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I don’t know how other people do it…

April 28, 2010

Poor John McCain. He’s always up against a 48 hour deadline. He needs my help. At least twice a week, my junk e-mail folder rattles with the fossilized evidence of the good man’s aspirations. I suppose I should be grateful that some people, unlike myself, have not retired to the private practice of comfortable exile.

“The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy,” (Proverbs 14:10, NKJV) wrote Solomon. And the truth is, I don’t miss what didn’t happen in the elections, and I don’t miss hovering over them. I do miss lost abilities, but because of the perseverance of Calvin and others greater than I, I have the good counsel that my afflictions are all for my sanctification and for God’s glory, and that I may yet bellow for mercy. For I persevere not through my own, but through an alien strength — that of Christ — by the boon of those living and dead who point me to him.

Friends have asked whether I don’t miss pursuing a working knowledge of Korean. Actually, although I made little gain in speaking Korean, I learned enough about the language in four months to meet what I now realize was my goal. My Korean friends’ English improves steadily and remarkably, as it should, because they are here pursuing a rigorous academic undertaking. My minimal knowledge of Korean helps me to understand the snags they recurrently encounter with English. I can read and write simple Korean, and look up words in a Korean dictionary. I found RosettaStone very frustrating and I’m ready to move on. But not with Korean. I admit it: I am an Anglo-chauvinist. English is the best language on today’s earth. It is our world’s koine Greek.

So, instead of Korean particles, I prefer to drill my memory with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, one of the finest things written in the English language. My husband says the WSC is my language. Young children memorize the Catechism, but this is my first attempt at it. They didn’t have a feral child edition when I was growing up.

I contemplated a reminder from the ancient Hebrew world this morning:

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.’

But Gideon said to them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.’ — Judges 8:22-23 (NKJV)

Gideon was fit to rule, not because his people put him up to it, not because he was a war hero, and not because he was from the right family — because he wasn’t — but because he understood that God was the true sovereign over all. I’m not sure when fitness to rule became obsolete, but it did.

A lot of things have become obsolete. Blasphemy against God has become obsolete as a great sin, and blasphemy against intolerance has sprung up as a great sin in its place.

But sometimes obsolescence is a good thing.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11, NKJV)

Paul believed in his own strength and in the power of his consciousness to alter reality. By God’s grace, he could not sustain the illusion. My kind of guy.

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