Saturday, May 13, 2006

the ground is hard

The ground is hard, and your hands will blister from the plow.

Papers need to be pushed, but sometimes they really do leave small incisions called paper-cuts.

Thorns and thistles will strangle your crops.

Your direct deposit, if processed on a weekend, may not show in your bank account until the following business day.

Sometimes, I think about our ancestors, and the curse they brought upon themselves. I think about it in a “that’s too bad, and I’m glad I don’t work the ground for a living” sort of way. Sometimes, I almost believe that this curse does not apply to us—we, who live in a time of intense abundance (in certain slivers of the world). But, every now and then, I stop long enough to realize that my work, too, is cursed. That the world in which I work is cursed. That the people with whom I work are cursed. And, I grow frustrated that things cannot be easier, frustrated that things do not always go well with and for me. I lose sight of the beauty of this predicament.

“Beauty?” you ask. Yes, there is beauty in this curse. Goodness and mercy are the end result of this curse. Provision and fulfillment await us. Not because we muscle through the muck and mire, literal or figurative. But, hopefully, our weakness is exposed to us, and for moments we throw our hands up in frustrated prayer and acknowledge that we need our King. Our dependence on Christ grows because of this curse, and in learning the depth of our need for him we learn the depth of His love for us. Deep calls to Deeper.

It is tempting to medicate ourselves. It is tempting to wrap ourselves in the comforts that are so very easily accessible---people, places, things, experiences, fantasies. I think we need to resist this common response, and rest in our weakness, our nakedness, and pray that our Maker tends to us—because He will. We read the text of this curse in the book of Genesis, and after the punishment is delivered, after justice is completed, we see the King, in all of His glory, make garments and cloth his children. Deep calls to Deeper, and He answers with love.

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