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It’s been only a recent event, but I know that the feeling has been swelling in me. My son, Jasper, is growing up right before my eyes, and with each day he’s got a new skill, a new word, a new expression, a new individual and unique trait. And it’s wonderful to see, and I thank God for creating my son. Yet, there is something in me that laments the transition from infancy and toddlerhood to his older-toddler-stage. In the last week or so, he’s learned to go on the jungle gym all alone, something that we’ve never let him do before. After dinner this evening, I went out and let him run freely, loosing my reins and letting the One who created him reign.

Now here’s the story: Jasper was running around the playground and he hit a patch of sand. He then went tummy first onto the pavement, scraping his knee and elbow, and immediately started to cry. Another father nearby commented, either intentionally as a metaphor or simply as something to say: “You know, we all fall down at some point.”

That’s when it hit me, how true, beautiful and eloquent those words are.

Falling is necessary if we’re to rise. Scrapes and bruises are necessary if we’re to live a life engaged with Christ, because nothing hurts more than to fall on your face. As a father, I know that Jasper will have to fall a few more time. I’m hoping that I’ll be there to help him get up, give him a brush off and a hug, and be there to reassure him that everything’s okay. One day, he’ll get the hang of things, but he’ll “fall” in other ways. I’m praying that I’ll be there to help him, or, even better, that he’ll come to know how God raises him up when he does fall.

So many people who read these words on this blog have felt the same kind of shattering effect that I’ve felt. Being broken in today’s world doesn’t make sense, and it’s often a sign of weakness or unmasculine. But in God’s sovereign realm, it’s crucial. We might think that we’ve got it all under control, but we can have everything slip out from underneath. Then we’re on our knees begging and praying, “Oh Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And because our hearts are contrite, and because we see the need, Jesus enters our lives and transforms us.

Our falls are simply that: they’re temporary falls. With Jesus at our side, we’re lifted up, raised from the dead, healed of our sicknesses, eased of our burdens, released from our chains. Now how cool is that?

It’s such an age-old desire, on par with perhaps lust or quests. Wanting to know the future outcome of our lives is always with us. Sometimes it slows down, sometimes we forget to want; other times we search wholeheartedly and without end.

I want to know lots of things. I’d love to know what’s going to happen in a year’s time when I graduate from Teachers’ College. I’d really like to know if I’d actually get a job, and where that job might be. I’d really, really love to know if our lives endup the way we think they’ll end up–or not.

But behind all that desiring is an unhealthy lack of faith in God. Basically, if the God that saved you and the God that has kept you for this day, for this entry in the blog, then it’s the same God that will keep you for your life, whatever the outcome.

Many of worry about work, about the daily affairs of our lives. We worry about bills and unexpected expenses. We worry about our health and family. God’s reassurance to us is that He’s got it under control, and He completely and utterly knows what our lives will amount to. So instead of desiring to know all the time, we might as well abide in the One who saves and blesses us, and trust that we are safe as long as we remain in Him.

As I read this evening with my wife, “The Whats of our future are defined by the Who of eternity.”

The sermon today had this great, simple, purpuseful and meaningful question as the central focus: Where are you? We all know that God asked Adam this from Genesis 3:9; we also know that God didn’t really want information concerning Adam’s whereabouts, for, as God, He knew exactly where Adam was. God wanted Adam to have some time to reflect on this question, to come forward and let his heavenly father know where he was. God asks us the same.

God wants us to quietly go over our relationship with Him, and our relationship with His word, to see “where we’re at” in this life. We can be easily distracted in our day-to-day “busyness” that our relationship with God no longer matters, and we get lost, either unintentionally or on purpose, onlyh to hear that simple question from God, “Where are you?”

One really important step that I learned in helping me each day is to not only read His word, but to have a plan to read His word. You see, we can always say we’ll do something, but without building a plan and then acting on it, we don’t get further than merely saying we’ll do something.

