So I am sitting here at 3:30am banging away as a one-fingered wonder on my iPhone tuning up a blog confession or profession of sorts, and I hear a chain saw in the distance. With concern I wonder what the heck Neighbor Chris is doing with a chain saw at this time of day, and ponder if perhaps a tree has fallen and injured his head. I then arise to look off his direction thinking, he is nuts. But I know Neighbor Chris is not nuts, so I am vexed with confusion, and a flash of concern enters my mind as to whether I am experiencing a personal Twilight Zone moment. Maybe an auditory delusion of sorts? Geez… and where is my coffee?
But the 3-digit code for “I Need Help” 911 still persistently flashes before my mind’s eye.
My coffee has fortunately just finished percolating so I pause to pour a cup of java. And there I discover the chain saw sound buzzing in distant background, now drawn nearer. My percolator is moaning with fresh steaming hot nectar of the gods, #CommunityCoffee with #Chicory, a morning treat that growls and moans to revive my fainting body. And then I remember my accusation against my Old-Friend Coffee from a few days past of how coffee (in some unspoken manner) freely yields forth properties of a type of exorcism. Am I being punished?
Yet I still anticipate my cup of groaning coffee with joy! And I thank God, Neighbor Chris has not gone and got himself all drunked-up or confused over the time of day, nor has a tree fallen on his house or head or worse.
And I have a day of this to anticipate as the sun still sleeps but my mind is awake and raging in predawn activity with fresh hot coffee in my hand, as roosters sound in unison just outside trying to convince their respective harems that the sun rises because of their virility in crowing. Life in the country! And the giant chain saw mystery is solved!
All is well. Peace on earth among men with whom He is pleased!
“Let me hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in Thee;Teach me the way in which I should walk, For I trust in Thee.
We are the better to prepare for the day than to simply resort to repentance of the day after the fact of ill-prepared failure. Accuse me of legalism if you will but why should a new creature in Christ not early hunger and thirst after His presence in preparation for the struggles against our three-fold enemy who has risen to rush toward us with designs to crush us in mortal, spiritual combat?
Spiritual disciplines affirmed by the Carpenter of Nazareth at an introductory minimum would require “rising early, departing to a lonely place and praying there.” (Mark 1:35)
The old legalist that I am… this is my only hope. God is faithful to covenant love; God is faithful to normative principles. The Father sees in secret and subsequently rewards openly those who know their God in secret. They shall do exploits in His name.
The quality of gathering with the community of believers is limited by the preparation and condition of the heart. “We cannot give that which we do not first possess.” (Lewis) The Church alone can’t fix what one hides as perverted or broken by secret sin. If the fire of love for Jesus does not burn within the inner recesses of the breast then pretense will be the garment worn in public. The perversion of doctrine and lack of power in preaching in the contemporary pulpit can often be traced back to a mere academic pursuit that sacrifices devotional purity and worship of the King in secret. “The things my hands have handled and my eyes have seen… these things I make known to you…”
And that is the glory and joy of seeing His face even in midst of sorrow and struggle which we all know and that without honest exception. He is the Friend and Savior of sinners and I am glad. Yet He does not endorse that which is not changed and requires us to die daily to His glory.