May 17, 2015
A Warning to My Readers
by Wendell Berry
Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.
(from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry)
I like this poem. It speaks of something that I find true in my own life.
Gentle, elegant, well spoken words . . . from me? That is a wonder of wonders! But, I am learning that it is so much more than that—it is God's grace.
I know me and I know, along with Berry, that any good that resonates out of my words, work, art or effort is not the norm and definitely not natural. Left to myself, I am a mess. We all are.
The only time wonder, goodness and grace are realized in my life is when God is in control. And God, the one who is love, doesn’t take control of my life—I give God control. The choice is mine.
God is ever loving, wooing and calling me to live a life that is a wonder and it is up to me to respond—to acknowledge, welcome, and obey God’s ways and presence in my life. How can and does that happen in you and me?
I think that Ephesians 4:30 (MSG) is a good start:
"Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself."
I was made by God and in Him alone do I find my stride. Any other path will leave me searching and out of sync. God is not a condiment to be added to my bland, or at times, foul tasting life. Rather, God wants to be my all in all—as important and life giving as each and every breath I take.
As we, the created ones, allow the creator to move, live and have His being in our lives, we are used for good in the most unexpected ways. When God is involved—our words, work, art and effort are transformed by grace, and then they make a difference in the lives of those around us.
A life changed for good by me? That is a wonder.
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