The Divine Showman

I’ve been going through something of a rough time recently. Know what that means? It means that this was the perfect time for God to step in and reveal Himself to me in another unprecedented and awesome way. And He did! Why? Because that’s the kind of God I serve. That’s my Daddy. When I fall and get covered in bruises, that’s when He’s keenest on being there to pick me up. When I’m not feeling all that wonderful or upbeat or like I can see my way clearly, that’s when He makes sure to be there to comfort me and to remind me He never went anywhere. That’s when He gives fresh revelations that turn your whole perspective around. That’s who God is: He’s a Father. He’s a Comforter. He’s a Lover. The Master of the tender embrace. Sometimes we all need a reminder. And that’s precisely what God delights in — reminding us of who He is and who we are to Him so that our joy may be restored to us, and with extra added on!

This time God reminded me of a simple fact. It was so simple I found myself laughing at myself. How had I gone on so long and never given this simple fact any serious thought? Or better yet, since I’d already known it, how ever did I manage to lose sight of it? It came to me as I started reading over my Bible recently, all the way through from Genesis to Revelation.

And this is the simple idea God got across to me: God loves to embarrass His enemies for the sake of his friends. 

No, I’m serious — He LOVES it! I didn’t say He likes it or that He finds it OK, you know. It’s what He does. This goes waaaaay beyond a hobby for Him. It’s who He is! Don’t believe me? I can prove it. I’ve seen it over and over again within these pages these past few days. For starters you can look at Deuteronomy 28:63. It says:

  • And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to naught; and ye shall be plucked from off the land wither thou goest to possess it.

The same pleasure He takes in establishing the godly is the same pleasure He takes in punishing the wicked! That’s who God is. He loves putting things right. He loves to serve up justice. Now our God is also a Lover. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked as He says in Ezekiel 18:23. He much prefers that they be saved. But God also isn’t a fool. He loves but He’s not blind. If the wicked will not return to Him no matter what then He will be pleased to punish their folly. He’ll fix their business and rejoice that He has, just as a detective would in knowing he’s put away a hardened criminal for a long time or as a housekeeper would over having finally gotten the incredible mess under control. No self-delusions for Him! He knows when to call it quits and start making the hard decisions. But if they will be turned to Him, bet your bottom dollar He’ll find a way to do it. It’s who He is.

Everything God ever does is automatically on the spectacular side of life. And the best part about it? He does all of those things for the benefit of His friends, His beloved, His children. (Remember: it’s not God who needs miracles — it’s us!) I’m writing this to show just a few of those things in the hope that someone will be encouraged by it and realize that God hasn’t left them, and that He never, ever, leaves anything half-done. Whether it’s the big things or the small things God delights in showing up, and showing up in ways that baffle and embarrass His enemies while making His friends look like bosses. It’s who He is!

Looking back on my reading now I’m realizing I’ve never seen God do anything for His people that did not display incredible wisdom and ability. Even the simple things! And whenever enemies were involved they were put to shame every single time. He loves turning things around. And when He does, expect it to be spectacular!

Let’s pick out a few choice occurrences. We won’t even need to go far before you see plainly that nothing God does can be traced by mere human understanding. Let’s go all the way back to the top. In the Garden of Eden God told Satan, the power behind the serpent, “I’ll put enmity between your seed and the woman’s; you shall bruise His heel but He’ll crush your head!” And it’s been that way ever since. Far beyond just that prophecy, throughout history and even down to today, the people of God have been battered and bruised too many times to count; and yet every time God shows up on their behalf the blow to the enemy is far worse.

Remember Abraham and Sarah? Yes, Sarah was barren. And then here is this “God” person telling them they would have children. Can you imagine the years of embarrassment and reproach Sarah had endured, and Abraham with her? Even among the very people who followed them around as their “servants” and their “household”? Can you hear the whispers and snickers in secret places from some, or see the lamenting and head-shaking from others? Yet one day God surely showed up! And He did it when she was no less than ninety years old! In any age of the world that’s nothing short of a medical miracle! His message in doing this? “If I promise it, it MUST come to pass; and your circumstances will have NO power to stop it!” How about now? Can you see all those people, near and far, suddenly having to shut up about Sarah and stew silently in their bitterness? They had lost — spectacularly! They had been convinced she would always be barren, and thus the subject of their jokes and ridicule. Nature and experience even seemed to be conclusively on their side. …But God!

And in Genesis 14 Abraham (called Abram at the time) did with God’s help, three groups with whom he had formed an alliance previously and 318 home-grown servants what 5 kings and their entire armies couldn’t do — they defeated, pursued and embarrassed the powerful armies of  the 4 kings that the aforementioned 5 kings had been utterly defeated by. And all of this to rescue his nephew. He ended up being the hero of those 5 defeated kings.

