Reborn in the Spirit (128)

A middle-aged man stands in a glass-skinned office tower. It’s all sharp angles and sheen. In his memory Jack sees his father squatted down, working in the garden picking bug-eaten leaves out of greens. He sees his younger self approach his father who nods in welcome. Jack remembers his father’s words: “I wanted to be loved because I was great, a big man. I’m nothing.” His father’s voice continues, “Look at the glory around us, the trees, the birds. I lived in shame. I dishonored it all and didn’t notice the glory. I’m a foolish man.” Jack’s father wanted to be a musician and when that failed to happen he turned his focus to engineering. None of his ideas caught on. He lost his job. He had told his sons that if you wanted to make something of yourself you had to do it by force of will and discipline. Read more

Being Patients (127)

Here’s the way the story was told in the New York Times: B.J. was a sophomore in university. Early one morning he and some friends were horsing around and they decided to climb a parked commuter train. He was the first one up. The train was powered by electricity that ran through overhead wires. B.J. climbed to the top of the car, stood up and eleven thousand volts arced into his arm and shot down through his legs. He woke up several days later in a hospital burn unit. He survived but he had both his legs amputated below the knee and lost much of his left arm as well. Read more

Under Scrutiny (126)

You will have to use every fiber of your imagination muscles to do this, but try anyway. Imagine someone who worries so much that it changes how he or she lives. She feels frazzled. He loses sleep. Her mind churns through anxious scenarios. iceHe worries non-stop about what other people think of him. She can’t conceive of living without being constantly preoccupied with her resume. Whenever he does anything he imagines how it will add to his online profile. Anxiety has its roots in every square inch of the soil of their lives. Is your imagination exhausted? Of course not. We don’t need to imagine at all. This is us.

What I want to suggest is pretty simple. It’s just this: your Christian faith can make a difference. Don’t junk your treatment plan or whatever you’ve been doing that helps you manage your anxiety. Don’t give that up. But I do think your Christian faith can make a difference. In Matthew 6 Jesus tells his followers to not worry about their lives. His words are not an impossible riddles meant to drive us nuts. This is the way of God’s kingdom. It might be a new way, a foreign way—but as we are made new in Christ, it is not an impossible way. Read more