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So, I hear that your brain doesn’t fully develop until you are 25 years old.  I guess that means once you hit it, things start dying, I guess.

Yeah.  I’ve been losing brain cells for about six months now.

While that has absolutely nothing to do with my post, it’s the thought that led me down this next path…

Do you ever imagine the neurons in your brain firing as you are retrieving information?  What exactly are those synapses doing?  (Hmmm…..high school biology trying to kick in….getting there…)

Sometimes I think of my brain like a big tangled web.  My experiences and thoughts form little check points in my brain.  Every time I experience something new, I make another connection with something I’d previously thought or experienced.  The more threads from one experience (check point) to another, the stronger that emotion, feeling, thought, attitude, etc, is rooted in me.  Pretty soon it all gets tangled into a massive ball of string.  (Boy, I can’t imagine what an old person’s brain looks like…you’d never get that knot undone!!!  Kidding, of course.)

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about roles.  You know how there are some people in life that really just piss you off, like all the time?  Yeah, I know a couple of those.  Or maybe the people you totally don’t get because they are in a world of their own…What is up with them??  And THEN, there are people who you are totally jealous of; you know, the people that when you see them your eyes look them up and down and a little furrow appears on your brow?  Of course, you can’t help but say at least one negative comment in your head.  Most likely it’s about yourself and how you’ll never be “as (fill in the blank) as them” or whatever.  It really makes relationships challenging.  Seriously.

Roles.  Yeah, I’m starting to get it, I think.  On some level, I’m beginning to equate all these people with those check points in my brain (Yes, I really am losing brain cells now.).  These people are all part of something much bigger.  Some of these checkpoints I really don’t like, but some I do like.  And in some way, we are all connected.

You know that the Apostle Paul spoke of the church as Christ’s body.  Different parts (er, roles) have certain functions, but they all work together to form the working, living, breathing, FUNCTIONING, whole.  I know that life might just be simpler without all those annoying people around.  But then it might not be quite as good.  Or strong.  Or smart.  Or talented.  Or as hard working.  I mean, I’d much rather have a brain with neurons firing all over the place than one that’s 90% unused (which I’ve heard, by the way, is what our brains really are…10% in use…sad, very sad.)

Anyways.

As much as I hate getting uncomfortable by the beliefs or opinions or thoughts or actions of another person, I guess it’s important to remember that all those different connections make for a stronger whole.  At least I can try to remember this when I can’t think of anything nice to say about that one person that’s just gone and done it again.  Or perhaps be thankful when my lip starts to curl at the thought of doing something out of my comfort zone-something which another human has found to be good.  I mean, really, as much as I’d like to think I’m better than someone else, I guess I’m just another checkpoint like everyone else.  Amazing.  And to think I’ve been losing brain cells.  😉

Now, go make some brain connections and do a crossword puzzle or something.  Really.

This is worth 5 minutes of your time.

God changes things.

Sometimes I don’t really think that God always hears me when I pray.  But then things happen in my life that tell me I’m pretty wrong on that one.

Yesterday God answered a very personal prayer of mine in a very big way.  It was something that had been eating away at me for a little while now, and He clearly took care of it.  It was such an act of love, and He so clearly answered EXACTLY what I had been asking for.  It made me cry.

God answers prayer.  And even if you don’t always believe it’s true, keep praying, because someday you’ll know.  Maybe even today.

*

What is it like to meet God?

Mackenzie Allen Phillips, creation of author William P. Young, finds out for himself in this heart-warming novel.  It’s been three years since Mack’s youngest daughter was abducted and murdered.  Still wallowing in grief, his world turns upside down when he receives a note from “Papa”.  Haunted by the invitation to go back to his daughters murder scene, he secretly packs his car and heads out to the middle of nowhere.

Reaching “the shack”, Mack’s anger boils over as he curses God for the pain He’s caused.  However, instead of a dilapidated old cabin, he finds himself in another world full of beauty and wonder.  It is here that Mack meets Sarayu, Jesus and Papa.  For two heavenly days, Mack communes with the Triune God, changing his perspective and letting go of the weight load he’s been carrying for so long.

Though a bit slow in the beginning, this story picks up about half-way through.  I found myself thinking deeply about the true nature of God, wondering at His gentle love which is portrayed in this novel.  The message of relationship is clearly the intent, as Young weaves together the four main characters of the story.  I also appreciate the comforting reminder that God works all evil for “the good of those who love him”, as he did in Mack’s life.  My guess is that Young suffered his own personal tragedy during which God tenderly cared for him, allowing him to create such an amazing path through doubt and faith.

I would recommend this book to someone facing a difficult situation, perhaps to those who question God’s love in the face of significant pain or loss.  I’m not confident all will love this book, though; I sometimes felt as if I was an outsider looking in to something I didn’t quite understand.  The nature of the book was deeply intimate, yet transparent in a way I cannot express.  Perhaps the intimacy built with God in midst of suffering and anguish can only be experienced.  It was clear to me however, that it was not Mack who called, but God.  I think that’s true, and it’s what I’m waiting for.

To read another more lengthy review of this book that touches on the theological implications of this book, click here.