By Dr. James C. Denison
President, the Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, Texas
June 25, 2010
Topic: making peace with the past

Minor surgery is what the other guy has

The new iPhone 4 hit stores yesterday. Talk about weird: some owners say that when they hold it by two of its metal edges, the phone drops the call. Today’s New York Times reports that the phenomenon is now the subject of headlines, technology websites and blogs around the world. One user claims that nail polish fixes the problem.

Let me see if I understand this. Scanning the morning’s headlines: North Korea is threatening to consider itself in a “war phase” with the United States; Russian President Medvedev continues his first visit to the United States; the G20 economic summit begins this weekend in Canada; fallout continues from the change in top commanders for the war in Afghanistan; and a third of the Gulf of Mexico has been closed to fishing as the BP oil spill disaster continues. Meanwhile, global news services are obsessing over a cell phone’s antenna?

I didn’t wait in line for hours on Thursday to buy one of the new devices, so I admit that its antenna faults are less painful to me. If, however, someone could fix the dropped calls problem with my now-archaic iPhone 3GS, that would be another matter. Minor surgery is what the other guy has. The more personal a problem, the more painful it becomes.

The converse is also true. You probably don’t care that John Wall was the first pick of last night’s NBA draft, but if you are a Washington Wizards fan, you want the day off to celebrate. I know virtually nothing about soccer, so America’s improbable World Cup victory on Wednesday meant little to me. But the three members of our staff who follow the game passionately were as excited as first-graders on the last day of school.

What problem is significant to you this morning, but too small for you to think the rest of us would care? What joy fits into the same category? The good news is that there is no such category with God. Jesus assured us that a “sparrow” could not fall to the ground outside the will and knowledge of God (Matthew 10:29). The Greek word refers to any small bird; since there are about 100 billion birds in the world, God’s care must be remarkably specific.

Your Father knows the secrets you don’t want anyone else to discover, with one exception: he promises to forgive every sin his people confess to him and to “remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). The second time we confess a sin to him, he doesn’t know what we’re talking about. You and I may live with the guilt and grief of past failures for years to come, but our omniscient Father has long since put our mistakes behind us.

So what do we do when we stumble today? John Claypool told a marvelous story about a medieval village, situated at the foot of a mountain with a monastery high above it in the clouds. The villagers wondered every day what the monks did up there so close to God. One day a monk came down into the village for supplies, and someone asked him, “What do you do up there in the clouds?” He said, “We fall down, and we get up. We fall down, and we get up. We fall down, and we get up.”

So can we.

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