Or how about Isaac one generation later? Again God shut up all those who had felt bitter against Abraham for not having allowed his son to get a Canaanite wife, and who had felt justified by Rebekah’s barrenness. Twenty long years they laughed. And then suddenly she had twins! And another time, in the middle of a harsh famine, Isaac had the audacity to plant crops — and reaped a hundred fold!

I doubt I need to spend much time on the Israelites in Egypt. Pharaoh held himself to be a god among men. Yet look at how God embarrassed him! Even when his magicians could replicate the first few signs, Aaron’s snake alone defeated and devoured all of theirs; and they couldn’t change the blood back into water. Yet these were the servants of a god! And soon they couldn’t even keep up with Jehovah’s signs anymore. God upped the ante. Pestilence. Locusts. Darkness. And finally death. And in all this where were the god Pharaoh and his relatives, the gods of Egypt? Huddled in a corner in powerless silence, that’s where!

When Israel left Egypt, God purposely led them into the wilderness by the Red Sea, even predicting to Moses that the Egyptians would think they had been entangled in the land and would come to take them back. The result? God parted the Red Sea — right down the middle — and the gods of Egypt were powerless to keep it that way and save their own soldiers. God didn’t just make a way of escape — He shocked the whole world in doing it. Israel was stuck in the wilderness for 40 years after that momentous day and yet when they were finally to enter Canaan the whole region was afraid of them. Why? Because they had all heard of Egypt’s startling destruction ahead of Israel’s arrival. Hundreds of years later in the era of Samuel and just before King Saul, the Philistines still recalled those events with utter dread when Israel (very foolishly) brought the Ark of the Covenant into the camp as a lucky charm against defeat in battle (1 Samuel 4:6-8).

But before even jumping that far ahead, let’s stick to the wilderness a bit longer. Let’s go to Numbers 31. This is one of the most remarkable military campaigns ever recorded anywhere. Twelve thousand Israelites (1000 soldiers from each tribe) went up against the Midianites in a war of revenge ordered by God Himself. The remarkable thing about the situation is that when Israel came back from the battle they brought with them certain trophies. These were in the form of — get this — 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and a whole host of women and children (they had slain all the men in battle). After having been ordered by Moses to kill all the male children and all the women who were not virgins they were left with 32,000 virgin women (to say nothing of the children). Now for the questions: How many soldiers did Israel have to hack their way through to be able to carry home such a bounty? And how many women had they brought back in total to begin with? Because no matter how you spin it, those 32,000 virgins could not have been the majority. And we all know how men get about their mothers, children and wives. So it must have been a fearsome battle and Israel must have been ridiculously outnumbered from the get-go. And yet for all that, in verse 49 we are plainly told that not one of the 12,000 Israelite soldiers had failed to make it back home! That’s got to be one of the most embarrassing moments in military history from the perspective of the losers! God had His revenge, alright!

Or look at Korah and Dathan and Abiram, who rose up against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. God got rid of them in a totally new way at the time — He opened the earth under them like a trap door and sent them to their deaths. And what of Moses? While in Egypt it was said of him, “the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people” (Exodus 11:3). In the wilderness, in His defense of him, God says, “If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold…” (Numbers 12:6-8). God exalted Moses plainly for all to see. He intervened several times to defend Moses’ character from people like Korah and even his own brother and sister in the passage quoted above. God exalts His friends. He delights in doing so. It’s who He is.

The same was true of Israel. When they were about to enter the Promised Land and sent spies into Jericho, Rahab told them plainly, “I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt…” (Judges 2:9-10). And we see this happening over and over again. God exalted Israel in the eyes of the nations around them, both near and far. The job He had done in Egypt was so thorough that, faced with the prospect of an invasion from Israel, all Canaan sank into a horror of depression and fear. And it didn’t matter if they ganged up. In Joshua 10 God gives Israel the victory over 5 kings and their armies who had joined forces in hopes of defeating Israel. Outnumbered again, certainly, but God doesn’t rely on numbers to get Him his victories. And in the course of the battle God not only rained down massive hailstones from Heaven upon them, which killed far more of them than Israel itself had slain (and Israel had slain a great number of them), but He also stopped the sun in its course for about a whole day (verse 13) so Israel could complete their victory! Here are these people waiting for dusk to come so the darkness can aid their escape and there is God making the sun stand still in the sky to prevent just that!

How about Gideon who took a measly 300 men on God’s orders (it had originally been 32,000 but God brought the number all the way down to 300) and routed a joint army that had been described as “like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seaside for multitude” (Judges 7:12). Not only did these 300 send that entire army scurrying, but God caused the army to slaughter themselves in their confusion. That’s a few notches up from Leonidas’ 300! Or how about Samson who single-handedly defeated 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey? Later he removed an entire city gate and carried it up into the hills when they had planned to shut him in and assassinate him and finally, when they could have sworn they finally had him, he toppled an entire building by himself, slaying Philistines by the thousands (and himself in the process).

