Posts Tagged ‘AW Tozer’

I’ve been thinking some about action figures lately.  When you’re young you don’t think past tearing the miniature plastic superhero or villain off the card and using the figures to re-enact your favorite scenes from a show or movie.  I did this a lot with Batman figures such as the Caped Crusader, Robin, The Joker, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and even the Joker’s henchman Bob – alongside the Joker Van, all the Bat-vehicles, and the Batcave playset.  Might as well add to that a collection of Playmate’s Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures too; along with the Enterprise D bridge and Transporter.  When you’re older, all you can think about is how much those plastic toys would be worth if you hadn’t opened them; they’d be collectibles then, not just toys.

The best collectibles are “Mint in Box”; never opened, never played with. Much like my Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Dash Rendar, or Chewbacca in Bounty Hunter Disguise from 1997.  Or Sheldon Cooper’s Mint in Box 1975 Star Trek Transporter toy with “real transporter action” on Big Bang Theory a few weeks ago (Leonard Nimoy voiced Mr. Spock action figure not included, sadly). Open the box, and the object loses it’s value.

But then there’s the philosophy from Toy Story that “toys are meant to be played with” and that toys have value because of who they belong to (be the owner’s name Andy or otherwise).  But in the process of being used they often can become worn out and even sometimes, broken. Fortunately, toys can be replaced, but people cannot; and I think much the same scenario applies.

People want to do something spectacular with their lives, to use them to great ends (partially because of what society bombards us with and because we’re wired to worship something and sometimes twist that into wanting to be worshipped); some are motivated by a love for God, others by a love of Self.  Although not everyone has a destiny before them that is “loud and spectacular”, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to do something with your life – as long as it remains untwisted.  The difficulty often comes with the realization that to achieve those ends, you have to go from “Mint in Box” to “played with”, used, often well worn, and sometimes broken.  A.W. Tozer once said that “for God to use a man, he must first wound him deeply”. We desire to be used for great ends but often also desire to remain unchanged by that process. We want to tell the great stories associated with the scars, but not receive what is a prerequisite for those tales; we want The FENX without the Tricycle accident.  We want a grand story to tell without having to live through it.  Jesus said that if you want to be great, you must first be a servant, and service can bring weariness.  Therefore Paul admonishes “lets us not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – that’s perseverance; steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success or existing in a state of grace until a state of glory is reached.  As warn out as life can make us, we have to keep waking up in the morning, in hopes of reaching that state of glory.

Will you step out of the box and into a state of grace?

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Over the last few months I’ve begun to listen to sermons given by Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Texas. This morning, as I was listening to his sermon series on Habakkuk he quoted something he attributed to Martin Luther while it’s really something offered up by A.W. Tozer: “It is doubtful whether God can use a man greatly, until first He wounds him deeply.” Now I don’t know if this is true in one-hundred percent of cases (therefore I can’t say it’s a law in the same way the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is a law – always true in very case) but in my life it appears to be truth. I also wonder if the term “wound” is synonymous with “burden” – it would seem that it could work out as such. These deep wounds in my experience are often things which, as a result of carrying said wound, forces an individual into closer proximity and deeper understanding of both themselves and the Heavenly Father, the Creator and Master of the Universe. This proximity is something He desires for us but we don’t desire for ourselves because of the sacrifice and/or pain that is often required to bring someone to a point wherein an epiphany occurs: alone, you cannot hold your own life together – you are in need of something more (and He IS that something more) in order to cope with the difficult thing life WILL hand to you. When this realization occurs, often amidst trial, then closer proximity to Him can follow. (Not to say that it cannot happen otherwise, but the crucible of trial is often the best teacher; it is why what the Apostle Paul has to say about suffering – In Romans 5 – will ALWAYS be leagues better than anything Jedi Master Yoda can come up with.)

I’ve found that my wound is multi-dimensional. One part of the wound is Cerebra Palsy (CP); another part of the wound is an inner spirit that seems incompatible with the CP, a spirit that wants to excel and perform beyond what oftentimes a CP body allows; yet another facet is the physical pain that stems from the clashing of the first two parts – the spirit forces the body to excel beyond it’s limits for an extended time and the body screams in protest. It wasn’t always this way; it has been over the last decade that I’ve grappled with this new reality of pain and deterioration – one I was NEVER prepared for. What’s more, this wound/burden has a mental facet as well, wherein I often have to confront my reality/experience with what I know to be the Heavenly Father’s Truth about Himself and His Character (namely His Sovereignty and Faithfulness – two very hard things that finite minds contend with). I’m willing to admit that I sometimes have a tough time wrestling with the idea that He has MY BEST interest at heart; why would He? I am small, broken, and less. It is in these times that I have to remind myself that I am looking at me through the same looking glass that society at large sees me; the same looking glass that says I, and others, are of less worth because the mold culture fabricated to place us in – we don’t fit it, we NEVER will (so much for Carbon Freezing; better luck next time, Ugnaughts). In these times I don’t have forefront in my mind that my Father sees me differently – I am a son to Him, not JUST part of His creation; He says I am worth it and that should be more than enough.

It is easier for someone to expose something within society that they know is a lie if they have experienced it’s devastation, have seen first hand it’s destructive capability, or know full well the lie is active and they were spared it’s consequences by the actions of another.

In the midst of all this, I am blessed. My parents don’t see me the way I often see me and I’ve gotten to the point wherein I’ve realized my close friends don’t either, be they of the Todd, Inklings, Justice League, or Inner Ring variety. One of the greatest weapons to combat against the darker mental and emotion facets of this wound/burden is none other than The FENX. That machine takes what society (and even I sometimes) see as a weakness and helps to make it an asset. As my friend Carl Sears, a producer for NBC Nightly News, once said “The FENX is like Superman’s cape”. It draws attention, it opens doors, and allows me to sometimes broach deeper issues in a way that seems natural; to talk about some of the “how” and “why” of the FENX is to have to broach some of these important realities – to realize that the FENX is a creature of necessity – if I was not as I am, without this wound/burden, the FENX would never have been.

Some of us endure hard things (and sometimes continually) in difficult places which seem beyond our own aptitude. These wounds often exist, so that when we are elevated – it is obvious to all that we could not have done this under our own strength or ability. Rather, it becomes clear that the Master of the Universe is at work. May that realization encourage and especially drive the wounded/burdened ones into closer proximity to the Father, knowing He will use them for His purposes.

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron