It's been about three months since I wrote an entry here, and I am 35,000 feet right now, headed back to California from Atlanta...I do have a couple of observations to make.
The past week or so has been a challenging one for me,
in terms of controlling my attitudes and mental choices.
I have had a couple of those horrible, horrible experiences
in which I am aware of a compromising attitude in my heart,
am actually sorry about that state of affairs,
but am also aware that I am postponing dealing with it...
I am DELIBERATELY avoiding dealing with myself....
much to the grief of the Holy Spirit (Ephs 4.30) and my spirit.
It's not really a classic 'guilt' thing, but rather that sadness
that comes from knowing how pure His love is--even during the aberrant attitude.
I am always aware/conscious of the pervasiveness and sweetness of His warm love for me--
even when my mind is 'wallowing in the gray'.
Which brings me to my question...
Why is God so gentle and patient with the human race (esp. today)?
Why does he endure scoffers (others) and sinners (me)?
He puts up with my mini-epochs in which I am "God",
and so rarely holds me to the consequences...
and even when He DOES let the consequences of my attitudes/actions recoil on me,
even THEN they are often mitigated so quickly upon my honest discussion of the issues with Him,
and upon my sincere appeal for help.
I am not sure that I would have predicted such gentleness and patience
from my model of a 'holy' God. "Just", maybe. "Fair", maybe.
"Truthful", maybe--but not "Gentle" nor "Quiet" nor "patient
with those agents who interrupt history with acts of dissonant malice or arrogant apathy"...
[I don't actually think He was patient with EVIL--
the Cross somehow reached all the way into Eternity
with the Son of God suffering the consequences of evil--
so his patience seems to be focused on the 'doers of evil' (cf. 2 peter 3.9)--
including glenn miller.]
Sometimes I think He is 'too gentle' with me,
and that I would profit more from a firmer hand, b
ut I have discovered that His way is best...
Sometimes the mere thought of His forbearance and withholding of consequences
can melt my stubborn and willful heart into those moments of authentic worship
that forms a string of priceless pearls in my stream of experiencing Him.
His blessings--when discipline is expected--is so contrastive
that I am more often than overwhelmed by His manner,
to the point of regaining the self-control of Gal 5.23.
Such strangeness! Such power of His love!
On a different note...
I wanted to give you snapshot of how strange my life is,
and to share two difficulties it presents me with--
in hopes that those of you with SIMILAR situations won't feel so all alone in that!
My routine goes a little like this.
On Monday morning I fly from San Jose CA (where my kids live with their mom)
to Cincinnati (where my office is).
I then stay in Ohio until the next wed-Thursday night, whereupon I return to San Jose.
While I am in OHIO, I work (hard) and travel occasionally (it's an executive thing, you know),
and I spend virtually every other waking moment researching/writing for the ThinkTank.
I am so involved in the tank-projects (and so far behind) that I don't do anything outside.
I come home from the office, nap 30mins, row 30-60mins, and book-it for 5-6 hours.
On the weekends in Cinti, I spend them doing tank-stuff ALL the time,
except for the church-hopping I do on Sunday morning.
(I am intending, however, to join a local tennis club soon,
which will let me 'get out' some--and interact with other carbon-based lifeforms there.).
When I return to San Jose on the Wed/Thur night,
I am generally brain-dead at easily detectable levels.
I work at home the rest of that week (with appointments throughout Silicon Valley, as required).
And the weekend is consumed by parenting my teenage kids and by my church (esp. Sunday School).
The 'kids' return to their mom's on Sunday night, and that is SOMETIMES a free night for me
(although sometimes, I have another little kid over that I 'big brother').
Since most of my serious research books are back in Ohio,
I don't get 'tempted' to dig in there in San Jose.
But the overall effect of this is that I have almost NO discretionary time left.
My time is consumed by kids, job, Tank, airplane travel!
The problems this creates for me are basically twofold.
One, living in two cities, with such a strange existence,
makes me feel like my life is 'sub-Christian.'
In other words, the standard models of Christian involvement in community
and long-term relationships and casual interaction with other human beings etc.
doesn't seem to manifest itself in my life (at least not at the present time).
I almost feel like I am on a sabbatical of sorts--
designed providentially to crank out reams and reams of Tank-stuff.
But to feel so 'abnormal' takes its toll on me--in self-doubt
and worries over being 'out of Gods will'...
I recognize from Scripture that the Body is full of diversity (I Cor 12-14!),
and so I shouldn't measure myself by 'normal' Christian behavior...
but it sometimes is hard to delight in my mutancy!
(I do, since God blesses my efforts with joy and other fruits of the Sprit,
and sorta encourages me by the incredibly supportive letters I get from you folk)...
if YOUR experience is like this, I just want you to know God has built a number of us like that...
at least for this particular period of our lives perhaps.
The second problem this creates concerns that of friends/companions.
I am somewhat contemplative/reclusive by nature,
and this schedule creates formidable barriers to nurturing friendships.
Like ALL relationships, friendships take time investments--
not all of it has to be face-2-face, of course, but in lieu of that, MORE time is required...
I experience the need for close friendship about once a month (it seems)
and I experience a need for companionship about once every 2-3 months.
It doesn't really last very long, but it does seem intense for those few hours.
The sheer impracticalities of trying to build/maintain a relationship with this schedule
kills all such impulses dead in their tracts. "The spirit is willing , but the clock is weak!"
I wonder if this abnormal situation of my experience is not unlike the abnormal situation
that the Corinthians were in when Paul counseling them to stay in their current state
(I Cor 7, esp. vv. 8,29). I suspect that there are other active,
busy Christians like that out there--with only a discretionary day or two per month(!),
but I have yet to meet any. I am not sure the situation will ever change,
nor is there any discontent on my part--'my cup runneth over' with deep, satisfying experiences
in my walk with Him. I just keep wondering, like most, I suppose...
I just thought I would share those experiences with you,
in case some of you found yourselves in similar situations...
it MAY be odd, but I Cor 10.13 STILL applies!
Well, I am now in San Jose, and the kids will be here soon...
I hope to write a little on the Trinity in the morning
(while the teens are sleeping in, obviously!)...
Even more amazed at His grace,