Thursday, July 19, 2012

Measuring Up

In Bocono, a pediatrician from our town met up with a team of general practicioners, optometrists, dentists and med students to conduct single-day clinics in the surrounding area. They set up shop in schools, clinics, and living rooms.

Most, if not all, of the families who came to wait in line lack the minimal level of medical care available here. Even still, the majority of the babies who waited on the laps of their mothers to see the doctor were generally healthy. I watched them come and go from their check-ups and thought about all the times I have taken my own children in to be weighed and measured. For me, there was something beautiful and spiritual about the long line of patiently waiting mothers and their babies, chap-cheeked from having their skin scrubbed under a cold spigot in the dawn light.

We want to know that we are on track.

We want to know that we are making progress.

We want to see our dot on the upper edges of the chart. We desire, in our bones, confirmation that we are okay.

Watching the mothers wait with their babies reminded me that I also desire to plot my progress. The important thing, the thing that matters, though, is making sure I am using the right chart. Because plotting points on the wrong graph makes the measurement worse than useless (I did not know until the trip, that doctors in South America use a different height and weight chart that the one used in the U.S.). Abraham Lincoln said, “Put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” I think he had a good point.

The measurement of my life that matters is the one set for me in scripture. The right place for my feet to stand is in the grace of God. And the great map of God’s grace makes the kind of charting we like to do impossible. Any place I land is within his love. And, no matter where my inky dot is added, there is room for growth. This side of heaven, I will never make it into the 99th percentile. Instead I find myself always between the promise of God’s gift of grace (like in Ephesians) and his prescription for a rich and meaningful life (like in Micah) - already healthy in his sight with lots of room to grow.

Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Micah 6:8 “The Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.”

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