We Are Not Consumed

Thanks, Helen, for the reminder of Humility by CJ Mahaney.  A magnificent book that everyone should read (although probably not while in Ukraine sitting next to the Man of Humility himself…).  I keep thinking about Ukraine (may have something to do with the charcoal drawing from Anya hanging over my bed or the fact that every Friday night is now spent playing ping-pong with the neighborhood kids).  Over time, the bad memories fade and the great ones remain.  Sometimes I still feel like I failed a good friend – wasn’t able to see past the teasing, wasn’t able to help him be comfortable being himself, wasn’t able to forgive him for changing.  What Humility painfully reminded me was that I can’t change people and I can’t make people move on past their sorrows.

It’s easy to chalk up the small accomplishments and rewarding encounters to my magnetic personality (haha). 

Everyone likes me at work – I must be doing something right.
Spent half an hour chatting with the Blockbuster boy today – I’m such a witty person.
Brought Odwalla juice upstairs to Tristan – I’m such a great neighbor.
Co-worker accidentally put faxes in Confidential Destruction (a locked bin).  I volunteer to get inside the dumpster and find them – Look at me, going above and beyond the call of duty.

For those of us who are competitive about everything, pride is an easy sin to fall into.  Pride comes through comparison, competitive people thrive on comparisons.  And C.S. Lewis says Pride is the Great Sin because looking down on other people keeps us from looking up towards God. 

Not having a job for five months dealt pride a harsh blow.  There was the jab – having to rely on other people.  And the cross – rejection letters in the mail.  The hook was most certainly being “stranded” in a new city, an ocean away from the people who provided security.  And to finish pride off with an uppercut, the only thing I could do was pray.  In this particular battle, pride lost.  But it is still in the arena.

Did you know that professional boxers employ cutmen who treat cuts between rounds so that the boxer is able to continue?  To all of you who were my cutmen, thank you so much.  Hopefully I will be able to return the favor sometime. 

But it wasn’t my superior boxing skills or my cutmen who saved the day. 
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed”  Lamentations 3:22 (some version).What a fantastic truth.  True humility comes when we leave out the “I” and replace it with “Because of the Lord’s great love/faithfulness/grace/wisdom.”  And we have to mean it.  False humility combines pride with lying to ourselves and hoping to trick God.  Trick God?  “God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from” (CS Lewis). 

Here’s to more sentences that begin with God and end with rescue for me.

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