|Absolute Value|

“I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.” (2 Corinthians 12:11, emphasis mine)

Nothing to lose

God has made you. And when once you meet Jesus and begin to wrap your mind around this substrate fact, all the stuff through which you sift (like motes of dust, gazillions of them) to get there falls into place. But until you see the Father for who He is (which necessarily requires you meet Jesus) all that stuff looks to be for-all-intents-and purposes like a mountain of randomness doing its thing. And that is: nothing.

“And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by Thy favour Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: Thou didst hide Thy face and I was troubled.” (Psalm 30:6-7, emphasis mine)

Look around you and glimpse the face of God. Cherry blossoms waving on the branches and then scattering in the wind. The most beautiful eyes you could ever imagine, set in the grey head of the old woman pushing a shopping cart down the sidewalk as you drove by this morning. The glint off a windshield that blinded you for a moment and filled your field of vision. A sparrow. As God is not human but does indeed have a face, you see His beauty everywhere. But the thing is, only in Christ can we make that one-to-One connection. We see his beauty and His splendor everywhere and I can guarantee you, were He to hide His face from you, if only for a brief moment, you would feel the emptiness. Come to think of it, should you be feeling any emptiness at all in the present moment, perhaps you’re experiencing what Paul might term “the sufferings of Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). Here’s the thing, don’t “wallow” in it but be quiet and revel. Sufferings don’t last, neither does emptiness. God is sure to fill you up (or back up) but maybe there’s something He sees that we’re not aware of?

“That Thou givest them they gather: Thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled: Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” (Psalm 104:28-29, emphasis mine)

Nothing more to lose

Read through Psalm 106. In much the same way as an absolute value expression is bracketed by sticks (|a|) in an equation, times of suffering are both preceded by pleasantness but also followed with rejoicing and “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19). Psalm 106 is the same. Thirty-eight verses delineate a national history of backslidden Israel but that are bookended by five verses each detailing the love and goodness of the Father. He holds your value and it’s what He sees when He looks at you. It doesn’t matter how deep you go, Christ went deeper. It’s true. And the Father held His place. He holds yours even now.

“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us;” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)

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