..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Decisive Moment

The process by which God molds us into
His image is truly an amazing one.
This morning I think I was having a
pre-Christmas vision, Dickens style,
a sort of reflection on my life and who
I am, and the nuances of the many things
I could have become and who I might yet
become. I'm not talking occupational
things. I'm talking about how God uses
the process of life to bring us to the
destiny of our identity in Him.

I am quite sure that God had a plan, a
finished idea of what He created each
of us to be when we were just "twinkles"
in God's eyes. That God! He has such
a confidence in His ability to bring to
perfection those He has chosen. In the
human realm any artist, any creator of
any sort, knows that variables are part
of the process of creation. A hundred
different things can go any which way
when we get down to the process of
painting or photography or throwing
pottery, or glass-blowing.

I love the French photographer, Henri
. He is known for his
"decisive moment" kind of photography:
the ability to press the shutter at the
precise climactic moment of life's
most awesome moments. You need a kind
of intuition born of long hours of
watching to get that kind of sight.
You need to know about ebb and flow,
about shadow and sun, about longing
and fulfillment. About waiting. And
grace. Sheesh. I'm getting a rush just
thinking about it.

God wants to sculpt my life and yours
into something beautiful that both looks
like Christ and is our own unique
reflection of Him. He has so many
decisive moments both on His end and
on ours. He sets up all the
circumstances of our lives, uses each
high and low, ordains some things,
allows others, all for our benefit.
He knows that, like any great Artist,
that one mistimed move can wreck the
whole work.

So this morning I suddenly saw myself,
the thousand different selves, the
different "me's" that would have
developed BUT for the grace of God. And
even the good but not perfect "me's" that
are still tempting me to accept them.
I basically tell you this from my knees

My very first recollection of
why I came to God was as a very young
teenager catching this same sort of
vision of myself: the kind of person
that I would become if God did not
intervene. That sight horrified me
and drove me to my conversion even
before I intellectually, or even
dictionarily, knew what conversion
was. How, you may ask,can a young
person of 13, have a sense of their
own destroyed destiny? I think we
know far more than we care to admit,
and far earlier then we imagine,
if we dare to be honest.

But the process of conversion, is just
that, a process. Yes, yes, I know, we
are "saved" at a specific moment in time,
but the process of being renewed, being
made into the image of His dear Son,
is a lifelong one. In some eternal moment
of now I can see my life as a motion
picture, with all the decisive moments,
the choosings of the "road less traveled,"
the near fatal steps, the near misses,
the clouds, the deaths, the deserts,
the mountains, the still, small Voice
of God, the grace-laden interventions.
My heart is beating pretty fast now.
All, all, all is the grace of God.

In this moment I can see all the
ugly things I could have easily become:
destroyed by bitterness, pride, pessimism,
self-seeking, ambition. Shall I continue
to name my own personal bullets? But God
is trying and I trust, only because of
who He is, succeeding, in turning me into
something that will delight Him and bring
Him glory. Rabbi Aaron Kaidanover
once said, "if you knew how
many demons thirst for your blood
you would abandon yourself
entirely...to the Almighty."

Life, in one sense, is Precariousness
on Wheels. There is no way that I can make
it through it in my own power, using my
own wisdom, fighting with my own strength.
In another sense, life is God's Grace on
Wheels, always speeding to my ever present
need of aid.

Played out in this is the idea that some
make it and some do not. Jesus did not hint
that it is or ever will be otherwise. Has God
predestined some? I need not go there.

Where I will go is to the idea that there
are many, many, many, many, many decisive
moments in our lives. If we knew the
importance of them, (and how can we know but
in retrospect, looking back from "ages and ages
hence"?), we would indeed throw ourselves
on the mercy of God, and tell Him to take,
without reserve, every bit of us.

We live in troubled times. We always have,
and until He comes, we always will. Yet
these times seem a bit more troubled,
or perhaps I have just put on my glasses.
This moment, like all others, is a
decisive one. Will you let it tick by,
unnoticed, and ignored? Or will you turn
your heart to God and allow Him to do all
that He needs to do in you? The choice is
yours. Your destiny is being determined.
What are you deciding? Let His grace
intervene. Here is your decisive moment.

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