I don’t need a George Baily experience

January 5, 2011

Sometimes reading a lot of scripture at one sitting can be revelatory.  Big truths can be grasped, or at the very least grappled with.  Themes emerge.  Whereas  a single verse can convict, it can also confuse, so reading an entire book in one sitting can bring clarity.  Before Christmas, that’s what I did, an entire gospel book every day for several months.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, repeat.  It was very good for me.  It is a practice I will soon resume, but for now I have decided that wandering slowly through a book might give me a word or two each day to grab hold of and run with for a while.

So I am wandering slowly through the gospel of John.  When I say wander I don’t mean randomly opening the book and reading whatever I find.  I am just reading and reading and re-reading; trying to dig in a bit more.  I am even looking at some study tools for fresh insights.

After a couple of weeks I am almost satisfied with the first chapter.  I am looking at the record of Jesus calling the disciples.  “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree.”  Jesus says to Nathaniel.  “You shall see greater things than that.”

Sometimes, in my weakness, I long to see something “greater than that which Nathanael saw.”   I long for a dead man walking, a lame man jumping, a blind man pointing at a dandelion.  Then the Spirit of God whispers to me and says, “Do you want a glimpse of what you would have been without me?”  And I shudder, and say, “No thank you!  Thank you very much.”  I don’t need a glimpse of me.  I can see in the lives of friends and family who have rejected Jesus, rejected God the streets and alleys I could have easily trod if it were not for Grace and Mercy.  I don’t need a George Baily experience to know from what I have been saved.

This year, even as I try to change my circumstances and my future, I will work hard not to rewrite history.  And, I will be grateful for where I have been, where I am, and where I am going.  Because, not only does Jesus see me in all of those places, he promises to do even greater things than I can hope or imagine in those places.

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