One thing noticeable about Portland is the numbers of bridges. You see them everywhere. I’m not sure if you’ve ever done any studying of bridges, but they are kind of interesting. I don’t know a ton, but I’m one of those curious science guys that like learning about how things work. Here’s what I remember about a bridge; there are two forces at work against each other. One is called tension and the other is compression. So tension works to stretch things out and keep them apart while compression works to bring things together. So on a bridge you have to hope the engineers and builders did a good job of keeping tension without snapping, and keeping compression without buckling.
The word of the day is tension, and I don’t mean the emotional feeling we can get when the pressure mounts. We’re talking the ability to deal with tension. Think of a tug-o-war rope. There is tensile strength keeping the rope from snapping. Well over the last 38 days we’ve run into so many areas of tension. Just today, we’ve had to deal with tension. On the one hand we want to get Justus off of meds as quickly as possible. On the other hand we want him comfortable and the only way to do that is to give him more meds. Tension! Or how about his airway? In order to keep his airway clear so he doesn’t get pneumonia, we need to help him cough and suction him out (just until he can do this on his own). The problem is almost every time we suction him; he ends up throwing up his last meal, along with the drugs that were part of that time frame. Tension! Or whether or not to give him muscle relaxers. If they don’t give him muscle relaxers, then right now because of a variety of issues he’s dealing with, he has a hard time bending his legs and arms. But if you give him too much muscle relaxant, then he becomes floppy and unable to do the much needed physical therapy. Tension!
These aren’t bad things; in fact I believe they are meant to be good things. Just like the bridge tension is necessary, other wise the bridge would snap. But with tension comes emotional tension because often there isn’t an obvious right or wrong, which of course causes… that’s right… tension! And when it’s about decisions affecting your little four old, your tension can quickly escalate to pressure and beyond. So please pray for Jason and Alyse as they, together with the doctors and nurses, navigate the tension necessary for Justus to get healthy. It is much easier to make decisions when your kid falls and skins his knee. There’s no tension, you put a band aid on it. Unfortunately it seems to rarely be so clear-cut when it comes to the questions with Justus.
And I would say that is true in our faith journey as well. God calls us to live in this tension. One of the Proverbs I love to point out to my kids when we are reading is Proverbs 9. In verse 3, referring to wisdom it reads, “… she calls from the highest point of the city.” But then in verse 14, referring to folly, it reads, “She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out…” How’s that for tension. We want it clean and tidy… stay away from that part of the city because folly resides there! Oh yeah? Guess what? So does wisdom. If we are to live our faith out with grace and truth, you will have to navigate tension. If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, God is calling you into tension.
I wish that weren’t the case, just like I wish it were clearer whether or not Justus needs more medicine. But it’s not. That’s why in medicine everyone with a stake in the conversation, discusses it; they enter into the tension. Unfortunately, sometimes in life, people will act like it is all cut and dry. I know because I’ve been guilty of doing that. Either we approach it full of truth… the bible says pre-marital sex is a sin and we need to stand up against immorality. Or we approach it full of grace… we are to love all people and just because you believe that doesn’t mean they have to believe that. Instead, I believe God is calling us to jump into the middle of the tension, leading with grace, full of truth. Don’t write off the person who’s full of truth. Most of the time, they love people and mean well, they are just convinced truth is the most loving approach. And don’t write off the person who’s full of grace. Because typically, they are good people and they just believe the best way to spread the truth of the gospel is through grace.
It takes both, grace and truth. I want to make sure I’ve been completely transparent and above board. For me, truth comes from the bible. My worldview says, there is ultimate truth. While we might never fully understand God, He desires us to know Him. That’s the whole reason Jesus came full of grace and truth! But that’s for another conversation. For now, can I encourage you to be willing to enter into the tension of living a faith filled life? Be open to the possibility you don’t have every angle of an issue. Seek Godly counsel. Lead with grace, but always pursue truth. Sometimes we don’t like truth because it cramps our style. And sometimes we don’t like grace because it’s easier to simply fall back on the rules. But again, God calls us to live in the tension of grace and truth.
And let me mention one last tension I’m feeling. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this whole#TeamJustus community God created. It started as a way to update family and close friends as well as gathering as many prayer warriors as humanly possible. Well God showed why he’s God and we aren’t! So I didn’t start this with a plan and therefore there isn’t an exit plan either. I would covet your prayers. In fact, next week Monday (September 13) I’m inviting whoever would like to once again take a day to fast and pray. If you aren’t sure what I mean by fasting then I encourage you to read this earlier post (http://axisministries.org/
A picture to remind us who we’re chasing! His cousins miss their leader. Finally, pray for our little warrior as he continues to fight withdrawals. Pray for the conversations over the tension in how to proceed each day. And by the way, the other reason I thought of the visual of bridges is because of you all. You have helped be a bridge between Justus’ needs and God. Thanks for being willing to stand in the gap for my grandson. We love you #TeamJustus! The moon is round.