Few things I’ve read made me laugh like I did when I read 1 Samuel 5 and 6. It was just amazing to see how completely and effortlessly God made fools of the entire Philistine nation, who could have sworn that in capturing His Ark (from off the battlefield, no less) they had somehow proved the superiority of their own gods. It was also scary. The very day they brought the Ark home God started to show His power. They put the Ark in the temple of their great god Dagon, next to his statue, and all went to bed. Next morning they come into the temple to find Dagon lying prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant — God refused to be put on the same level of any god. The poor fools couldn’t take a hint. They scratched their heads, stood Dagon right back up and went to bed again at the end of the day. This time God got serious. They found Dagon lying prostrate again, but in pieces this time. His head was severed, as were his two palms. It must have been an eerie picture. It shook them up so bad that people stopped walking in the area of the temple that this had happened altogether! And then God turned up the heat. Plague in the city. Rats. Death. And for those who had escaped, painful diseases and swellings on their private parts. A very rude awakening indeed! This cycle continued throughout all 5 Philistine cities. One city would feel the sting of God’s wrath and hurriedly send the Ark away to the next, only to have the same result. And this happened for 7 whole months. Where was Dagon and the other Philistine gods? That’s probably what the Philistine people wanted to know too.

Finally they concocted a plan to ship the Ark back into Israel — they couldn’t handle it! Death and disease and plague all over the nation. It was too much. They even sent along trespass offerings with it, their way of saying “OK, LORD! We get it! We’re sorry! But please don’t leave these plagues behind when You go — take them with You or we’re all dead men here!” But just in case it was all a coincidence they devised a test. And God is not one to have anyone mistaking His direct action for coincidence, so He sure did order the test to have the exact results they had prescribed. But that has got to be one of the most scandalous moments in the history of religion. Here are people who thought they had defeated the God of their adversary and brought home His artifact as the ultimate trophy, only to have to send it back home again with even offerings attached when they didn’t even serve Him to begin with!

We could go to Elijah on Mount Carmel facing off against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 other prophets associated with Queen Jezebel — him and God alone.We could look at how they carried on and cut themselves and wailed pathetically for more than half a day, and then how in an instant God sent fire that burned up not only the sacrifice but the water in the trenches and even the stones of the altar, reducing them to nothing. We could go to Elisha’s time when God magnified the footsteps of 4 leprous beggars so that the Syrian army could have sworn they were being beset by thousands of chariots and horsemen and quickly abandoned their siege. Or there’s Isaiah’s time when that one angel destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers overnight. There are too many examples to mention in a single sitting.

Every time God does something for someone He makes a show of it. Thinking about it now, I don’t think there ever was a time that He did something on behalf of someone else that wasn’t spectacular. That’s just who He is — He loves surprising people. He loves doing the unexpected for those who love Him. And while He’s at it He invariably embarrasses their adversaries in the most amazing and even hilarious ways. One can’t help but shake one’s head in awe. And of course this aspect of God’s personality and methodology is summed up in the climax of human history, when Christ fulfilled that prophecy from way back in Genesis 3:15. Truly the Adversary bruised His heel. He was afflicted and tortured and then killed. But in return He bruised Satan’s head! He took a mere flesh wound, as it were, and instead dealt a deathblow to the powers of darkness once and for all. Paul puts it this way in Colossians 2:15: “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Christ publicly embarrassed the kingdom of darkness by His work on the cross. And the time is coming when the full implications of that will work themselves out and be plain to even the sternest of unbelievers on that last, great day.

So for me and you the lesson is this: don’t fear. Don’t be afraid. Trust God. Expect Him to show up in our situations. And expect it to be nothing short of spectacular! God is waiting to rush in suddenly, like a superhero, and put our enemies to shame! God never shows up and yet fail to be absolutely spectacular. It’s just who He is! He’s the Divine Showman!

“One shall chase a thousand and two shall put ten thousand to flight.” That’s His promise to us. Tell me that’s not utterly embarrassing the enemy and making us look amazing!

Image result for fireworks

Peace,
Walkabwoy

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Birthed Into Greatness

Two tiny cells become one
After the precious deed is done;
No more two are they,
But a single entity:
Destined to grow,
Destined to be,
Destined to thrive,
Destined to be free.

Time is the cradle.
Joined at the navel
To the life of the Protectress;
The child of an Empress.
Destined to breathe
Destined by decree
Destined to know
Destined to see

Divine will directs it
Divine Word erects it
From a minuscule construct
Into an inscrutable, astounding edifice,
And destines it to feel,
Destines it to give,
Destines it to hope,
Destines it to live.

Coddled by Nature,
Loved by the Creator,
It bides its time in silent safety
Counting down the birthing days
Destined to walk
Destined to speak
Destined to transition
To strong from weak

And at long last the moment comes
Though without fanfare or beating drums
The Life emerges healthy and whole
The universe welcomes its newest soul
Destined to dream
Destined to progress
Destined to love
Destined for greatness.

