I've noticed a pattern. As a guy in the 2nd half of life, I realize that I'm good at certain things and not so good at others. And, in the masculine world I live in, some of the things I'm not so good at fall clearly in the column labeled "Things Men Are Supposed to Do". It's true of almost every man. Even if your earthly father was a good man, you can bet there are some things you needed - as a Man - that he simply wasn't equipped to give you. And you got short-changed. Perhaps that explains why, in some environments, you feel like a young boy; unfathered; ill-equipped; shameful.
C.S. Lewis, as a young man, did not trust God and did not want to believe that Christianity was true. In fact, it was his association with a group of moral un-believers that contributed to his conversion.
But there was another man (there usually is...) who awakened the imagination of the young intellectual. George MacDonald was a Scottish preacher and writer who lived one generation before Lewis.
He wrote prolifically and trusted God deeply.
Lewis later wrote,
"I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master; indeed I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him."
The Title of this blog probably caught your attention. It caught mine. It is one of MacDonald's sermons from a volume called UnSpoken Sermons.
Perhaps the sharpness of the title even convinced you to open this post. I'll warn you. He is wordy. And he wrote in the 19th century. Some of his work is not easy to follow. But the text of this sermon is included as a link HERE.
Let me encourage you to read it long enough to find 2 or 3 nuggets of gold. MacDonald knew the Supreme Goodness of the heavenly Father.
And if you take the time to ask the question, "Do I know the Supreme Goodness of the One True Father?", what do you think your answer will be?
The one relationship assaulted most in the universe is that between Father and son. All of our assumptions about God and life, ourselves and others spring from our relationship, not only to the One True Father, but also to our own earthly fathers.
And so we all ask...
I wonder if God will show up for me.....and I wonder what that might look like?
Do you know or just know about the unfathomable kindness of God?
I love to read. I know many of you share that joy as well.
I didn’t always love to read. In my high school years, I held such disdain for school that I only read ‘Cliff Notes’. Remember those? The high-level summaries of the classics? I could pass the tests because I knew about Shakespeare or James Fenimore Cooper (Last of the Mohicans). Out of spite, I virtually robbed myself of the beauty of some of the greatest books ever written.
Today I finished To Kill a Mockingbird – for the very first time. I never even attempted it. I felt it had passed me by and that I could gain nothing from something so…timeless. But I read that Harper Lee was releasing a 2nd book this July; a sequel, of sorts, to ‘Mockingbird’. And I felt the desire to see what I had missed.
I read about the childhood of Scout, Jem and Dill. And I remembered my own. I saw, in Atticus Finch, the kindness that I so long to genuinely demonstrate to people who think or feel differently than I do. I saw his utter goodness, not only toward his family but also toward those who hated him.
Now I feel like I know Atticus Finch – a little bit. Oh… the longing in me to be the kind of man that God has in mind when He sees me now! It is a longing that He placed there when He crafted my new heart. And I am reminded that I cannot reform myself… and that the man, Christ Jesus, is actively at work changing everything about me from the inside-out. (Philippians 1:6)
Finishing To Kill a Mockingbird today was bittersweet. It was a holy moment. It made me look into the face of the only One who is actively at work in me to complete a very good work... a work that He began long ago.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[c]