The Scan

7 03 2012

Traveling through the airport inevitably leads to the security area. Standing in the line, you can watch as travelers of different levels of experience approach the scanner. The people who travel often appear a little bored. They wait their turn, know what to take off, set out, and walk through. Others are a little nervous. They move through the queue watching the people in front of them take off their shoes, pull out electronics, and respond to the beeps with wide eyes.

Eventually, it is my turn. I take off my shoes, put my liquids in the bin, and step into the scanner. For three seconds, I am asked to stand still while the scanner sweeps over me looking for explosives or other dangers. Once the scan is finished, I wait for the green light so that I can move toward my flight. I never get a green light.

For some reason, my left shoulder gets flagged every time I go through the scanner. I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter what shirt I am wearing, whether I have a sweater on, or how high I raise my arms. The scanner tells the security people to check my left shoulder for a problem.

If the scanner could look into my heart, it would find a reoccurring flag there as well. We all struggle with different kinds of sin, but everyone has one type of sin that keeps coming up over and over. It is a sin that eats away at our peace, faces us in the morning when we get up, and is still there when we brush our teeth at night. These sins dog our confidence, cause us to question our faith, and just seem to grow stronger the more we search for a way around them.  

God’s grace is the answer to even those most stubborn sins. Surrender opens the door and invites God to dig the deep root of sin out of our hearts. Jesus’ presence helps us see just how intertwined these sins are in our habits and attitudes. His love invites us to live in a different reality.

My Jesus Resolution is to undergo God’s scan. I am going to let His Word be a mirror for my heart. I want to pay attention to the flags that it raises about places that hold the potential for danger. I want to empty myself of pride, selfishness, and control and let God’s scan reveal the spots that need His gracious touch. When I walk through the scanner, my deepest desire is for the likeness of Jesus to be what is most clearly seen.


5 03 2012

Last Friday, tornadoes ripped through towns throughout the Midwest. Sirens pierced the air, warning residents to seek shelter. The ominous clouds held the gaze of anxious eyes. In little more than a heartbeat, lives were rocked to the core. Dozens died as the wind unleashed its fury. Farms, schools, homes and businesses were destroyed as the twisters gathered speed, racing along the ground and dancing their deadly dances.

Our hearts and our prayers go out to everyone whose lives were touched by these devastating storms.

The physical storms that played against the farmlands and towns of the Midwest last week resemble the other kinds of storms that sometimes race through our lives. Without warning, the sky turns from blue to black, and we hold our breath. The doctor calls, the papers are served, the report is released, or the doorbell rings and our worlds shift. Our foundations are rocked to the core. Our lives are defined by a before and after marker. Our hearts scramble to find safe haven from the devastation.

Isaiah 4:2-6 holds a beautiful promise about the coming of Jesus. It talks about the impact His arrival will have in the land, the way He will wash away the filth of sin, and how He will make those who dwell where He reigns holy. His presence will serve as a canopy, covering His people, providing guidance, and inspiring wonder. It is the final part of the promise that speaks most insistently to those of us caught in the storms. “There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and the rain.” (Isaiah 4:6)

My Jesus Resolution today is to make God my storm shelter. God doesn’t promise that storms won’t come. They will and they do. Instead, He promises that His presence will be my shelter as those storms rage around me. He will be the safe haven for my heart. He will be my peace amidst the unrelenting fury of life’s storms. When the sky darkens and the wind picks up, I want to run into the safety of His arms, knowing He will hold me closely even as the winds howl all around me.

No Matter Where

2 03 2012

The text message simply read, “Sitting in jail.” Rolling my eyes, I glanced at the message from my daughter. This wasn’t the first time she had made a trip to the police station for a task for school. I smiled, and sent back an answer teasing her about her current living situation.

She didn’t respond. A shadow passed through my mind like a cloud drifting past the sun. Was she okay? I tried to call. No answer. Her phone went straight to voice mail. I received a message from my husband, who had also gotten her text message, asking if I had talked to her. I hadn’t. His concern was contagious. Minutes passed by with no word. A wiggle of doubt started to crawl through my stomach. The miles between us suddenly seemed very long.

Finally, she called. She was fine. She had been at the jail on an errand. I took a deep breath, thankful to hear her laugh. Space and time resumed their normal parameters.

Those few minutes, however, turned my mind to the heart of God. There is never a moment when God doesn’t know exactly where you are. His eyes are on you. His presence is with you. His love surrounds you. His grace invites you. His power awaits you.

No matter where you find yourself, you can be sure that God is with you. It doesn’t matter how dark the day, how desperate the moment, or how shameful the circumstances are – God knows where you are. No matter what you have done, where you find yourself, who you are with, or why you are there, God wants you to know that His presence is personal and real.

My Jesus Resolution today is to read Psalm 139. David’s words are a beautiful reminder of the reality of God’s nearness to my heart. I want to remember that God notices the details of my life. His eyes are on me. His voice is calling me. His love pursues me. I want to pause today and catch my reflection in His gaze. I am never just another face in the crowd. I am never invisible, unnoticed, or unseen. No matter where I am.