Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Paradox; Illusion of the Heart

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
You’ve probably seen a movie or TV show that included someone in the desert, trudging along, weary and thirsty.  Suddenly there is an oasis, a bright hope of water and cool refreshment.  But it’s a mirage; it’s only an illusion.

In yesterday’s post we looked at Chuck Colson’s life of chasing mirages by the truckload, only to have it all fold back-in on him when he was convicted for his part in the Watergate political scandal.

He was sent to prison where you have a lot of time to examine the paradox which is life’s mystery.  Here’s how Colson described how what he thought was the “Good Life” turned out to be the cancer of a false oasis:

Prison turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me, which is why, on the 60 Minutes program marking the twentieth anniversary of Watergate, I told a startled Mike Wallace, ‘I thank God for Watergate.’  Not only did prison radically transform my view of life, but the experience also gave me the one thing I thought I would never have again – an opportunity to serve others in significant ways.  In my case that service has been a ministry to prisoners around the world.
My experience vividly illustrates that paradox lies at the very heart of life’s mystery:  What we strive for can often be what we least need.  What we fear most can turn out to be our greatest blessing. [1]
For Chuck Colson, who rose to the lofty heights of political power, only to be trampled by life’s less-than-gentle reminder that self-serving rulers and their kingdoms have only an illusion in their hands – it was a great awakening that the God who is really in charge loves you in spite of your arrogance.

Ever been run-over by that kind of cold shower?

Has life sent mixed-messages, luring you to grab for the brass ring, only to cut off your fingers in the process?

Paul’s message to the Corinthian church – a great group, but a little puffed up; legends in their own minds, so to speak – was to stop the pushing and shoving for the highest honors and control.  They needed to seek the best gift – love.

This message was not lost on Chuck Colson.  He was released from prison and spent the next 30+ years working to significantly change the prison system.  Charles Colson left prison, but returned in real power.  He came not by human wisdom and power, but in the power of God’s Spirit to lift and heal broken lives.  He got the message of love; he lived into that message by loving the least of these, his brethren in prison.

For You, Today…

Jesus said:  seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and my kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36)
What is it that you’re seeking?  What kingdom are you looking to build?
Think hard and continually on that, because in your prayerful consideration of that is the answer to the heart’s paradox:  a life well-lived is a life given away in Jesus’ name.

[1] Colson, Charles, The Good Life, (Carol Stream, Ill, Tyndale House, 2005), page 23

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