Birthed Into Greatness.jpeg

Peace,
Walkabwoy

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Knowledge is Power

Some real words of wisdom. God help us to stay humble as much in our knowledge as in our lack thereof.

Love Aloud.

It is often said, “Knowledge is power”.
Power; The ability to influence people or events. 2. The right or authority to do something.
We all have been blessed with knowledge. Some are favorably blessed with more than the average person and others study continuously to grasp as much as they can. It is common knowledge that the learned (whether book- or streetwise) are always the people who are continually making strides and seeing repeated occasions of success throughout their lifetime. Depending on the level of determination, the occasions of success will vary dramatically. (I encourage everyone to expand your knowledge (power) and increase your drive to do every task (no matter how small) the best you can. This will positively influence your moments of success. Remember though, your failures will increase too. Do not be discouraged; begin with a made up mind to progress and don’t stop until you’re…

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Remember… (Part 2)

Remember…

Remember Quote

Remember that life is short. You did not choose to wake up from your sleep last night, nor will you be able to choose whether you will awaken from it tomorrow. You do not even get to choose whether you will make it to bedtime today. Excluding suicide, of course; but this reminder is aimed at those among the living who wish to remain such. As for those who may be contemplating that path shrouded in shadows, remember this: that it literally is a path shrouded in shadows. Death is a country we all must pass through one day, but about which we know next to nothing. It is vain to hurry to meet it. If life has left you reeling from cruel blows and if circumstances have thrown you into despair, look around you, friend. You are not the worst of the lot. There are always those ahead of us and those behind. There are always those better off and those worse off. It is vain to dwell upon comparisons. Instead, may I encourage you to reflect on something else: no life in this world is anything less than exceedingly precious. No existence is inconsequential. Even if it feels or seems that way. Remember there is meaning in YOUR existence. There are people who hold YOU dear, even if you can’t see them right away. In life we must remember never to become blinded by the seen, the visible. Often it is enough to throw angels into despair. Look instead at the things we are apt to ignore because they are not tangible or visible to the naked eye. Indeed we often find they matter far more than the visible. When you are feeling as lost as a leaf in a whirlwind, look around and offer one kind word to someone you see who needs it. Make one tiny gesture of concern toward someone in a tight spot. You never know — you may just be throwing that person a lifeline; and you may just find yours in the process as well!

Remember that time marches on. Relentlessly. Unfeelingly, even. Nothing in this world, good or bad, lasts forever. The freedom and innocence of childhood passes quickly. So, too, does the springtime of youth. That first, uncomfortable day on the job is soon long gone and forgotten. That first kiss cannot be prolonged. The moment passes. We don’t get to eat that amazing ice cream cone for any longer than we actually do, no matter how we nurse it or how slowly we go. On the other hand, taking too long will cause it to melt, thus spoiling it for us (and making a sticky mess, besides); and at the end of it all, the pleasant flavour and the pleasure we get from having eaten that ice cream fades into memory. The pain of the injection needle and the dread we feel before the moment in question both ebb away into forgetfulness. Eventually that peerless love relationship between yourself and your amazing spouse will vanish too. If nothing life throws at you both can break you apart and dissolve your love and happiness, you will find soon enough that death can and will! The marriage vows themselves say it…

This means a few things. Firstly — that, tragically, pleasure is fleeting and impermanent. You will lose the things and the ones you love. That is inalienable truth. Objective Truth, even. Sex lasts but a few moments. It has to end sometime. The high from drugs are no different. (I’m not here saying that abusing drugs falls into the category of “Good”. The high is the focus here.) Nor are the highs from love and romance or from winning that big game or earning that promotion or being the life of the party. But secondly, it also means pain is fleeting and impermanent too! Eventually we learn to smile again after the death of a loved one. Eventually the horrible birth pangs of an exhausted mother come to term and thrown into labour for hours on end fade into mere memory. Depression doesn’t last forever. There is a way out, a time at which the clouds must disperse. Joblessness is also but for a time. Fear ebbs away. Fatigue vanishes with time. Joy comes in the morning! The lesson here is this: there is always hope. That is also inalienable, objective truth. Life is a series of ebbs and flows. The water is never still. Life is more like a raging sea than a tiny pond or a basin of water. The march of time robs us of so many things but it also makes newness possible. New mercies every morning are possible only because time marches on. New opportunities, new love, new happiness, new circumstances, new jobs, new friends, new perspectives are possible only because time is always on the march. So hang on to hope. It’s a big part of what makes us human!

