The Beautiful Worst Case

I carried my coughing 5-month old earlier at 3am. I was sleepy and tired, having gone to bed around 1am finishing a talk I was to give later on in the morning. I looked at the face of my Elijah, his also tired, snotty, crying face, and I couldn’t help but think how cute my son is. He really is the cutest baby in the whole world. “I love you so much.” I told him. “You have a cold, but you’re too strong to let a cold stop you. Look at you. You are standing.” He managed a weak smile. He loves it when people talk to him, especially when it is his mother. His smile erased whatever weariness I felt. The appreciation of someone you love is the greatest source of energy. Now I know why they say, “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” When you know that who you love most, God, finds joy in you, you are filled with a different kind of power. You are filled with grace.

Later on, at the closing of the day, after some very exciting partnership meetings for Bridge, I thought about one of the questions a student asked me after my talk. He asked, “Not everyone has grown up like you with strong faith. How do we grow in faith?” As I thought about the question on stage, the first picture that came to my mind was the face of my son this morning, crying in my arms, wiping his snot and drool on my shirt, at 3am in the morning. Let me share with you my answer:

“There’s this myth that it is because we have great faith that we run to God. In truth, it is the opposite. It is those who admit their great need that run to God. Like my 5-month old who looks for his mom or father, who cries out to us for everything, those who need most cry out most. And I need most. I know myself too well to think I can handle life on my own. I know how evil I can be. I know how insecure I am. I know how weak I am, how limited I am. And I know how large the gap between who I am and who I must be is. And that’s why I call out to my Father. I, through prayer, wipe my snot and tears on the robe off His shoulder. I don’t pray and seek God because I have great faith or am a holy man. Contrary to that, I pray and seek God because I have great need.”

The crowd was quiet during my sharing, much like they usually are during other talks. I sometimes wonder if I’m boring them, but I hope that encouraged at least one person to run to God daily.

Life is unpredictable. Life is challenging. It can be complex and can seem difficult and unfair. I many times find myself limited in my abilities and knowledge, and I worry about how to meet all that life requires of me. But then I pause and remember that God is my Father, my perfect Father. I am His son. The beautiful worst case is Heaven with Him for eternity. I find that reassuring. My worst case is to be like Elijah, my baby, falling peacefully asleep in his father’s arms. My worst case is resting in God. And if I, an incredibly imperfect person would do all that I can to care for my son, how much more is a perfect Father caring for me.

And the best case? It’s infinite. That’s exciting. It could be anything. I could be anywhere. It could be something yet to be invented, something yet to be discovered. It could be with people I’ve never met. Just like when I make loving promises to my son, who doesn’t even know what the word “promise” means yet finds peace in my voice, I have faith that there are things I do not understand but are coming in my favor, simply because they come from my Father’s words in the Bible.

When your worst case is love you and your best case is infinite, you work extremely hard. The fear of failure, rejection, and death gives way to a Father’s reassurance, and the infinite possibilities of my Creator open up to me. If I can’t fail, should not I try more? If nothing is impossible, why should I not attempt greater?

I should and I shall. #DB

Melt Away My Concerns

I don’t know a lot, much less understand enough
My only discoveries are Matrushkas of questions
And like cells, they multiply, faster than I can hold
So I must rely on Your voice for wise revelations
Of which of the infinite paths to walk securely down,
Of which open doors to shut, which to boldly enter
And to define the comings and goings of my day
That I may never stray from Your love’s center
For as my namesake once prayed in a poem,
“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!”
I experience this loving care in Your disciplines
Creating in me the capacity to live miraculously
Blessed is man that Your love for him is so great
That second and seventh chances are not beyond You
And with all my faults, with all my fears and doubts
They all melt away as I stand here in worship of You
#db

Prayer While Fasting

Slow down the day, dear Father
Slow down the falling of the leaves
Let’s pause this moment
Freeze the rustling of the sheaves
And calm the storm within me
Rest my mind’s factory
Clear the inner skies blue
Lift the fog for the view to see
Eternity, blessed treasures
Beyond time, space, dimension
Prepared for me to enjoy
Such a beauty beyond mention
Why am I always in a hurry?
Why am I so anxious to curry?
A favor, a piece of respect
Some temporary thing of no hurry
Is that how small I am?
Is that how shallow my existence?
Take me to a deeper place
Where my heart won’t meet resistance
There I can be truthfully safe
There I can fully immerse
With you I am not afraid of the Book
With you I learn to love each verse
And all the dreams and worries
They don’t matter much anymore
I have everything I need in You
Yet You say You have more in store
#db