Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sometimes the truth hurts

I have been nagged by a thought for the last couple of weeks, and I need to share it.  Frankly, I'm not really sure how to lead into this topic.  It's kind of deep and difficult to process, and it just leaves me feeling hollow.  But here we go.

Have you ever wept for mankind?  I know that's an odd question, but one we all should consider.  Have I ever felt so moved by our lot, and the lot of all, that I was moved to tears?  The sorrow of all our transgressions heaped upon one person would be too much to handle for anyone.  I know I couldn't.  But what about yourself?  Have you ever wept for you? 

That sounds a little bit silly, and a little bit selfish.  But the reality is we are in such a bad state, even the best of us.  I am a total and complete failure, and my sinful condition is utterly reprehensible to God.  Utterly reprehensible.  Let that sink in.  We are not ok.  We are disgusting to God.

Why?  Because He is holy.  And we are not.  To get a little bit of perspective of the grace of God, consider the most disgusting thing you have ever seen or heard about.  Maybe the most disgusting person, or animal.  Whatever that is, I imagine you are utterly appalled by it.  That's us.  The harshness of this idea doesn't change the fact that it is true.  No one wants to hear they are disgusting, utterly reprehensible.  But it's the truth, and in this case the truth hurts.

The prophet Isaiah had a glimpse of this.  In chapter 6 of the book of Isaiah, he writes,

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
   “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (NIV version)
Woe to me?  Another way to say that is "death to me, because I can't handle this difference between God and myself".  Isaiah, a prophet of God himself called to cry out to the children of Israel to bring them back to Him, cried out to be "utterly destroyed", as a different translation puts it, because he saw God just as he was, and Isaiah couldn't handle it.  And he was a prophet.  What would I do?  Tear myself apart with my own hands?  Find the fastest way to kill myself?  I have no idea.  But I imagin I would be looking for a way to be "utterly destroyed" as well.
I'm not trying to put people on suicide watch in my blog.  However, I did warn you that this post is difficult to consider.  I think it's time we face reality.  We face ourselves.  Because it's only through the reality of who we are, and really knowing that, do we even attempt at understanding how much God loves us.  Because we are utterly reprehensible to a Holy God, because we are not holy.  And frankly unholiness and holiness don't mix.  At all.  Oil and water don't mix.  But they are a bad example here because the oil stll touches the water.  It's more like travelling as far east as you can go til you reach the end of the universe, versus going as far west as you can go til you reach the universe in that direction.  Except that really doesn't cover it.  It's more extreme than that.
Remember my example from above.  Just try and take all the love you have and direct it toward that whatever it is.  So much love that you would do whatever it takes to make that disgusting thing the most important thing in your existance.  You would give your life for that whatever it is.  Seems pretty difficult, doesn't it?  Impossible really.  Yet, we have a Creator that shows us that very thing since before we even existed. 
God's love is bigger than that.  Because he never sees the disgusting you.  He just sees you.  And more importantly, he loves you.  He loved you before you even existed, even though he already knew you were going to be reprehensible to him.  Think about that.
Makes everything else you consider disgusting petty doesn't it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Humbled Thanks

I am usually a very quiet person, and keep my thoughts to myself.  Part of that is my personality, part of that is my non-verbal male brain, and most importantly, part of that is the fact that I know I most likely will offend someone if I speak, because I tend to come across very rough when I don't mean it that way. So that's a major part of the reason why I started this blog- it was an outlet for me to collect my thoughts and to voice some of the things I am thinking, without actually saying anything.  I guess it is a way for me to say what needs to be said, in a forum where others can reflect on the message and not the messenger.  So I say all that to lead me to the point of this post.

Brandy and I, along with another family, hosted a fundraiser for our upcoming adoption and for missions.  The idea was presented back in October or November, and through the leadership of my wife and TW, was organized and executed in a relatively short amount of time.  The inital idea was to have a band playing at our yard sale, which we hoped would help bring more people to the yard sale- and this would be in honor of Abigail, my daughter that was killed.  We wanted to do something to raise money for the adoption and for missions to help other people, but at the same time honor the life of my little one.  However, it grew into something much larger and greater than we would have ever imagined.  It went from a yard sale and turned into an event.  An event that humbled me greatly.

My estimate was about 1500 people (give or take a hundred or so) attended the Hope Project.  Which to us was completely shocking.  We never imagined so many people would come and support us.  We had stories on multiple news channels about our family and about the Hope Project.  Which is awesome in some regards, but also frustrating because I had to lose my daughter to get this type of attention. But nonetheless, all of that was very humbling, because the reality is neither Brandy nor I chase the spotlight.  I could really care less about being important.  It's just not for me. So to watch my family's story as a feature on TV was almost a little out of my comfort zone, to be honest.  Yet, many of the people that came to the Hope Project went out of their way to track Brandy and I down and say they saw our story on TV, and were compelled to come and support us.  That is humbling.  Almost overwhelming.

However, the most humbling thing I saw was the number of people who were willing to give up their Friday night, and Saturday, and volunteer to help us.  My guess is close to 50 people.  Frankly, a lot of which I didn't even know.  There is no way we would have been able to put on this event without the generous help of our volunteers.  And I can think of a lot of things people would rather do than work in the hot sun for 8 hours on a Saturday.  Yet, we had so much help.  So many people showed us the love of Christ-doing something you probably don't want to do because it brings hope and joy to someone else, and brings glory to Christ- that it left me speechless.  I really didn't know what to say. 

So I guess this is me saying "Thank you" to everyone.  To everyone that supported our event, whether through donations, through volunteering, attending and buying stuff, or whatever you did, thank you. Thank you for your help, for your kindness and love toward both our families.  Thank you for giving your time.  Thank you for helping us honor God, and honor the life of Abigail.  Thank you for helping us bring home Malachi and Grace.

Thank you from a humbled man.