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the R word

We are away for the weekend, visiting friends in Ontario. I have two papers due early next week, which explains my absence from blogworld as I have been trying to get them done before we took this wee vacation, and I am happy to say that the rough drafts are both done and packed in my backpack, waiting for me to edit them.

We had a great home group dinner on Wednesday night, lots of food, good discussion, mulled wine, and of course, some silly dance moves. I got there early to help prepare the food and a few of us started talking about one's purpose in life. One of my friends had been asked the question at work by a colleague, "What is your purpose in life?" and now she wanted to know what other people would have said. Good question. It is easy to give a broad, vague answer and we came up with most of the usual ones: to worship God, to love others, to know God, to be everything I am meant to be, to make this world a better place, etc., but that's pretty easy to say and pretty hard to pin down and perhaps not all that meaningful to the average person you meet at work or on the street, no matter how true it might be.

Of more interest to me was what the discussion revealed about what we want and what we are afraid of. Basically, we want to do the right thing, the thing that makes us and those important to us, happy and content. And we fear that we will miss it. Somehow, the discussion got onto making decisions and making mistakes and how we are sometimes stopped from making decisions because we are afraid of making mistakes. Noble as it sounds, not wanting to make a mistake is just another way of saying that one is afraid. And what exactly are we afraid of?

I think that somewhere in a back corner of our souls, we are afraid that redemption does not work. That wrong cannot be righted, that we will bear the consequences of our mistakes forever, and that forgiveness feels good but doesn't blot out the cold, hard facts, and that surely badness and judgement will follow me all the days of my life. And so we find it hard to make decisions, afraid of what the implications might be. Don't get me wrong, I think responsible decision-making is a great trait to develop and often too rare, but it is not what I want to count on to get me through. I need more than that - I need redemption.

Redemption works. Believe it. Jesus is enough. He specialises in well-meaning mistakes and ill-conceived decisions and misplaced self-reliance. He is not afraid of them. He can make something beautiful out of nothing special and make your big worrisome something into nothing to be concerned about. Trust him. Make the best decision you can and plunge it into the bath of redemption.

This is a Christmas streamer at my friends' house in Ontario.

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