Tuesday, December 17, 2013

report what you hear and see

I am grateful today because I live in a little four-plex in Montrose. And when my roommate takes a shower I can hear the water running through the pipes in the walls and it comforts me. And when I'm in bed, trying to fall asleep (and I don't have the fan on), I can hear the cars drive past on West Alabama. And that also comforts me and reminds me of falling asleep at my grandparents' house, listening to the cars fly by on Beechnut. In the front bedroom; the one with the white furniture.

I am grateful today because I have friends who listen to me and who know when to be serious and when to make me laugh. When to offer me a drink or a walk or a really good memory.

I am grateful today because it was 45 degrees this morning and I think that might be the most perfect winter temperature. Cold enough for a my coat, but not cold enough to make me dramatically miserable. And it was clear and crisp.

I am grateful today because I know that security and peace lie in my relationship with God and no where else.

Lately I'm come across this account of John the Baptist's life several times:

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Him, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me." (Matthew 11:2-6).

This passage means a lot to me for several reasons, but this time what is really sticking out to me is John's question: "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" Isn't that always our question? Don't we always have doubts? Is this it? Is this what I've been waiting for? Is there something better? Something more? Should I keep waiting? I find comfort in John's doubt.

And why wouldn't he doubt? This Messiah looked nothing like he thought He would. Expectations can really make or break an experience. When things don't look like we thought they would, it's easy to miss what they truly embody. Many times, it's exactly what we've been asking for, just presented in a package we weren't expecting.

And I love Jesus' response: "...report to John what you hear and see...." Jesus doesn't reassure John with straightforward confirmation; He tells him to look around. I'm pretty sure God tells me that all the time. I pester Him with questions, what if's, and why's, and He says, "What do you see?"

I see goodness. Beauty, relationships, laughter, and abundance. Hearts that long and strive to be in the right place. I wonder if even John, locked in a prison cell, was able to have eyes to see God's goodness in a bit of the sky or the consistency of his beating heart, in the stories his disciples relayed.

To me, John the Baptist is one of the most heart-wrenching characters in the Bible. How I would love to chat with him about faith and the great unknown.

Today, I pray that we all would have eyes to see and ears to hear the goodness of God all around us.

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