A Matter of Commitment

A couple of days ago, I headed to Ashland for a session with my chiropractor. I somehow convinced Isaac to tag along with me. It had something to do with the food I promised him if he joined me on the journey. Still, I was delighted to have the company of my oldest offspring.

Coming out of the restroom, I was greeted by the sight shown in this photograph. He had been waiting until he heard the door begin to open so he could “throw” himself into a wonderful Monty Python-esque pose at the bottom of the steps. I don’t think Isaac would have minded at all if other patrons had to step over or around him. The visual gag was important enough to commit to a little embarrassment.

This morning, that notion has me thinking about the things in my life I’m willing to commit to in spite of the discomfort, awkwardness, or stress they may require. I’m willing to sometimes look like a fool in front of my students because it might help them connect to learning in an engaged way. I’m willing to sign my own children up for individual activities even though it means I will forever be #TaxiDad, forced to shell out an increasingly high percentage of my take-home pay at the gas station. I’m willing to have faith that my marriage will be restored even though it means that my heart will be broken time after time as circumstances assure me I’m a fool for holding on.

That last thing is a tough one. It’s much easier for me to commit to something when there is tangible, positive feedback. The connected smiles on my students’ faces? I can see them. The happily active participation of my young Cosands on the court or stage? I can see it. But the possibility that the vows my wife and I made to each other almost twenty years ago will remain intact? That’s not so easy for me to see much of the time. So, I’m faced with a choice: do I choose to believe in what I can’t always see, or do I bag it and try to rebuild my heart?

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3 NIV)

I love that: “Write [love and faithfulness] on the tablet of your heart”. It’s what I’m trying to do every day. I fail much of the time. There are certainly moments (days…weeks) when I feel like shattering those heart tablets and giving up. If I had to rely on my own dimension of love, it would have given out long ago. Thankfully, there is another Scripture that speaks to my need:

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)

He will never leave me nor forsake me? That is amazing news.

For every time I’ve turned my back and given up and lost faith and disobeyed and squandered grace… For every moment when doubt has had the upper hand and promises of restoration have seemed pointless and any filament of strength I may have had dissolved in the atrophy of fear… God’s love and provision and presence have never wavered. He has never left or forsaken me or you or anyone who calls out for His mercy.

So, where does that leave me? Trying to find that balance between what I see in life and what I believe in my heart. Trying to be strong and courageous even when the odds against me seem ridiculous and overwhelming. Trying to let the love of God calm the anxiety and fear and terror that my circumstances may induce.

Believing in what I can’t see takes commitment, and that commitment usually comes at a cost of discomfort and the potential of looking like a fool. But I know that God is committed to me with a faithfulness that goes beyond my wildest notions. What better example could I possibly follow?

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