Thursday, March 01, 2007

On The Other Side of the Border

So there I was in Toronto, rushing through immigration to catch a plane back home. I got to the other side of the border and realized that I'd left my PDA/Cellphone in the rental car I'd just returned. I started to go back for it and realized that I couldn't go back across the border. I called the rental car agency and told them what had happened (identifying my account number and rental car). They told me that I was mistaken, that nothing had been left in the car. The problem wasn't that I couldn't make calls, the problem was that this piece of technology is my brain!

I immediately bowed my head and thanked the Lord for his sovereignty, this trial, and the sanctification that would result. If you believed that, I have a heavily populated island in New York that I would like to sell you! I was so frustrated. I wanted to blame someone, anyone. "It was the rental car guy's fault," I reasoned. "If he hadn't told me to disconnect the GPS, I wouldn't have become distracted and I wouldn't have forgotten my phone!" What was I going to do for the next couple days? How would I keep track of my schedule?

The next day I called the cellphone insurance people only to find out that I needed a Toronto police department report and an officer badge number before they would process my claim for a new phone. Now, I was even more frustrated. How long would this thing go on before I got a usable phone with my needed information on it?

Telling this story really is quite embarrassing. I talk to people all the time about the security and rest that can be found in the sovereignty of God. I tell people all the time that God will take them where they don't want to go in order to produce in them what they couldn't achieve on their own. I teach again and again that God is much more committed to our holiness than he is to delivering our personal definition of happiness.

But I've had to face the fact once again that I don't want God to be sovereign, I want to be. And there are moments when I don't want to be made holy. I would much rather have life be predictable and comfortable, thank you. I don't want to experience the hardships of uncomfortable grace even though I know I still need to grow and change.

So, once again I've confessed to the idolatry that is behind my anger. I've confessed how much I worship at the altars of comfort and control. And I've prayed that some day, by God's powerful and patient grace, that I'd be on the other side of the border where I'd treasure God's work of grace inside of me more than I treasure the ease of the world outside of me. I'm not there yet, but I'm closer than I was last year. How about you?


At 11:37 PM, Blogger Tony Kummer said...

Thanks again. I'm really admonished by your posts and your book IRH.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Them Chandlers said...

Wow. I most definitely identify with that!

The leadership of our church's Celebrate Recovery program has been reading IRH as a tool for ministry. Instead of reading the book, I'm afraid the book has read me!! Thank you!

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Dear Pastor Tripp,

Where, if I may ask, did you speak in Toronto? I would be interested to know if there are any CCEF friends/organizations in Toronto.

In Him,

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank the Lord for your writings and your honesty. Could I ask this one thing? You ended with statement that you are closer this year than last... specifically, in what qualities?

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Mark C Tubbs said...

Dr. Tripp,

Oh how I can relate. Living in Bristol UK for teacher training from December 31 2005 to August 1 2006, my little family and I were eating lunch at Subway after my wife had taken her NIN interview (equivalent to Social Security). Stomachs full, we weren't ten minutes away from Subway when I realized the envelope containing all our passports and birth certificates had slipped out of the basket at the bottom of the pram. And we were less than a month from re-entering Canada...

My immediate impulse was to charge my wife with the offense - except that it was I who had lazily stashed our lives' most important documents in such a risky place. Secondly I wanted to blame the Subway employees who were obviously not on the lookout for a customer's most prized possessions.

As I was racing all over the center of town scanning the pavement and checking the rubbish bins, I was convicted that I had been charging God with inconveniencing me. The Sovereign of the universe, inconveniencing ME?

Long story short, by God's grace we rested in the peace of His providence and received a call from the police two days later. Our documents had been turned in.

"I can't comprehend this fathomless love..." (Steve & Vikki Cook)

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