God’s victory means our defeat, means our humiliation; it means God’s mocking anger at all human arrogance, being puffed up, trying to be important in our own right. It means reducing the world and its clamor to silence; it means the crossing through of all our ideas and plans, it means the Cross. The Cross above the World. It means that man, even the noblest, must, whether he likes it or not, fall in the dust and with him all the gods and idols and lords of this world. The Cross of Jesus Christ, that means the bitter scorn of God in all human depths, the rule of God over the whole world.
The people came to victorious Gideon; it is the final clamor and the final temptation: ‘rule thou over us!’ But Gideon does not forget his history or the history of his nation… ‘God shall rule over you, and you shall have no other Lord.’ At these words the altars of the gods and the idols are cast down, all worship of man is cast down, all apotheosis of man by himself, they are judged, condemned, crossed out, they are all crucified and flung down into the dust by him who alone is Lord. And beside us kneels Gideon, the man who has been brought to faith out of the midst of fears and doubts, kneels before the altar of the one God, and with us Gideon prays: ‘Lord on the Cross, be thou alone our Lord. Amen.’ – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1933
I was sitting alone in Panera bread around 7:30 AM when I read this. I had left the house an hour before to have study time. In this tortuous storm of moving, I needed the quiet. The morning air, the grogginess, even the cheap, bad tasting caramel latte. But it was all worth it. This time was spent writing a letter to a dear friend, studying the Bible, and reading Bonhoeffer’s biography. I knew I needed to wake up early this morning, even though it will be the first of two of the busiest days of this year. Not to run away from what needed to be done, but to grab some time and in it, revert into peace and calm and good cheer.
I’ll be leaving the home I’ve lived in for ten years, and the area that I’ve lived my whole life in. But strangely, I don’t feel nostalgic or anything. I feel excited, eager, ready for a challenge and ready for an opportunity to embrace my challenge. “But for those who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” – Malachi 4:2. I feel like those fresh cows now, leaping with the vitality of life. I was particularly encouraged by that passage of Bonhoeffer’s sermon up there. To just be reminded: “It’s not about you. Nothing is about you. It’s all about God. He is not only the reason everything is here, but the reason that everything is happening, and to him belongs the glory,” is not only convicting, but a great relief. To keep things God-focused is hard at first, but after awhile, it becomes joy and relief. To know that my sinful human self will not conquer. It won’t conquer in the short run or in the long run. I have given myself up to God once, but I do it again over and over, every day. To say, Lord, lead us, guide us, be our God and our one Lord. I have been encouraged to know that my strength is crushed, and that I must depend entirely upon God. Even this knowledge strengthens me.
I will miss things about this house (mainly all the built in bookshelves) but it is amazing to me to see how at first I didn’t want to move, and now, because it is God’s will, he has brought my mind and my heart about face, and has confronted me, and graciously made me ready.
Another thing, before I close. I was reading about Gideon today in Judges, and I noticed that when he’s getting ready to go down and defeat the Midianites & Amalekites, God commands him to go at once, but then says: “But if you are too afraid… go down to the camp tonight and listen to what they say.” He knows Gideon’s weaknesses, and takes care of him. He knows my weaknesses, and is compassionate and kind as he takes care of me and guides me. He will do the same for you, if you trust in him.
Now, I tell myself, more than ever, seize the day!
P.S. If you haven’t noticed, please read the text below the header (Carpe Diem.) It used to be a quote by C.S. Lewis— “Reason is the natural order of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning”—but I changed it to something more fitting for the purpose of this blog.