Thursday, December 20, 2012

How are you today? Flinty or Crumbly? Or somewhere in between?

Some of my readers understand my love of words and metaphor and colorful turns of speech.  My friend, known around our home as the Michigan Dave Thompson, since there is also a Minnesota Dave Thompson, inadvertently started me thinking of my days in terms of flinty or crumbly.  It helps, in some strange way, to have these little gems; these wordy nuggets that seem to capture so much of how I feel on a daily basis.  Sometimes something as simple as a word picture can turn around a blah day.

The flint thing is easy to explain, and has such a beautiful source, in Luke 9:51.  The Michigan Dave Thompson pointed this phrase out to me awhile back and it stuck in my brain and heart.  At this point in Luke's narrative, Jesus is getting ready to head toward Jerusalem where He knows He will suffer and die.  Some translations use the word flint to describe Jesus' attitude.  Jesus set his face like flint toward Jerusalem.  The picture is of great resolution and solid determination. 

I try to keep that in mind as an inspiration or motivation to just get up and get going.  If Jesus, my Lord, can set His face as flint to go to His death, oughtn't I be able to be a little bit flinty about things as mundane as dishes and laundry and exercise?

But sadly, many days I am somewhat less than flinty.  Many days I plod along.  Doing little things. Just getting by.  Muddling through.  Dealing with each thing as best I can.  Somewhere between flint and incapacity.

Worse yet, there are also those days that are further yet from flinty.  Days of seeming incapacity.  My demeanor some days seems stuck at the polar opposite of flinty.  And the Michigan Dave Thompson again had a perfect word for that.  Crumbly.  He didn't really mean to start anything with it.  And he might even be a little bit self-conscious that I am crediting him with these ideas that may seem silly to some.  Once when I mentioned various things my kids had going on, and how sometimes I struggle to not be overwhelmed by it all, Dave said, "I would crumble."

And really, that's the prefect word.  The metaphoric opposite of flint.  Flint is hard and strong and lasting.  But something like limestone or a dry cookie or old mortar is crumbly.  Very unstable.  Transitory.
My life.  My abilities.  My emotional stability.  Where I strive for flint, more often, I see crumbs.  I wish all my days could be flinty.  I think of Jesus' resolve to face unafraid the path before Him.  The path to His own death on the cross.  The path through hell.  I'd love to be that strong.  But alas!  I am not. I cannot even face the path through this life with flint.

I can't be that strong.  I.  Simply.  Cannot.

But my Heavenly Father knows that.   He knows that this sinful worm cannot get it right no matter how much I try.

He had a plan.

God sent Jesus.  The Rock.  The Flint.

Jesus is flint for me.  He is the backbone of my life.  My strength and hope.  The only source of my determination.  Without Him, I crumble.  Every day.  Every minute.  Even the accomplishments I think I am attaining, the hopes and dreams and goals in which I actually succeed.  Without Jesus, these, too are nothing.  Like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand, anything to which I set my face, outside of my Lord, will erode.  It is not lasting.  It's value is transitory.  Crumbly.

Amidst all the crumbles of my life, I thank God for the true Rock, the flint upon which I build my hopes.  Jesus was flinty for me.  I don't have to do it by myself.  His flint is mine.  Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy.  When I was still in my sin, He loved me. 

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