Kindle deals for Christian readers
Crossway’s put Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin on sale for $3.49 this week. Be sure to grab a copy of it. Also on sale are How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot ($1.99) and Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry Morgan (99¢).
Several years ago I sat down to breakfast with my son at a local diner. When the server first came to our table I knew something was wrong. She had anything but soft edges. This woman had “don’t mess with me,” written all over her face. Words like, rude, short andabrasive came to mind. As if this wasn’t enough, she messed up our order, and offered a meager, disingenuous apology. I was heated. Didn’t she know she existed to make my day better? So I left the gratuity section of the bill blank, yanked my son out of the diner and headed off. Then the Holy Spirit began speaking to me, showing me how my utilitarian outlook on her had set the stage for me responding to her meanness with an extra helping. I made a pit stop at the bank, pulled out some cash, then headed back to the diner. When I finally got to speak to her, in vintage cabernet tones I told her that while I felt she could have done better, my response was unkind. I asked her for forgiveness then gave her the money. Then she surprised me. A tear trickled down her once hardened face. For the next several moments she unloaded, telling me about the divorce she’s going through, the tough financial times and the difficulty she’s having with one of her kids. Sure, while kindness had broken her, I found her response to my kindness elevating my vision of her. She was no longer a nameless server who existed for my convenience, but a real person with a story. I guess kindness got to both of us.
I was trained in a discipline that focused on the sovereignty of God, and I’m grateful for that. It has centered my life on someone beyond myself; nevertheless, the primary and almost exclusive characteristic of the nature of God promoted was his sovereignty. As a result, I found a theological formula that was inadequate in this moment of distress. Something important was missing. After all, if God is like Hitler, his sovereignty brings no comfort. I did not doubt God’s sovereignty in this moment. What I was struggling with was his goodness.
Sovereignty alone was no longer sufficient.
Google Translate vs “La Bamba”
Because it connects being filled with the Spirit to these pointed words, this passage is a challenge to us. First, it demands we recognize this type of speech can be motivated and animated by God’s Spirit. It forces us to enlarge our vision of the Spirit-filled life. Not that the Spirit-filled life doesn’t include sincere love and patience and kindness and gentleness. But apparently the Spirit-filled life is compatible with this kind of direct, pointed speech too. Faithfulness to Scripture demands we have a category for a Spirit-inspired insult.
All three of our children, for the first time, will go to school this year. This will be the last first day of school. And though I’ve prided myself on not being “that parent,” I’m for sure “that parent.” I’ve done my share of fretting and wondering whether or not we have rightly prepared this kindergartner, like his brother and sister, for this first real entrance into the big, wide world. When I think about those things, and I think about my big boy walking away with his newly minted lunch box in his hand into a classroom for the first time, my heart hurts.