Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Its hard to change your own diaper

           My very earliest and most vivid and detailed memory was when I was just under 2 years old.  I was walking already and toting my bottle wherever I went.  I only spoke a few words, but understood everything my young mother said.  This particular memory and experience was one of those in which my awareness to my surroundings was extremely heightened.  It was so impacting to me for certain reasons ( both natural and Spiritual) that I can still to this day, see in my mind's eye, everything in the apartment, and where it was positioned. I can see the color of the couch and the old T.V. set with the giant knob that had to be turned by hand to change the channel.  I remember that I was wearing a multi-colored striped shirt and a diaper only without pants.  I remember my mother's typical 60's hairstyle and capri pants and her giggling with her friends on the phone which was in the kitchen.             The scene begins with my mother calling me into the kitchen and telling me she is going to be on the phone for a few minutes.  She tells me to not to go anywhere where she cannot see me which is basically in the living room that has a direct sight into the kitchen.  She also sternly asks me to please not poop in my diaper since she had just changed it.  Having been given that charge I immediately head off to the living room and begin playing with my loop stacking toy.  Either coincidentally or just because I was told not to, I needed to go number 2 almost immediately.  When the deed was done and I felt the guilt of doing something wrong, my first reaction ( at under 2 years old) was to hide the evidence and  to cover it up.  Since there were no fig leaves available, after I took off my diaper and hid it under the couch, I went and got a new diaper and tried to put it on.
          I remember my mother coming over to me and smiling, almost laughing and asking me what happened to my diaper as she surveyed the scene of me standing there with a fresh diaper squeezed together between my legs, but hanging to the ground with no pin and poop all over my backside.  I shrugged my shoulders as if it was a great mystery, but I am sure she found it eventually.  She didn't punish me or scold me probably because she was so amused, and I realized that neither was I able to hide anything from her nor was I able to cover it up. 
       I received Grace from my mother even though I had made a mess and tried to cover it up.  Grace is not a license to sin or a hiding away of sin or even a mere forgiveness of my sinfulness.  Grace is not just a cover up, acting as if the incident didn't happen.   Grace actually completely eradicates sinfulness itself. ( Rom. 6, Gal. 2:20) Grace, ignores my futile attempt to cover up my sin and wipes my butt clean, because I can't reach it. I wasn't designed to and neither God nor my mom expected me to change my own diaper.  Grace is not a freedom to sin, its a freedom from sin.  Even though I could not have verbalized or conceptualized it in my Toddler mind back then, I was exposed to a truth that God's Spirit highlights to me on a regular basis.  I cannot eliminate sin in my life by my own effort.  The adamic nature will always eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, (self righteousness) instead of the tree of life and then cover up with a fig leaf.  The adamic nature will always try to hide the diaper under the couch and cover up the dirty butt with a new diaper, but the butt is still dirty. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Walking my dog and running into God

Meditating on the song "show me your glory" from the latest Jesus Culture CD all day long today and as I meditated on it and turned it into an earnest prayer I was surprised at the way God answered it.  

I got home from work today and my wife Lesley asked me if I wanted to walk the dog so off we went before it got dark.  It was a normal beautiful sunshiney day and there were all sorts of people smiling and happy, riding bikes, jogging, pulling their dogs to the side so our ferocious chihuahua terrier Duke didn't attack.   Our neighborhood is a very nice upper middle class neighborhood in the hills of South Corona in California at the base of  a mountain, so that's why he stood out.

 We found out later his name was Juan.  He just looked out of place and nervous as if he had done something wrong or was about to get busted for something.  As he saw us walking up to him about a block away, he got up off of the grass that he had been laying down on propped up by a huge back pack.  He obviously felt awkward. He was scarecrow thin, even gaunt and  his pants were tied with  a rope instead of a belt so they didn't fall off.  He was a short young man, with a friendly demeanor and large eyes that seemed hopeful, but hurt. Lesley approached him first and with special skill  and gentleness, extracted critical information.  He was from Rialto Ca., and  had been kicked out of the house by his father for something very petty.  I would find out later that he was the third child to be kicked out after being abused and beaten by a religious father who had a problem with rage.  I knew then that this was a divine encounter and we were somehow supposed to demonstrate the  heart of  the father that loved him and wasn't mad at him. 

We could tell that he was a little slow mentally and really  didn't have a well thought out escape plan with no money or food or transportation.  His idea was to get to San Diego and cross the border into Mexico ( without any paperwork) and find his distant relatives in Guadalajara.  We were both concerned and wondered what we could do for Juan, but at that point we blessed him, prayed protection and safety over him as he walked towards the 15 freeway from about 2 miles above it.  We were concerned and as we got home the plan formulated in my mind.  Lesley got me  20 dollars out of the Dave Ramsey envelope book that was earmarked for food and I drove down the street to find him and feed him.  I pulled up next to him in my car and asked him when  he had eaten last and he said 2 days ago.   I asked him burgers or tacos?  He smiled and said " In and out is my favorite", so we pulled in and I bought him some food and gave him the change from the 20 dollar bill and we made small talk.  I didn't say anything profound or spiritually encouraging because that wasn't what he needed, but I looked him in the eyes and listened to him and  smiled at him and he knew I genuinely cared about him.  Praying in the Spirit under my breath, a detail came to my mind.  Lesley was going to be in San Diego on Wednesday.  I said "Juan here is my card, call me if you get into trouble and my wife will come find you"  It just so happens  that she knows the location of a good homeless shelter in San Diego and my gut feeling is he will be calling us when he figures out he can't get across the border without documentation.

I pointed Juan to the 15 freeway just a block away as he profusely thanked me for the food and money and I could n't help but feel guilty as if there was something more I could be, should be doing.  I immediately went to L.A. fitness and lifted weights with my earphones in and music on and it was as if I had entered a completely different world.  The gym was filled with young people about Juan's age who were completely oblivious to the rejection, need and hopelessness that I had just encountered in this young man, many of them had passed him by on their way to the gym.  I was semi-stunned and knew that this "chance encounter" was just as much for me as it was for him.  The song came on my headphones "show me your glory"  and as clear as if it was an audible voice the Holy Spirit said to me-  I just showed you my glory in the face of Juan.   I was immediately overcome with revelation and emotion and had to hide my face so no one could see the tears forming at the corner of my eyes.  Lots of threads of scriptures came to my mind and I am sure that I will revisit this experience again and God will reveal even more of his glory.

 Matthew 25: 31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
 34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

   I was hungry and you fed me,
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
   I was homeless and you gave me a room,
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
   I was sick and you stopped to visit,
   I was in prison and you came to me.'
 37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'