with us

*i’m listening to “Angels We Have Heard On High” and pondering the phrase “God with us”.

toddlers act very differently when they believe their parent is with them. they jump off the couch. they fling their heads backward. they know their parent will catch them, stabilize them…they’ll be fine.

we call them naive. indeed they are. but more than that, they are loved unconditionally and they know it. their parent has demonstrated that love faithfully. the child believes.

so when i, now an adult, come to the edge of my “couch” or when i’m given the opportunity to see life from a different angle, i have a choice to make. will i believe that God is with me (behave in a way that reveals His ever faithful nature) and jump or fling my head back…or will i stay put, afraid to venture into more challenging spaces because i’m unable to hold to who God has already been?

and will i understand that God’s presence is vastly more than a rabbit’s tail, ushering in good luck? will i live as if Immanuel doesn’t imply cheap grace? will i come to know that the coming of God in the flesh is the best thing that could have ever happened to all of us because of what it means for the future?

ah, so much to think about and hope for all because of God’s willingness to be fully present in a way we can understand. may i be willing to give that gift to someone else…

“What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?”

truly. if i would, for a day, live as if i believe God is with me–next to me–i wouldn’t be afraid. i guess what i’m admitting to is that i often am afraid. for as bold as i can be, for as independent as i have been, i’m often afraid to take the next step. it’s dark. i lack experience. i may make a mess, one i’m sure won’t be hashtagged as beautiful. sometimes it’s enough to remember my dad’s words: you’re a Lawrence–you can do anything. but sometimes nothing helps and Joshua 1:9 is all past tense.

yet as i visualize what love does for a toddler, i can’t help but figuratively hit myself upside my head. of course i can trust God! of course i can believe. of course i can jump off the couches in my life…right?

there i go, all in. and then just as quickly i hide behind the massive stage curtain. for as long as i’ve spent rehearsing my lines, i just can’t bring myself to walk out there. what if it doesn’t work? perhaps i was wrong for the part after all. who told me i could do this anyway? what were they thinking?

that’s what happened today when i put off a project (yet again) for tomorrow. i didn’t believe God was with me. no, not in the sense of feeding me lines but as a guide. i didn’t believe God would take the time to send wisdom my way, give me clarity of thought…help me do good work. i didn’t believe.

“What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?” it’s a love i can believe in. i must.

 

*this is a slightly expanded version of a facebook post i wrote earlier today. i placed it here so that i’d remember it.

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