Best of Daily Reflections: Keep a Window Open
I pray that you may … know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
There's something about an open window. I'm aware of it now more than ever, since I live in Houston where windows are hardly ever left open. That's probably why my attention was divided while sitting in a board meeting one beautiful day in Marin County, California. Through the open window behind me I could hear the sound of children playing at recess, birds singing, a dog barking, a distant train whistling. I could feel the softness of the air and smell the fragrance of fresh cut grass. It's not that I was inattentive to the discussion inside the room, it's just that I was, at the same time, aware of a much greater world outside.
You can't read Paul's letters without being impressed by the wide range of practical concerns and interests he addresses. He's a bit of a blend of Emily Post and Dr. Phil, offering practical advice on everything from hairstyle and manners to marriage and parenting. We should be very grateful to Paul for the way he modifies Jewish customs in light of Jesus' life. And yet, for all the time and attention that Paul gives to managing the issues of daily life, he never loses sight of the bigger picture.
Take this section of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. He must have been sitting near an open window. Every word crackles with infinity. It's like he's been struck by lightning through the open window. He is suddenly electrified.
Paul prays that, inwardly, everyone would lay out the welcome mat of faith to Jesus into every cell, gene, and corpuscle of life.
In Robert Boyd Munger's classic little pamphlet, My Heart Christ's Home, he describes the effect of inviting Jesus into the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, the family room, the bathroom—into every room in his house. Munger even describes nervously cracking open the door of the dark closet where he kept unmentionable secrets, and how Jesus responded with a rare grace and flooded the whole house with love. Do you know Jesus in this way? An electrified Paul prayed that you will.
Paul also prays that, outwardly, we would be given super-hero powers to see through the murk, misery, and muddle of history. There is so much incomprehensible suffering, tragedy, and injustice. To be able to see (and if not to see, at least to trust) that Jesus is working all things together for the good of those who love him, is to begin to comprehend the incomprehensible and to know the unknowable. Do you know Jesus in this way? An electrified Paul prayed that you will.
Always keep a window open to God. Allow yourself to be a lightning rod for God's illumination.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In thinking of your life as a house with rooms, which of those rooms are you most reluctant to let Jesus invade with his influence? Why? In what ways does Jesus enlarge your world when you trust him? In what ways does he shrink it?
PRAYER: O Lord, why am I so reluctant to trust you with my whole life? Why is it that I trust my ways to be better than your ways? Thank you for not giving up on me. Keep me close to the window that opens to your world of wonder and truth, and strike me from time to time with a lightning bolt of your favor. Amen.