Similar to questions of “What am I supposed to do?”, this question convicts us to reflect on our relationship with God. It doesn’t ask of God, as in asking for something through prayer; rather, it asks us to look deep into our own lives to see how we can be closer to the God we’ve placed our trust in.

The pastor also noted that Satan asked Eve a rather simple question as well, only that his question was one that tested her faith in God. Satan asked, “Did God really say that….?” Of course Satan knew that God had said,. “Don’t eat from that tree.” But Satan wanted to test Eve, just as he often wants to test us in our lives.

The answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” Yes, God said don’t do such and such, as clearly written in Scripture. And there’s no way to know unles you’re grounded in Scripture; and there’s no way to become grounded in the Word unless you’ve got a plan to read the Word.

After listening to a podcast this morning from CBC Radio, I realized that my time spent at work has not been without purpose or meaning. Perhaps I’ve known that all along, but I could never distill the reasons. I think I’ve been in the position I’m in now because I needed these months to carve out a sense of humility and a servant’s heart, and not to grow into a snob about things that I would do for paid work.

The podcast I heard this morning was about a woman who sells hot dogs on University Avenue, who is a university graduate with a BA in Fine Arts, and who is well-educated, well-spoken, and talented. (Listen to Wienie Queen on CBC Radio.) She explained that she kind of “fell into” the business of street vending after she had won a license in the Toronto Vendor’s lottery system. Her spot was on University Avenue near the major research hospitals, but her talents were in jewelry making, not hot dogs and sausages. But after some persuasion, she ended up buying the cart, and making a transition to long days and hard work, $2.50 per sale. Had she ever wondered what she was doing selling hotdogs? I’m sure that with all the time in between customers, she would have had ample time to reflect on this question, similar to how I reflect on my own role at work.

I’ve written before of feeling under-worked, or over-qualified for my work. Yet, after hearing what this woman has been doing and how she comes to terms and actually relishes her contributions, I’ve come to know that there are so many more blessings than the ones that we see or want to see happen. For me, a large part of it amounts to being shaped into a person who will, indeed, work at a “lower level” and for “less money” and have “less contributions” that make an evident change. My job is largely defined, but I make it what I think is best for both me and the Institute.

The best idea that came to mind this morning was the gem that we can easily become snobs about the things we do, the things we eat, the things we wear, the music we listen to, or the books we read. We think that we couldn’t possibly do this kind of work because we have such and such an education, such and such experiences, and such and such goals. But the answer to my search has been quite revealing: stop being a snob and your heart will be transformed for the better.

Jesus washed his disciples’ feet; He offered water to a prostitute; He touched and consoled the lepers. He conversed with the tax collectors, with Jews and non-Jews, with Priests and common folk. Do you think He ever turned his nose up at the people, the work, the food, the clothes? I highly doubt it. And that’s probably what God wants of me. “Take your work, whatever it is that you do each day, and make it shine for me.” I’m assuming that’s what He wants me to do, and I will approach each day knowingly working to transform and carve away my attitudes and notions of who I am: a person who accepts his position as a gift from God, and is ready to humbly serve, thus walking by faith and not by sight.

I’ve just begun using Twitter, a “micro-blogging” Website that allows users to update and send communications to “followers” or friends. It’s really interesting to watch it grow as a phenomenon, and to see how it’s being used. I’m not sure how long it’s been around, and I’m not sure of its popularity, but I did happen to find a really neat application to use it for.

I started a prayer/praise request micro blog just to get my prayers and praises out. I’ve barely started, but I noticed that there is a church in America called “We The Church” and they run a fantastic Website that uses Twitter as its engine. (http://www.wethechurch.org/) Basically it’s like a prayer/praise posting wall, where online users post their prayers and praises. Very cool.

My Twitter site is: http://www.twitter.com/prayer_requests

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What I’m reading now

"Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel," by Laura Byrne Paquet (Fredericton:Goose Lane Editions, 2007) "The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home," by Pico Iyer (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2000). "Outliers: The Story of Success," by Malcolm Gladwell (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008).

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