Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Sync

I have noticed that sometimes the picture I am seeing and the words that I am hearing can be out of sync. It really is troublesome. Sometimes it is just enough out of sync that I think my hearing is delayed. But upon prolonged exposure, it becomes more apparent that indeed it is out of whack and someone with some technical skills needs to step in and put it back together.

You have probably experienced it in a movie or on television. Whenever it happens, it is annoying enough that you can't really continue to watch it. Especially if it is an important scene, it really messes up the impact due to its distraction. You focus on the timing rather than what is being said. I am quite sure you know exactly of what I speak and have been equally annoyed.
Another occasion that can occur is seeing a picture on a screen and the words ticker along the bottom, but the words seem unrelated to the visual images. For instance, it can be during a romantic comedy like Sleepless in Seattle on a TV network with Meg Ryan saying something funny, but the words across the ticker roll across the bottom of the screen saying, "11 dead in a tornado in Arkansas" or "earthquake rumbles in Indonesia at 5.2 on Rector scale thousands feared dead" or "mudslides in California, kills 4 teens camping on Boy Scout outing". These sorts of words have crossed too many screens, reporting too many tragedies. Those kinds of words suck the air out of any movie, no matter how funny or beautiful the picture above.

It happens not only on a screen but also in real life. It happened to me just last week. It had been a lovely day; the grandbabies were at the house with their moms and dads, and we had all had a delicious dinner together. The little ones had their baths and were all snug in their beds. Things had gone from the chaos of four little ones running and a new puppy chasing them at full throttle to that blissful quiet of each tucked into bed, and a worn out puppy lying at our feet. The sound of adults enjoying one another’s company in late evening chatter, catching up on the happenings of the day and the expectations of tomorrow---all was well; the day was done. We had even made homemade peach ice cream earlier and were about to hit round two in a midnight invasion of the freezer. The scene was good - really good.

I picked up my computer and began the task of catching up on emails after being out of the country. As I maneuvered my way through, the ticker along the bottom of this beautiful scene sucked the air out of me. The eminent death of someone I cared for was on my screen. As I scrolled the words, hurt like deep scratches clawed my heart. It squeezed the air out of me until breath itself was difficult--I hurt for my friends. I imagined their circumstances; I exchanged places in my mind--in a flash I was in ICU--I heard the sounds of the machines, I saw the spaghetti of tubes and IVs. I smelled the sterile environment and felt the chill of the air-conditioned halls. The words I read did not match the comfy, content cathedral of my home and family in which I sat. Through the night, I awoke thinking of them and all they were facing. And although we have been down this road with others, the path to losing a loved one is neither easy nor unfamiliar.

Our visit the next day put further distance between words and worlds in sync in this bubble of pain. The rest the world was gorgeous outside; a beautiful sunset filled the canvas of sky out the windows of the hospital corridor. Magnificent in color, all seemed as if we should be standing on a beach in Key West--not outside the door of death. The same people that had gathered for football games and laughter, Bible studies and church, parties and cookouts, were now gathered in a hospital hallway. The worlds seemed too much in contrast to be on the same page. We hugged, cried with them, and spoke words of comfort. We recalled memories and listened to the pain in their voices as they had reached the time that their loved one would be departing from them. One of the friends gathered mentioned that the “ticker” of the screen of life did not match the picture. It seemed as though once spoken, it identified my angst. That was it; I had only felt it, but could not put my finger on the problem. Once it was stated, it all went back into sync.

For me, my emotions and reality were out of rhythm. My picture can reel ahead, but I need to keep in mind and heart that the King and the Kingdom aren't always apparent. It looks like one thing, but something entirely different may be going on. The disciples had the same looked like a huge storm was about to make them capsize, or the man was yelling too loudly from the crowd, or the children should leave Jesus alone so that He could attend to more important tasks at hand. They thought one thing was the reality, which resulted in their emotions and thoughts carrying out that action they believed, but what they did not see was that Jesus operated in a whole other realm--the Kingdom was about to break into those areas. The winds and the water would obey Him; the blind were about to see, and children were the prizes - not the problem. His actions followed what He believed. They were in sync - He knew the power, the character, and the plan of the Father and because of that, He conducted His life according to the King and the Kingdom.

We are to learn from the disciples, yet not reenact their lack of faith. They had not yet seen the cross. They had not seen the empty tomb yet, and they did not have the Holy Spirit or the entire body of scripture to read in much of what we see in scripture about them. But just after the cross, resurrection, and the Holy Spirit being breathed upon them, Jesus said to Thomas, just after he believed, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) All along they had trouble with the words and pictures not matching. They did not understand what Jesus was speaking; they did not understand the Kingdom of which He kept talking about. Many of the other people were expecting Him to be King. Such a great king He would make--true. Talk about solving problems! Healthcare? Solved! He could just heal them! Hunger? Solved! He blessed five loaves and two fish and fed five thousand--He could feed them. Power to rule? Solved! He made even nature obey Him with His words. What they saw was that their world problems could be solved, and they shouted, "Save now!" But what they saw did not fit with His actions. He did not take charge; He did not even stop the arrest. He did not take on the authorities they saw. The crowd yelled, "Crucify Him". He did not do as they expected—so the people just killed Him.

What they did not know is that He had to die to restart, reconcile, and restore what He had made and begun, clear back in the Garden of Eden. For it was there that the picture and the words first got out of sync. It was there that mankind doubted the goodness of their Creator and committed treason against the King. Another world - a world of shame and death began with all its rippling effects. It has so broken the world we still live in. What we believe and what is reality is dramatically out of whack. The King will take back and restore all that seems wrong and lost. But until then, Jesus spoke words like,” Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” (John 14:1) "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)." "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) And "Peace be with you". (John 20:21)

He not only knows that we are out of sync, but He also shows us how to get back and remain in sync. What we believe is what carries out into how we behave. Sin is wrong thinking about God that leads to wrong actions. When we believe rightly we can behave rightly—then we get back into sync. We must know Him, know His character, know His Word and believe it! What we see is not all that is going on-- look further - see Him always a work. Join Him and pray along with Him..."Your kingdom come, Your will be done..." This was not just a model of words, but also of belief. The King will make all things right no matter how messed up they may seem for now. Believe Him; receive peace; act out of that peace - get in sync with the big picture. He is a Master Technician: the words and the picture will all match soon; sight and sound will come together at last! "And I SAW a new heaven and a new earth…and I HEARD a loud voice from the throne.” (Revelation 21:1,3)... Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who sits on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:3-5a)

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