Lots of info comin’ in and out

We’re reading a library right now. Yes, these are all being read by two people. I may or may not claim four of them.

Don’t judge me. I like to overwhelm my brain with information.

Erick’s all over “A Million Ways to Die,” by Rick James. I’m finally tackling “Changes That Heal,” by Henry Cloud (my Campus Crusade friends are all gasping right now). And I’m off-setting Henry with a little Howard through “Onward.”

Good stuff people.

His Agony, my lack of understanding

Something amazingly wonderful happened yesterday. Let me tell you about it.

I was reading “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. With the exception of the Bible, no other book has had such a profound impact on my life. It’s an amazing daily devotional. But sometimes, I read an entire passage, and do not understand what Chambers is saying.

This happened yesterday.

In the April 5 entry titled: “His Agony and Our Access,” Chambers is talking about how we can never fully comprehend Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I knew it was important, but I wasn’t fully grasping what Chambers meant when he said — “the agony in Gethsemane was the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world.”

Why was Jesus in such agony and pain?

It had to be more than just Christ’s destiny of the physical pain He would endure. Jesus wasn’t sweating blood because He was fearing what the Roman soldiers would do to Him.

I was missing something, and it was bugging me. So I went back to the Bible.

For whatever reason (Hi Courtney, I’m the Holy Spirit), the passage that jumped out the most to me was in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Huh?! What cup? Cup of what? I don’t remember reading this before. What the heck — I’m stupid and don’t understand anything. (This is what I say to myself in my head — I’m so affirming.)

I knew God lead me to read Luke 22 for a reason, and that I was right on the edge of fully grasping Chambers’ message, but it wasn’t all coming together in my brain.

So I prayed — asking God to help me seek an understanding of His word.

Figuring God would provide me understanding at some point in the near future, I decided to move along with my morning. I picked up “Radical” by David Platt, and no joke, the first line I read was “Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane…”

Say What!? I love when the Spirit moves like this. Less than two minutes after I prayed for understanding,here was a resource to help me. Needless to say, I was intrigued by what David Platt had to say.

Again — why was Jesus in such agony? Here’s what Platt said:

Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that he was not a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead he was a Savior about to endure divine wrath. Listen to his words: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” The “cup” is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgement. It is the cup of God’s wrath. This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden. All God’s holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on him, and he is sweating blood at the thought of it. What happened at the Cross … was about the wrath due to your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath came rushing down on Christ … Christ drank the full cup of God’s wrath…

This is the gospel. The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent his Son to bear his wrath against sin and to show his power over sin in the Resurrection. This is what Christ’s destiny was, and what His agony was all about.

I got it. I get it. Love teachable moments.

We’re missing it.

I’m reading this book. It’s wrecking me. It’s forcing me to wrestle with God, my selfishness, and the blessings I have in my life that I take for granted.

Being born in America is blessing #1.

“Hole in Our Gospel,” is written by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Big issues. Big responsibilities.

I want you to imagine a scenario with me.

Let’s say you wake-up tomorrow morning with no running water. You can’t take a shower. Go to the bathroom. Or even have a glass of water to hydrate yourself. And running over to a friend’s house isn’t an option — they don’t have running water either.

Instead of preparing for work (so you can bring home money to care for your family), or sending your kids off to school (so they can receive an education, get good grades to get a good job, to then provide for their family), all of your family’s thoughts and energy is poured into finding water.

Where’s the water? If you live where Erick and I do, it’s about a 20-minute walk down the road, in a lake.

You grab a five-gallon bucket — which weighs about 42 pounds when filled with water — travel the 45-minute journey, only to bring back about three gallons of water. You started with five, but it sloshed out on your way back home. Sucky, right?

The average family of four in America uses 255 gallons of water each day. To keep your water usage at that level, you’d have to take 85, 45-minute trips to the lake. Which isn’t possible. Even if you gathered water non-stop, you’d need 63 hours to accomplish this task. Daunting? I think so.

And here’s the final kicker — the water you just spent all your time and energy collecting, is tainted with life-threatening bacteria. And now you’re feeling hopeless.

Reality check. This is the no-win situation facing families daily all around the world. As many as five million people die every year of water-related illnesses.

Parents are either watching helplessly as their children die of lack of water, or they watch them die from diarrhea, because the only water they have is tainted.

If we had a lack of clean water in America, we’d plug all of our nation’s resources into solving the issue as quickly as possible.

We function with the belief that as long as we’ve eliminated the issue in our country, we don’t need to eradicate the lack of clean water around the world. It’s unacceptable.

This book isn’t about poverty, hunger, or little to no sources of clean water — you’ve heard that all before. This book is about injustice.

Read it. I’m sure you could use a little humble pie.