Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In The Eye of the Storm.

Storms - really big ones - have an eye. A place of calm. The wind is still raging all around. The rain is still pouring down and the lightning still flashing. But there, in the eye, is peace. A place where you can breathe, where it is safe for the moment. A chance to relax, let your heart slow down just a little. It doesn't last long, and the other half of the storm is still coming.

Have you ever been there? In that place where just for now, it's okay - even though you know what is about to rush in? Today has sort of been one of those days for me. Everything is okay, for now. I know that tomorrow, things start rolling forward again. There will be things that demand my attention, choices I have to make and sacrifices to be given.

But for now, I am in the eye of the storm. I have time to ponder what is about to come. Time to prepare. A chance to rest and allow the ultimate Healer to do His work in me.

As I do that, there is a question that keeps coming up inside.

"How does this life, this world, fit with the fact that God is love?"

Today, I am quoting a brief passage from a book I am reading. It shared the same title as this post, and is written with far more eloquence than I am capable of. *

The passage is set in Eden, in that garden where we were first created.

Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow.
"There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and the bitter."
The angel gasped at what he saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had he seen anything like these. He felt the love of the Adams. He heard the joy of Eve and her daughters. He saw the food and the burdens shared. He absorbed the kindness and marveled at the warmth.

In the book, the angel and God continue to converse. The angel is horrified and repulsed by the rotten hearts, broken promises, and general depravity of man as time passes. God shows him the birth of Jesus. Shows him that horrible cross.

But as he stepped back in time, he heard the cry that he would someday scream: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" He wrenched at tomorrow's agony.
The angel spoke again. "It would be less painful ..."
The creator interrupted softly. "But it wouldn't be love."

Have you ever asked yourself why God gave us the choice? Ever wondered how He could allow us the ability to be so cruel, so depraved, so evil? I have.

I still wonder. I still don't really get it. I still find myself wishing that the choice could be removed. I long to be without sin, without malice, without guilt. But that just cannot be. Not here, not on this planet. The choice must exist. It must be made.

With that choice, we have the ability to truly love. When we want to lash out in anger, but choose instead to kneel in prayer, when we speak gently instead of tearing down with harsh words, we are choosing. We are loving. Really loving.

I love the way this chapter ends, and I am going to leave you with a final quote. Because try as I may, I cannot say it better.

But more incredible than the moving of the flesh was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped.

But it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the star saw that moment is what has made it blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it:

"It looks like... it appears so much like... it is him!"

The angel wasn't speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking inside - at the soul.

"It's eternal!" gasped another.

Within the man, God had placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created earth's mightiest. The Creator had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return.

Now it's our choice.

*In the Eye of the Storm, by Max Lucado. Copyright 1991. Published by Thomas Nelson.

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