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It’s a dangerous thing to be alive, where temptations to think we’re better than others are everywhere. Temptations to believe we deserve more, ubiquitous. Sinful pride is part of our awful inheritance, even when we’re depressed.
Sometimes I think it’s all about me, that even my failures are more important than they really are, or ever could be. It’s the smoking gun of pretended sovereignty, of usurpation. I sigh, denied.
And my sighs are the song of selfishness thwarted. Sighs pour forth from the fancy mouths of make believe monarchs, kings detecting treason in every ordinary frustration. Everyone is out to get the selfish man, because everything is about him.
I sigh because I’m a thirty-four year old man and crying in public is bad P.R.
If I sigh, a defeated, surrendering soul, I am blessed.
If I sigh, a frustrated king, an idolater whose god just did nothing again, I am a moaning idiot. I am slapping back at the gift-hand of my Father.
Who am I? Good question.
It’s the only question and only the right answer will serve.
Because from that answer I know my story and the danger then is in forgetting. We are skydivers all, but there is such a thing as a parachute. Remember?
Sighs are so often the evidence of my forgetting. They are the heaving woes of wounded idols. They are the crying out for water now, bread now, a return to the slavery of Egypt now.
But, though I am often a forgetter, I am never forgotten.
That makes me happy.
Don’t forget to remember who you are and remember not to forget it. And never never ever ever be redundant.
Speaking of redundancy: When my brothers and I were kids, my Dad had one instruction when he dropped us off anywhere. He would always say “Don’t forget whose boys you are.”
A good word.
Whose child are you? The answer to that question, for those in Christ by grace, is a sigh of relief.
Be relieved. Be happy. Sigh not so.
Images from Alan Jacobs, The Gospel of Trees