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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


A little in this world will content a Christian for his passage, but all the world, and ten thousand times more, will not content a Christian for his portion.

This is one "pearl" of wisdom from a little book published in 1648 by Jeremiah Burroughs, and passed on in 2009 by Barb Ryan.  It is so packed with wise and rich truth I'm only taking a few pages at a time.  The quote above is contained in Burrough's paradox that we should be simultaneously satisfied with little and yet not satisfied with much, that we need next to nothing as pilgrims passing through this world, but we hunger for more than the entire world can offer as the home towards which we press, for we will be content with nothing less than God Himself.

And in this morning's Bible reading, God's word to Abram, before he had the land or the heir which he had been promised:  Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, you exceedingly great reward.  Abram had noted the lack of offspring in his life, and in spite of his wandering by faith, he wondered. A settled home, a full family, these were things he must have longed for, even expected.  But God wanted him to grasp the reality of the greater reward, so in Genesis 15 He comes in darkness and horror, fire and smoke, words and presence.  To Abram, He declares, "I am" what you really need, not real estate or babies.

Day two post-family-split-again . . . not as hard as the first, or second, or third (Luke), or fourth (both Luke and Caleb) time.  But each hug goodbye and yearning memory of wholeness feels like a small death.  And the weeks, days left for us as a family of six tick down, too fast, the unsettled sense that home and vision and hope will slip soon as the pilgrimage takes an unseen bend.  So we pray for Presence, and we turn to the lessons of Burroghs, to be content with this season on the journey and its losses, and yet to not let ourselves ever be content with less than the Goal.

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