Saturday, March 26, 2011

Speaking of Race Bib Numbers...

A writer asks: Hey Scott, does God ever speak to you through marathon racer bib numbers? (signed, Scott).

What? Actually I know exactly what "Scott" means. You see, I recently ran a 7 kilometer race—my 1st race ever—called the “Get Lucky” 7K Race. And my bib number was 1777.

I did not pick my bib number, it was just random chance that I received that number. Or was it?

I thought it was a pretty cool coincidence—my #1 race was a 7K. And I was lucky to get the three 7s. But wait there’s more to it. As my good friend, dream interpreter, and talented artist-celebrity Josie said: “Your bib number reminds me of Deuteronomy 28:7," which reads:

The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face:
they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

I love it! And so I delved a little deeper into it, which is what any self-respecting person who respects Josie would do. Here’s what I found: According to Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke:

The Lord shall cause thine enemies, etc. - This is a promise of security from foreign invasion, or total discomfiture of the invaders, should they enter the land.
They shall come against thee one way - in the firmest and most united manner.
And flee seven ways - shall be utterly broken, confounded, and finally routed.

I love promises from God, especially a promise of security. And there’s no doubt of the disposition of the enemies as they flee: utterly broken. God has my back!

Then there’s Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible which says:

They shall come against thee one way - in a body, all together,
in large numbers, marching in great order…

That’s pretty daunting…and I would expect nothing less from The Enemy. But wait:

And flee seven ways – this phrase is expressive of an entire victory,
and of a complete rout and dispersion of an enemy.

That’s pretty epic: an entire victory and a dispersion of an enemy. God rocks!

Josie followed up with this:
The significance of seven has to do with refinement, and references God's perfection (rest on the seventh day, etc). So it's about the best number you could have in your corner. If numbers can go in corners.

And, delving deeper, because that’s what Josie does, she added this:

Okay, so I'm not trying to wear this 1777 thing out, but I ran across it AGAIN today in my reading. 1777 is the Strong's [Concordance] number for the Hebrew word "din", which means to judge or defend. The origin is having to do with the straight course of a sailboat, or judge as an umpire. A couple of verses that use this word seem important as it relates to you. I'm thinking it is maybe a gifting that you have that you are coming into--my gut is it has to do with intercession but also course correction, as in you are a "course corrector".

You have to make a judgement of a sort to make intercession--unless something is wrong you don't need to intercede for someone. So you have to identify the wrong thing. Also, defend people that need defending, and maintain a straight course. I think you are uncomfortable making assessments/judgments, which is probably why you have a gift in that area (i.e. you could never be mean spirited or critical in a vicious way.) I'm also thinking about that race tag being pinned on you--you've been labeled, marked, as it were. The heavens know, and soon other people will know too.

She provided 2 verses as examples:

Proverbs 31:8-9 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead (#1777) the cause of the poor and needy.

Zechariah 3:7 And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern (#1777) My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.

So, to answer Scott’s question…maybe God speaks through race bibs. More likely, God speaks through Godly women and men who are inspired by God to inspire and encourage others.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Letter

Dear Jesus-

In my nearly-completed novel, “Such Is Life”, you play a starring role. In fact, it’s safe to say that you are the main character. The other main character, Steven Todd, is the one I envy, for he has access to you in the flesh-and-blood sense.

The story is a time-trip—which is feasible since you are not bound by time—and of course it is fiction. Perhaps even more specifically and realistically it is Speculative Fiction. A preacher might even call it Science Fiction--if he wasn’t calling it blasphemy.

Lucky man Steve gets to talk to you, in person, hear your responses, your laughter, your thoughts on favorite songs (Dr. Hook and Eric Clapton). He gets to feel, physically feel your love and strength, wonder about the power contained in a single tear as it courses down your cheek—and long to reach out and touch one. He gets to unabashedly hold your hand. Oh to be Steve.

Of course in a sense I am Steve—or rather Steve is me. Steven’s past is modeled on my past. And it wasn’t pretty--for either of us. Unfortunately for both of us, most of Steven’s story is not fiction. It really happened to me.

Except the hanging out with the Son of God in a St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball cap part.

So I find myself envying a fictional character of my own invention based on me. I’m sure there’s a paradox or an enigma in there somewhere. And the truth is I have more access to you than Steve does—it’s just a different kind. It’s real-time but not flesh-and-blood. It’s heart-to-heart but not splashed across the written page in visceral detail. It’s glorious without the drama—at least on your part.

And most importantly it’s real.

In the last 24 hours I have sensed you making moves in my life. Preparing me for a change. Or changing me for a new path. I see things in a different focus - like hig-def televison. I get little thrills from the most mundane occurrences: a bird flying past a window, a precise architectural feature, a spoken word--or one on a vanity license plate--that echoes in my mind throughout the day. I anticipate a new direction and feel exhilaration at the prospect. I have no idea what it is—a new career, a new business, success with my writing, a change in living situation? Whatever it is, it is from you so I know it will be good.

And in the meantime I am trying not to get bogged down in the little details, the circumstances of my life. Rent. Gas for the truck. Tires for Minda’s car. Braces for Andrew. These are all things you take care of—have been taking care of for many years. You boggle my mind with your just-in-time provisions. You are so good to us. All I do is pray and believe, and for every obstacle and challenge, you have a bundle of provision waiting in the breakdown lane.

But I won’t pray for the rent this time. You already know. I want to pray for others’ situations: Jill’s mouth, Pria’s health, Linda’s healing, glasses for Minda, Julie’s salvation. You already know of these things. You have no need for me to pray for these either.

So tonight I will pray for my relationship with you. For growth, and trust. For knowing you, not knowledge about you. For hearing you in my heart. For feeling your presence in me, not around me.

That is something Steve—if he was flesh-and-blood—would envy me for. And I couldn’t blame him.

Because that relationship is real.

As Kathy would say, Woo-Hooo!