Scripture:Romans 4:20-25The Message (MSG)
19-25 Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.
Observation:Paul's letters are so incredibly constructed; with meaning piled upon meaning, and interpretation piled upon interpretation.
I am convinced they are better heard than read. And, again, when reading them aloud, attention to the details and the thrust of the argument being offered must be attended to. Even still, sometimes it is good to look to a more interpretive translation (like the Message, above). I find this often unlocks a new angle or dimension of the passage's meaning.
Throughout today's readings and prayers, I hear a distinct urging to follow Abraham's lead and to "dive in" to the promise we have, by God's grace.
In the last month or so, my daughter has begun to get brave about jumping off the diving board at the local swimming pool. Recently, she jumped off without a life-jacket for the first time. Now, she is a thoughtful and (thankfully!) cautious kid - not fearful, but cautious - and so, that leap was preceded by a long ... pause. During that time, I was imagining her brain spinning a thousand computations per second as she considered all the variables and unknowns. I suspect that if she had waited till she had all the information, she would not have jumped. In the end, what lead her to experience the joy of doing something new, alive and fun was a promise - two, actually. The promise from her friends that it was fun and worthy is what drove her to the end of the diving board. The promise that her mother was waiting - arms out-stretched - to protect her and cheer her on was what prompted her to jump.
Application:In my experience, answering God's call and following God's lead always requires such a leap of faith. God may well have the divine plans all laid out in a comprehensive manner (though I personally doubt that), but rare is the human who glimpses God's plans in their fullness and gets to base their decision to follow - or not - upon a knowledge of all possible costs, outcomes and eventualities.
So, I wonder, what adventures are your brothers and sisters in Christ commending you to take up in this leg of your journey?
What leap are you putting off until you make a few more calculations?
Will you settle for one more day with placing a tremulous toe in tepid water?
Or, will you choose to trust more boldly in the ONE who is cheering you on, the ONE who promises to be right there when you come up from the depths gasping for air ... and filled with the joy of diving into the life abundant?
As for me, I am done playing small and safe.