Remember that you did not always know and that you did not have to know. Be patient with those who lack your knowledge and experience and wisdom, knowing that all your knowledge, experience and wisdom was gifted to you. You did not teach yourself your ABCs nor did you teach yourself to count. You did not teach yourself to cook. You did not teach yourself how to read and respond to social context. You did not teach yourself how to dance or walk or speak. You did not teach yourself to spell or to write or to sing or to play a sport or an instrument. You did not teach yourself how to do your job. You did not teach yourself anything you now know how to do. You may think you did. You may tell me about the difficult past you had where you had to do everything “on your own”, or how you just had an interest in something and decided to “teach yourself”. I promise you that you wouldn’t be the first, nor will you be the last. But remember: even if no one sat you down and directly instructed you on how to do any of those things you had to learn on your own, you had to have a template to follow. There had to be someone or something to copy. And even if it was harsh or disinterested, you received some form of criticism or feedback from somewhere. Otherwise, how could you have even known what to do or whether you were doing it properly or were even on the right track? Somewhere along the line you had to have interacted with people either directly or through books or videos in order to learn anything you now know. It matters not that you did not have direct or, shall we say, deliberate or wilful or intentional instruction from anyone. It does matter that you did have this instruction, indirect though it may be. Besides which, it is impossible that for every single thing you now know you have never had deliberate instruction. Some things, sure; but all things? Not possible.

So it is settled: you and I and everyone else who has ever lived has had to learn everything they know from people, from someone else. Directly or indirectly. So you did not teach yourself. It would be more accurate to say that you used your faculties of intuition and observation and understanding to pick up on the important details that enabled you to get to the level you now have attained. You were able to put the pieces together. And, indeed, what is special about that? All humans have that ability. Moreover, you do not know it all. There are things you have yet to know and understand. For these reasons, remain humble in all your knowings. Do not ridicule or disparage another person for his lack of knowledge. He is simply where you once were not too long ago regarding that same subject, and indeed where you still are now regarding another subject.

More than all this, though, it is principally important to remember the following little-observed fact: you did not make your mind or your brain. You did not give yourself the faculty of understanding or intuition or observation. Everybody has these, yet each person is born with them, not knowing whence they came. In the end it all comes down to this:  “Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). All of man’s ways come from God. All of your ways come from God. He both directs your actual steps and and is the originator of all those mysteries of human existence we are no closer to understanding now than when the first thinkers among mankind set their minds to work to understand themselves and their brothers around them untold ages ago. “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The only reason you and I are able to know or understand or appreciate anything is because God has given us that ability. Better still, He is constantly directly and actively coordinating these faculties for us. That’s what it means to wake up in one’s right mind. Not only do we owe all our knowledge to other people, we owe it all primarily to God. Furthermore, we do not choose the circumstances of our lives and where we are born and who we meet and when and where. These factors play a very important part in how we learn, what we learn and when. But they are all in the hands of God once again. The only thing we get to do is choose how to react to these things, and thus we can speed up or slow down the process of how and what and when we learn. That is all we get to do: we get to decide some of what we learn, some of when we learn and some of how we learn. But in the end, all our learning is dependent on others, chiefly God.

So the next time you are thinking of ridiculing someone’s lack of information, stop and think for a second, or twenty. Reflect on the fact that you really are no different from that person in the big scheme of things. Remember the fact that you are privileged to know. Remember that this is due to a host of circumstances that you cannot fathom and often do not even care to fathom. Remember that most of this host are things way beyond the scope of your ability to control. So teach and correct with humility and grace and patience.

God bless.

Brainwork

Peace,
Walkabwoy

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I Rise, I Give Thanks!

I rise, I give thanks!
Thanks because I had no control over anything while I slept.
Thanks because any number of things could have befallen me in the darkness of the night.
Thanks because any number of things didn’t befall me in the darkness of the night.
I slept in safety and warmth. My house was spared from attack or robbery.
No pestilences came to interrupt my sleep. No spirits harmed me.
No accidents happened in and around my house that would have compromised my safety.

I rise, I give thanks!
Thanks because I had no control over whether I would wake up.
Thanks because I cannot keep my soul tethered to my body just by wishing it to be so.
Thanks because my soul did remain tethered to my body and I sincerely wished it to be so.
My body worked throughout the night as it usually does.
No organs fell into disrepair while I slept, simple as it would be for that to happen.
No strain was placed on my sleeping body that might have caused damage.

I rise, I give thanks!
Thanks even if my night did not actually progress that well.
Thanks because I have sometimes been assailed with various difficulties during the night.
Thanks because these various difficulties have not succeeded in robbing me of my life.
I have experienced nights filled with uncertainty, the blast of guns, the threat of floods…
No bullets pierced the shield around my life. No leaks or floods stole the light of hope.
No rot or wear or tear or terror or threat ever succeeded in snuffing out my soul.

I rise, I give thanks!
Thanks because I’ve known both joy and sorrow.
Thanks because I know what it is to go to bed hungry or sick or scared or uncomfortable.
Thanks because in hunger or sickness or terror or discomfort I have lived to fight again.
I have known sweet sleep and I have known sleepless nights of dread.
No fear has crippled me, even when I was certain it had. No sickness has kept me down.
No dread has haunted me perpetually. Eventually new light and strength must come.

