hit me. I grew up in a church that emphasized salvation versus hellfire and damnation. God is portrayed as eager to separate the sheep from the goats—or the incurably rotten from the good, as I was doing with my irises. Sitting there in the warm August sun, I concluded that I don't view God that way anymore. Instead I see him more as an overall gardener: feeding and watering plants, pruning a bit here and there, propping up weak stems with support, and providing restraint where needed. The purpose of all this activity is not to sort out the good plants from the bad. It is to try to help each plant in the garden grow as full as possible and bear the most fruit.
Then the lion said . . . "You will have to let me undress you." I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. . . .
Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt—and there it was, lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me—I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on—and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again.