The Chair and the Desk, 5/4/16

From the chair:

“You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.”

-Psalm 22:23-24

This is such an essential theme in the Bible: God hears. God sees. God knows. We have to hear it from the Bible, because sometimes we wouldn’t guess it from life. When things aren’t how we would choose, it can be hard to trust that God actually sees, that God actually has a plan, that God will actually will take care of us and make it all right in the end. That’s why Scripture reminds us of this over and over again.

“During the those many days the king of Egypt died,” Exodus says, “and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel–and God knew.”

As a student recently reminded me in a sermon, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

God does hear and see and know, and we trust that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I’ve often heard, lately, that this is a harsh verse, hard to hear to trying times. It is certainly stark; I wouldn’t want to rattle it off in a trite way. However, this is our stark hope, and without stark hope we would have no hope in the face of a world that can be so dark.

Yet, O Lord, our eyes “have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

From the desk:

“But one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow.”

-“Johannes Climacus” (i.e., Søren Kierkegaard), Philisophical Fragments (trans. Hong and Hong, 1985), p.37

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

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