I rise, I give thanks!
Thanks because I am all too aware of the fact that life is precious!
Thanks because I have not been able to preserve my own life.
Thanks because at every step of the way it has been preserved for me.
I have often felt the fear of death come upon me. I have too often seen its sting around me.
No chill, however close to me, has ever fully taken me. I am still here.
No sickness or circumstance, however seemingly conclusive, has plucked me away.

It was never my doing!
How many times have I come close to being spirited away from the land of the living!
How many times have I escaped the hand of Thanatos unawares!
How many “near misses” have been recorded against me!
How many have plotted and planned to rid the world of me!

And yet I am still here…

So I rise and I give thanks.
Thanks, not to the universe, but to the Mastermind behind it.
Thanks because what is the universe but an intricate and precise system of blind laws?
Thanks because in the midst of this blind intricacy I find personal favour given to me.
I have seen things in this world that have gone against established laws just for my sake.
Often have I had to shake my head in wonder at the fact that I am heard down to the last detail.
Often have I marvelled at the precision with which I am preserved and provided for.

In the midst of this fathomless system of forces seen and unseen,
I am being protected and guided and answered with nothing less than the utmost care
And attention to detail. I see things come together for my good
In ways I could not have foreseen or calculated in my wildest dreams.
That unseen hand has worked time and again, with marvellous wisdom and care.
That unseen Person has watched over me always, without fail.

Therefore I rise and I give thanks
To God.

I Rise

Peace,
Walkabwoy

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Remember… (Part 1)

Remember…

Remember that you did not bring yourself here. Remember that you owe your very existence to forces and laws and circumstances about which you know next to nothing and over which you could never hope to have control. Remember that these circumstances and laws and forces could not have taken place without the involvement of people, among whom two must be given special mention. Remember that, love them or hate them, these two people are who they are and cannot unbecome such neither with time nor money nor wishing nor complaining nor adoption nor abandonment nor death. They are, now and forever, Father and Mother. Remember also that, love them or hate them, all that you value and like or love about yourself is traceable, directly or indirectly, in one way or another to these two persons if for no other reason than the fact that they are the direct reason why you are even here to have things about yourself to like and be proud of. Remember that this weighty consideration, among others of similar import, is the rationale for the command to honour father and mother.

Remember that your parents and ancestors did not bring themselves here. Remember that they owe(d) their very existences to forces and laws and circumstances about which they could know next to nothing and over which they could never hope to have control. Remember that these circumstances and laws and forces could not have taken place without the involvement and direction of GOD. Hence, remember to live life with an attitude of humility. In dimensions that you or I know nothing about and can never enter as we are now resides the Being who was both intelligent and powerful enough to craft, engineer, set in motion and direct every single thing you can or cannot see or hear or touch or taste or smell in this vast universe of ours. Remember that this Being sees and knows all and is intimately aware of everything that goes on in His universe. Remember to stop regularly to contemplate God, the world He has made you a part of and your potentialities and responsibilities therein.

Remember that you are but a drop of rain in the ocean of all creation. Remember you inhabit a little blue marble surrounded by vast space too wide to be measured or fathomed by human instruments or minds, and which is also home to titanic structures that dwarf your little blue marble and reduce it to the comparative size of an atom. Remember that there exist incredible physical constructs beyond your world that could usher in instant death and utter destruction to all in your world if only they were to collide into it or even simply cross its path. Remember that this aforementioned group of potentially lethal physical constructs include any of the other planets, some asteroids and, perhaps most frighteningly, our very own sun. Remember, then, the frailty of human existence. You are not immortal, neither are you as powerful or as superior as you may sometimes feel. There are forces and existences and dangers in your universe of which you are not even aware. Humble yourself and consider how small you are in the universe.

Remember that you are not just a drop in the ocean of all creation. Remember that you inhabit the little blue marble that just so happens to be the most enigmatic and miraculous of all the enigmas and miracles which no doubt flood the universe in its entirety. Remember that on this little blue marble is played out the supremely enigmatic and miraculous drama called LIFE, both in the biological and metaphysical sense. Remember that our best investigations have taught us that if we were positioned as much as a centimetre closer to or further from the sun we would have burnt up and died or frozen over and died respectively. Remember that for all the imposing bodies and dangers in space our planet has never once come face to face with even the merest threat of external destruction. Remember that in spite of our frailty we have survived for years upon decades upon centuries upon millennia. Indeed we find in the universe such pristine and precise order, such calculated clockwork, such relentless regulation of matter and energy; and all tuned and structured so as not to threaten or hinder life on our planet. On the contrary, it is all set to encourage said life. Someone has been orchestrating all this. Someone, not something. It could not be a thing that has so unfailingly and miraculously caused us to remain safe even while being so small in such a vast and unending expanse of celestial bodies and forces and dangers. It could not be a thing that has so beautifully engineered everything to sustain and support the world we inhabit, both from within and without. Someone has been zooming in on this tiny blue marble. Someone has made it centerstage. Remember, then, that you are important even among the countless elements of the universe. Humble yourself with this thought and rejoice in the virtue and value placed upon you even in the midst of everything else. Even if you do not find favour or love in the eyes of men, you have a Divine Lover who cares about you enough to know your name, your location and everything else about you even among the multitude of His unfathomably vast creation.

