I’m feeling a little melancholy this morning, which is a bit unusual since lately my emotions have generally had a direct correlation with the amount of sun in the forecast (today there is lots of sun). I have a meeting at a clinical site in the burbs this morning, so I spent about an hour in the car listening to NPR, which meant about one hour of coverage of the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings.
It’s hearing the details of an event like this that really shakes me. Or, rather, brings me back down to reality. Reminds me of the very true fact that we are guaranteed nothing. That we are human, and really anything that goes right in our lives is the direct result of a gracious God who moves among us when we are least mindful of him.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our little lives, isn’t it? I find myself feeling genuine gratitude for the ways God has blessed me, and the gifts he has given me. And yet, when tragedy occurs close by and I am reminded of the brevity of this life, I want to hold on tight to these things. I suppose this is a pretty natural response. Someone tragically loses their 8-year-old with no warning, and you want to run to your own 8-year-old, squeeze him tight, and keep him close by. But the thing is that we really don’t have control over anything in this life. Absolutely the only hope and confidence we can have is in the Creator of the universe. And how can we have this hope unless we know this God? I mean really Know know him.
I arrived at my destination a couple hours before my meeting after driving Jeremy to the train this morning, so I’ve been sitting in a Starbucks sipping, thinking, reading. I recently started reading through the book of Mark and this morning I found myself in chapter 4, which is where Jesus tells and explains the parable of the sower. You know, the one where the sower sows his seed, some falls on the path (and gets eaten), some falls among the rocks (sprouts up, and gets scorched), some falls among thorns (grows up but gets choked and doesn’t yield any grain), and some falls on good soil (grows, and turns into a whoooole lotta grain).
It’s a famous parable, and if you’ve grown up in the church you’ve probably heard it hundreds of times. Directly following the parable, Jesus explains what it means (which he doesn’t normally do right after telling a parable). What struck me most this morning was this:
“And others are the ones sown among the thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
How easily do the cares of this world, even the deceitfulness of riches, and especially desires for other things enter in? I am so easily pulled into my own universe to be concerned with the details of my own circumstances, accompanied by a casual forgetfulness of Christ. It’s no wonder, then, that what happened in Boston reminds me of the shakiness of the life I’m constantly temped to think I’ve built.
Let us be reminded today of the mighty rule and reign of Christ, and what a humbling reality it is that he would enter into relationship with us. And let us also be reminded that while it’s a humbling reality, it is a reality. It is good news that he deeply loves us, intimately knows our hearts, and is working to make all things new.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39.