The only log significant enough to get mentioned in the Bible is the one in my eye.
I’ve had a fear of this log—of having a blind spot that I couldn’t see (is that redundant?). I think it’s a fear of not living fully, of not becoming God’s idea of me.
Here is how God is burning away that fear: In the mornings, after my husband and son head out the door, I take my coffee and Bible downstairs to sit in the company of God and the woodstove. The heat and light of God’s grace are doing a slow transformation of my soul. God’s love is so tender and sensitive that He knows I’d be paralyzed if I were confronted with all my shortcomings at once, so he gently clears one splinter away at a time. Only He is strong enough to split the logs blocking my vision of him, and He can only do this work when I trust him enough to look at Him and receive his life-altering love.
Maybe receiving God’s love is what life’s all about.
About six weeks ago, I happened to sit in on a lecture by Jerry Root at WheatonCollege. He posed an interesting argument against both C. S. Lewis’s claim that pride is the greatest sin and Augustine’s statement (in his commentary on Ps. 19) that pride is “the mainstream of all sin.” Root says that he sees a different source. In his view, wrongful pride arises from fear and insecurity. Fear and insecurity are the result of rejecting the love of God. So the primary sin, the cause of all the disorder in our lives, is failure to receive God’s love.
This thought about fear being the result of rejecting the love of God was planted in my mind October 28. One day in November, it sprouted. My lumberjack husband asked me to hold some logs so he could get the proper angle for sawing them. Some of the logs were short and my hands (thickly gloved) were only about 10 inches from the chain saw—close enough to feel the heat and the violence. I looked the other way, but the flying sawdust and bits of wood whipped my face. Of course we were following safety precautions; nonetheless, I felt a wave of fear. As soon as I named the feeling as “fear,” Jerry Roots insight sprang to my assistance.
Fear of what? I asked myself. Perhaps that one of us would be maimed, that life would be painful and difficult. I feared suffering. But could suffering separate me from the love of God? Could it spoil His capacity to fill my soul with his peace and love? Could it thwart his power to do miracles and transform ugliness into beauty? Could it spoil His ultimate purposes or keep me from deep happiness in his presence for all eternity? No.
So God came to me in that moment. His love freed me from fear. I was still cautious but at the same time confident.
Living fully and fearlessly is only possible when I welcome God’s presence and His love every moment of the day. And though blinding logs are still in my eyes, God will remove them in His timing. My part is to keep looking at him, to keep open to His love.
As Pastor Chuck Pruett said in his sermon yesterday, “The abundant life is the result of the abiding life.”