Friday, September 7, 2007

swallowing chicken bones

Pastor and Author Max Lucado, has to be one of the most creative wordsmiths I have ever had the good fortune to read. His style of writing is much like Jesus' style of communicating truth: storytelling. Lucado is a master story-teller. He skillfully draws you into the plot and gives you a front row seat as you experience the emotions, struggles and triumphs of the characters in the story. Take for instance today's "And I Quote" regarding the story of Abram and Sarai's struggle with God's promise that he (Abram) would become the father of a multitude of nations. Abram was a little dubious about the idea that he would become this great progenitor primarily because he had no progeny whatsoever, to speak of. Read Lucado's masterful take on this struggle;

Abraham, or Abram as he was known at the time, was finding God's promise about as easy to swallow as a chicken bone. The promise? That his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. The problem? No son. "No problem," came God's response. Abraham looked over at his wife Sarah as she shuffled by in her gown and slippers with the aid of a walker. The chicken bone stuck.

What I marvel at in this imaginative discourse, is not just Lucado's ability to weave a gripping tale out of a more than 6000 year old story, but his ability to make it relevant and applicable to where we live. I can relate to Abram. His wife (with all due respect) couldn't have been much to look at at the age of 99. Gravity must no doubt have done its debilitating work on her once curvy anatomy. In addition, Abram, at 100 years old was probably good for... oh, I'd say, an occasional kiss or two, but to have a child? Now don't go off on a tangent thinking I'm comparing my wife to Sarai, when I say that I can relate to Abram. What I'm actually able to relate to is the chicken bone stuck in his throat idea. At those moments when I find myself confronted by circumstances that provide impossible odds and it suddenly becomes hard to swallow, when my mouth feels like the Gobi desert, and I'm suddenly wet and clammy all over, it is in those moments that I can relate to Abram. In fact, like Abram, all I know to do in those moments is to react with laughter at the incredulity of the situation.

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself [*as if God couldn't hear his thoughts], "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" (Genesis 17: 17) [*words in parantheses are mine]

Lucado's skill as a story-teller helps me keep my life in proper perspective. While the circumstances may sometimes appear insurmountable, God, apparently specializes in making the impossible possible. Otherwise where's the logic in expecting that a centenarian couple can give birth to a child (remember that the existence of an entire race of people is depending on this to happen)? What possesses Abram to even think that He heard God correctly? As you will quickly discover if you read the story through to the end, even Abram, dubbed the "Father of Faith," began to doubt and question the validity of what he'd heard, and so he willingly settled for a tryst with Hagar, his wife's maid, in the hopes that He could help God speed up the promise of a son.

What circumstances are you facing today that appear to be insurmountable? Whatever they are, I urge you to trust in the God of Abram. He is not asleep, neither is He overcome by the problems of our world. The Scripture tells us that He is not slow to fulfill His promises. All you need to do is to hold on in faith to what He has said concerning you, and then watch him work in your life miraculously, as He dissolves that chicken bone in your throat so that you can breath easy again. If you don't believe me, then believe Abram and Sarai. So blown away were they by God's miracle of a son in their advanced years, that they named him Isaac which means laughter, stating, "For when people hear of this they shall laugh." It won't be long now before you are laughing in the face of your own miracle too!


Nick said...

I really enjoyed reading "swallowing chicken bones." God has really gifted you with delightful writing. Sometimes I forget that God is the God of the impossible. Thank you for the reminder and the word, Pastor Joseph. Im really looking foward to seeing Church at the Well grow and being apart of it as well as me growing also. Seya soon. God bless you.