Friday, March 2, 2012

Why I love the rain...

Let me see if I can paint the picture... I'd say to close your eyes, but you're reading, so just imagine as you read.

The quickly dimming light of an overcast evening sneaks through the gaps of the dark brown curtains hanging on the wall. Cars pass by, almost incessantly, outside, splashing through puddles growing larger with each drop that falls. On occasion, the soft patter of raindrops crashing full speed into the window provide a punctuated beat to the continual drone of traffic outside. I sit, reclined, in an old blue computer chair, with a well-maintained but visibly well-loved guitar across my lap. Eyes closed, I strum chords, pluck strings, swaying to and fro with the rise and fall of the sound. Sometimes, words will escape my heart, make their way to my mouth, and spring forth in a hushed voice. Other times, a simple hum is all I muster. Songs never end, nor do new ones begin--they simply intertwine--becoming a perpetual symphony that permeates my cozy room.

I love a rainy day. Not always. I'm not packing my things to move to the Pacific Northwest anytime soon, but I do love a good rainy day here and there. There's something peaceful... something cleansing about the rain... something organic. It reminds me of how little power I wield. Can I tell the rain to stop? Sure, I can try, but to no avail. It reminds me of my place, it humbles me.

It brings me peace. The random patter of drops on the window and the splash of cars outside provides an accompanying soundtrack that other evenings fail to offer. Paired with the ringing chords of a guitar, there are few things that sound better.

That, is why I love the rain. However, I must cut this short, the rain is requesting I join in song again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


It's funny how conviction works...

People like conviction, yet at the same time, people don't like it.

Conviction is hard. It's painful. It's a punch in the nose. I like to call it a sucker punch of grace. And I desperately need it. I need it all too often.

I used to think that when I finished up college and moved into the real world, it'd be easier. Sin wouldn't be as big a problem, I'd have more time to spend with Jesus... oh how far from the truth that is. The real world is hard--if anything, it's harder. There's more temptations, more responsibilities, more things to prioritize.

In a blink, I can be miles from where I thought I was and it takes a sucker punch of grace, usually in the form of conviction, to bring me back to my senses.

Thanks be to God that he loves me enough to do that.

I think of how hard it is to confront friends with an issue. You know, when a roommate's music is too loud, or they slam doors in the wee hours of the morning? Maybe it's just my personality type, but I struggle with even that minor of a confrontation. Praise the Lord he does not hesitate to confront me. Praise the Lord he loves me enough to convict me.

He uses all forms of communication too. Just this morning, I read Psalm 1:1-2. Have you ever read Psalm 1 before? I don't think I ever had. With all the Psalms out there, why pick the first one?
"Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night."
-Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)
Boom. That was the conviction I needed.

Do I walk in the counsel of the wicked? Yeah, but not all the time...
Do I stand in the way of sinners? Yeah, but I'm not that bad...
Do I sit in the seat of scoffers? Yeah, but I don't always do that...
Do I delight in the law of the Lord? Well, sometimes?
Do I meditate on the law day and night? Well, you see... no.

That was the sucker punch of grace I needed. God hit me right on the nose. It wasn't fun, but discipline isn't always fun. I can try and negotiate my way around that Scripture all I want, but I'm only negotiating my way around a flawless and perfect God. Who am I to tell God what his law says? When I shortchange Scripture, I shortchange my faith.

There's a two-step process from here. Acknowledgement and repentance.

Step one, acknowledge that I've failed (miserably) and fallen short of this command. Step two, come to the Lord in prayer and repent. The Greek word for repentance is μετάνοια pronounced "meta-noi-ya". It means a physical turning away from sin and towards God.

And, I guess there's a step three, accept grace. It doesn't do me any good to wallow in self pity. I can sit there and pity myself all day long, but that is just depressing and not productive. Grace is awesome. John Mark McMillan sings in one of his songs, "If his grace is an ocean, we're all sinking" and I love the imagery that portrays.

However, Paul cautions us about grace...
"What then shall we say? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin continue to live in it?"
-Romans 6:1-2 (ESV, emphasis added)
It's as simple as that. I've died to sin, I am a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), so how can I continue to live the life I've died to? It's easy, I cannot.

But, it is hard. And that's why his grace is an ocean. There's never an end. There's no bottom. It will never run out. And in that, there is comfort. There is hope. There is peace.