Saturday, May 7, 2011

What Goes Up

I seem to have forgotten how much of what I take for granted needs to be learned. We spent some sweet time at a playground yesterday, following a four-year-old and a seven-year-old in their aimless adventures and play. I discovered that I can still swing pretty well, and hold my own on a kid-powered merry-go-round, but am completely outclassed on both monkey bars and a teeter-totter.

In the case of the monkey bars, my major malfunction related directly to age and ability. I had the age, but the short ones had all the ability. The seesaw, however, limited us by the rules of physics, plain and simple. It doesn't work when a someone five-plus feet tall occupies one side and someone two feet tall the other. And then there is the question of weight and mass. There was no way that little four-year-old Emma could make her side go down while I sat firmly on the ground across from her. She kept pushing and squirming, believing that desire could overcome the laws of physical resistance, but it didn't work.

Eventually, we gave up and I switched places with a convenient two-year-old, confident that the substitution would solve our problem, but it didn't. We had satisfied the demands of physics, but not of experience. Little Emma, with her partner high in the air, pumped her legs mightily and propelled herself up and the toddler down, but they stuck there, unable go back over because the little guy just didn't know what to do. "Push!" we urged him, but he just looked confused.

We finally gave it all up as a bad job and moved on to something else, but I can't help but think now about how everything I know about life goes back to the principle of the seesaw. Fall, and get up. Give, and take. Push, and resist. Action and reaction. But there's more, and You showed me this morning how important this lesson really is.

As far as the East is from the West, He has removed our transgressions from us. --Psalm 103:12

When I sin, I have learned what will happen. The action of sin has a predictable result--punishment. Sometimes it gives a good whack immediately, and sometimes bides its time, but punishment never rests until it satisfies the laws of spiritual physics. Unless....

Sin can produce another reaction, one that heals rather than destroys, but I have to act. You gave me this happy news when You taught me that the laws of action and reaction include sin followed by repentance. That way, I can access Your promise to remove my sin to a place no one can see. Like the seesaw, my repentance tips the balance in perfect rhythm. Rather than the cycle completing in misery, it completes in restoration.

I have not always recognized it, but You always sit in the other side of the seesaw. You will punish when you must, but You much prefer to bless. My repentance is the just the push You need to do it.

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