Remember that you have been given freedom at birth. Remember, no man can take this freedom, this power from you. Men may find effective ways to shackle your body or hold you in their debt, but there exists no shackle for the human soul except those shackles it allows. Remember that peculiar thing called choice. Remember both the feeling and the reality of it. Remember that it is a gift, but not one that you can shy away from. You will be required to use it, even in difficult situations or otherwise in cases where you would rather not choose. Remember choosing is an honour. Remember that choice equals power. This is why it is an honour. Each choice you make is an invitation from the Divine to embrace your birthright as His child: your Father is a creator and so must you be. Your Father is free and so must you be. Your Father is powerful and so must you be. But, more than that, remember that you are not the only child and hence not the only one with the power of choice. There are many others like you. And just like you, your Father has given them this supreme birthright. Allow others their right to choose and to be free. Your Father is gracious and bountiful and kind. So must you be.

Remember that choice comes with RISK and RESPONSIBILITY. The words “With great power comes great reponsibility” may have come from the lips of Uncle Ben but they were first formed in the mind of God Himself. Remember that you should never act on every little impulse just because you are free. Remember that you have lost sight of both yourself and your Heavenly Father if ever you find yourself maliciously undermining or taking away another’s freeedom. Your freedom should not come at the cost of robbing the freedom of another person or group of persons. Your Father is gracious, remember, and so must you be. Your father is also meek and humble, even though He is THE authority for the whole universe. Shouldn’t you who are merely a frail child and who can do and know only so much and no more seek even more so to be meek and humble?

Remember that, for all your choosing and power, there are some things you do not get to choose. This is also a part of your responsibilities as a free creature. You do not get to make or change the rules of the universe simply because you desire to. Gravity will not stop its workings at your whim. You cannot stay the planets in their courses simply because that is your wish. You cannot make 2+2=22, even though you may rationalize and calculate and even convince others successfully. You cannot make it right to steal or rape or murder. You cannot choose when, where in geography or history, under what circumstances and to whom you are born. You cannot make a same-sex union fruitful or right. Even if you have chosen that path, as you are fully free to do, or otherwise hate men or women for whatever reason, you cannot change the fact that you and everyone else who has ever lived or will ever live enters this world through the actions of one man and one woman, and no other combination. You cannot make people like you by being domineering and selfish. You cannot hide the truth without it finding a way to come out. You cannot rob someone of his humanity, though you may ostracize or enslave or attempt to paint him in such an undignified light. You cannot give or take away human dignity and identity. You cannot make someone love you, neither by will nor by magic. You cannot stop the march of time. You cannot change the past. You cannot un-say spoken words.  You cannot halt the process of aging or negate the reality of death. Now, remember, you are free, and as such you have it within your power to TRY to do all these things. But it simply is not within your power to ACTUALLY CHANGE any of this. Why? Because one cannot alter the laws and purposes of the Divine. He Who has given you the power to choose and the freedom to be has also imposed upon you a specific framework within which to exercise those rights. And that framework, unlike some other things, has never been up for debate.

Remember that life is what you make it and that precisely for that reason there are a million and one ways to live, but among those million and one ways you will find good-better-best and bad-worse-worst…

Remember

Peace,
Walkabwoy

Posted in Life, Meditations, Praxis, The Book of W.I.E | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mayday in the Middle of May

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

This is aircraft L’Enfant M-33 requesting immediate assistance! I repeat: this is aircraft L’Enfant M-33 requesting immediate assistance, over! We’ve blown one of our engines and are currently spiraling toward the ground from 30,000 feet up! What’s more, the pilots are asleep and we can’t get them to wake up!

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

This distress signal is imagined, of course, but it’s also very real in a much deeper sense. The symbolism isn’t too hard to figure out, is it? The title gave it quite away, and then the name of my aircraft took that even further. Perhaps you even wish I had been a bit more inventive and original, or a lot more. Well, I guess I still have a lot to learn, if that’s the case. A lot to learn either way. But, be that as it may, this simple symbolism is very real. Hauntingly real, even.

Do we not get the sense that our children are very much in grave danger and that their guides have fallen asleep at the most inopportune of times while tragedy races to meet them?

