Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“The Proof Process”

"The Proof Is in The Pudding"! I’ve often thought that little alliteration was a sort of …well, STUPID. What proof are you looking for in pudding, after all? Is this some reference to a dessert recipe made mostly with strong alcohol, as in "eighty proof" whiskey or something? And how can pudding prove ANYTHING at all of substance to me? These are the questions that keep me up late at night, along with certain meaningful words that my mind conjures up from time to time, while chasing sleep, that seem to be missing from the dictionary. With apologies to Mr. Webster, I think he left out a very powerful word. I shall now remedy that omission for him by enlightening you. You’re welcome, Mr. Webster. The word that I’ve chosen to "create" or "coin", if you will, is "EXTERNALIST"! Say it with me, x-turn-a-list. It simply means "one who chooses to judge life, success, people, and self purely on perceived external evidence with little or no regard for the heart of the person OR the heart of the matter."
Now, as my ever diligent wife pointed out, SURELY there is already a word that means basically the same thing. Of course, what I heard her say was….you’re not smart enough to come up with a new word all by yourself. But I digress.
For me today, THIS word made me feel like a sort of “vocabulary pioneer” or a 5-star wordsmith. Thank you, in advance, for “humoring” me.
I considered the meaning of this word today. (Yes, in the future I WILL refer to this brilliant addition to the English language as an actual WORD) I thought of how its meaning has been such a reality in my own life for years, and how it characterizes so much of human nature and the society we live in.
We are a results oriented people. Most of the evaluations and judgments we can so flippantly pass on others, or on life situations are based purely on what we can see with our two eyes. After all, aren’t we all adherers to the grossly flawed philosophy that “perception is nine-tenths reality”?
What a contrast this “accepted” mentality is to the wisdom spoken by Jesus when he admonished, “judge NOTHING according to appearance”! Well that just sux, don’t it? Our eyes and our emotionally controlled perspective are all we need to form a reasonable hypothesis and come to well thought out conclusions about people and life, right???
How many times have I been guilty of pronouncing sentence on my life or the life of another because of a circumstance I was looking at. If only our eyes had the capacity to see the heart! Our emotions and perspective can so manipulate and distort reality. And this “pandemic” is fueled by so many of the accepted norms in society, including those promoted and championed in media, politics, entertainment, and religion.
Our relationships can be fractured, our definitions of success and failure can be distorted or woefully misapplied, and our interpretation of where we are on our life’s journey can be totally misread or misunderstood—leaving us in a frustrated state of hopelessness, mistrust, and despair—when we choose to let our senses be our guide and supreme judge. Love Himself has the ability and the gift to see into the heart, beneath the clutter of circumstance, emotion, and selfish ideology. Love is the only lens through which we can truly see reality. Our challenge is to let Love grow, and journey with us through the process into maturity and wisdom. And, here’s the “kicker”, we can’t even judge the work of Love Himself in our own lives, by what we “see”. Our focus should be on the relationship itself—the intimacy with Christ, and not how quickly we are “seeing” the results of that growth manifested. Love will bring about the results. That’s HIS job! We get to respond to the tender nudgings and leadings of Love as He leads us in this journey into Himself—where Life is able to be “seen” as it truly is, a gift, an abundant gift that deeply touches and changes us and those we meet on this journey, wherever they may be. We can love them and leave them WITH LOVE Himself, without passing judgement based on the way they “look” to us.
The beautiful, yet often misquoted and misinterpreted passage of scripture in Hebrews brings such a clarity and security to me as it speaks to the heart of what faith is and how we live in it. It says that “faith” is its own substance of what is hoped for & its own evidence of the unseen. The results are not the substance or the evidence, it is Faith in Love Himself! The results will happen “organically”, naturally, and in perfect timing out of the intimate relational connection with Love. My faith is guaranteed in Him! WOW! Talk about a load off of my results-obsessed mind! You wanna talk about the “fruit” or results produced in your life? Love is its own fruit, for only out of It can come the results of joy, peace, patience, etc… A life genuinely lived Loved can’t be faked, manipulated, or staged! It happens in unforced, uncontrived rhythms of grace, moment by moment, day by day, possibly even “unseen” by human eyes……..but the heart knows, and Love sees the heart! Oh yeah, I almost forgot, when you’re tempted to judge success, failure, progress, personal growth—life in general—merely by “external evidence”, remember the incredible example of the growth cycle of the Chinese Bamboo Tree….
The planter takes a little seed, plants it, waters it, and fertilizes it for a year, and he doesn’t “see” anything happen. He repeats this process over and over in year 2, year 3, and year 4, with no evidence to the eye of anything growing at all. How frustrating this must be to the planter, but nevertheless, he continues the process. Finally, sometime during the fifth year, as he continues the mundane, seemingly unfruitful process, something extraordinary happens. The Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and can grow up to NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS! Just because you can’t “see” life growing doesn’t mean it’s not! Stay in Love’s process, and journey on, traveller!

No comments:

Post a Comment