The month of May is internationally recognized as Child’s Month. The emphasis is supposed to be on children. Or ostensibly, at least. All over the world, countries, kingdoms, communities, cities and states are celebrating the Month of the Child and are turning their attentions to childcare and child policy and child welfare and child rights. Some have put charities in place. Others have thrown a few parties and celebrations and events so that one and all could get together and enjoy some good entertainment. Still others have held forums for discussion of important issues.

Now, this is all well and good, I say. I am against neither charities nor entertainment and social events nor purposeful discussion. On the contrary, I am all for them. But the question is this: What of the children themselves? Is it possible that in our zeal for working on behalf of our children we have forgotten the very ones we started all this work for in the first place? To use a Biblical term, could we possibly have gotten entangled in the letter which kills instead of the spirit which gives life? Have we been so focused on the outer elements that we’ve missed the core of the issue?

First and foremost, the move to dedicate an entire month to the special remembrance of children is very noble and applaudable. The old cliché is, after all, inescapable: children are the future. But, alas, that is the very heart of the matter. Just what kind of future are we making for them, and just what kind of future will they eventually make based on what we have given them? Child’s Month is ultimately pointless if, at the end of 31 days (to say nothing of 365 days), the children themselves are not impacted beyond fancy words and speeches and more strict and defined legislation and flashing lights and music and new computer labs at school.

The real issues have to do with relationships. Come on. We were all children once. Don’t you remember how we used to wait patiently and impatiently for mommy or daddy or auntie or uncle or grandma or grandpa or big bro or big sis to get home? Don’t you remember how we used to yearn for them to play with us? To just suddenly launch themselves at us and start tickling the daylights out of us? To tell us stories whether they be old folktales, fairy tales, tales of their own childhood or even something they invented on the spot? To look at us and hug us or pat us on the head and say “Good job!” or “I love you!”? To lift us high and spin? To baby us a bit? To teach us how to iron our own clothes or to let us help with the baking? To tell us when we had made a mess of things? Even to pay attention enough and care enough to scold and punish us when we had been naughty?

For those of us that got all these childish wishes granted, did we not feel more fulfilled than being thrown a hundred parties? Did we not feel more secure than the knowledge that we were protected by 200 child laws under Section 456, Article 79 of the national constitution? Did we not feel more appreciated and loved than if there had been 10 conferences and workshops each week geared toward children and their issues and to which attendance was mandatory? And don’t we feel we are somehow better off for it in the long run?

For those of us who were denied these childish wishes, did we not feel somehow neglected amid all the laws and policies geared toward our protection? Did we not feel alone even in the company of so many other souls having so much fun at the amusement park or at the live concert? And didn’t we wonder why mom or dad or auntie or uncle could never seem to find time for us  in the midst of their ever-busy schedule, even with the age-old mantra that they were “doing this to make our lives better” as our intended cushion? And don’t we carry feelings of bitterness toward it all and them all, varying anywhere from slight to extreme, to this very day?

You see, it’s a very good thing that we try to put all these things in place for our children. Preparation is a necessity, after all, and great care must be taken to secure our children. But are we not defeating our own purposes if our children end up feeling as if they place second to all these wonderful preparations, as if they are there so that the preparations may have a reason to be instead of that the preparations are there so that they can have a smoother road to travel?

The point is this: genuine, positive relationship works wonders that no science or psychology can even begin to fathom. The lack of this precious thing has given rise to virtually every scourge to affect children in the present and in the past. It ultimately explains the thousands of millions of children that have gone missing over the years, the tragic stories of rape and abuse and murder and fear and loss of identity and hunger and homelessness and depravity and coldness and unnatural heartlessness which have characterized the lives of so many of our little ones. In the end, the criminals and tyrants of today who do so much damage both to us and to our children are but the cold, scared children of yesterday who were failed horribly by the adults of that day who were in turn failed at some point by those who were tasked with guiding and guarding them as children; and the cycle stretches back to the very beginning and, in all probability, forward to the very end…

Why don’t we, who are so intelligent as to be able to see this truth, actually do something about this vicious, endless cycle? Besides the outward shows of care, why don’t we actually apply the cure, apply the healing balm of love and time and patience to the wounded souls of our little ones? If we don’t make time to show them just how special and precious they are, someone else will make time to show them other things that we just may find we had rather they had never learned. Life can be very cruel. Children aren’t stupid or oblivious. They are wonderfully intelligent, impressionable beings who need more than our policies and delusions and socio-economic excuses to survive in this harsh world.

Jesus set the ultimate example when He refused to use fatigue or busyness as an excuse not to see the children that had been brought to Him by their mothers. The disciples that were prepared to do just that were rewarded with a very stern rebuke. For Child’s Month and the rest of the year going forward, I think this is an attitude that we should really adopt if we really mean our children well. Ideas and work and policies and leisure are all fine, but at the end of the day, we have to live out life with our children. When that is the case, the theories have an uncanny way of growing strangely shallow and tasteless without the practice behind it.

Until we finally get this right the cry is and will continue to be:

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

Children

Peace,
Walkabwoy

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