One of the blogs I follow is Ann Voskamp’s “A Holy Experience.” She has just published a new book —The Broken Way. After reading Chapter 6 — “What’s Even Better than a Bucket List,” I decided that chapter alone was worth writing a review!
She was flying with a rabbi sitting next to her. As their conversation began, he said to her, “You may believe in God, but never forget—”It’s God who believes in you.” What a heady thought! God does believe in us. I am reminded of that often when God answers my simple prayers. And then Ann reminds us that, with God IN us, how can He help but believe in us when He is ready to assist in any way we ask.
Ann’s signature writing style is her uncanny ability to use the same words with different meanings or squeezing words to elicit new ideas. Example: “We in our brokenness believe in God—and God believes in us through our brokenness.” Scripture tells us God has chosen us to be His children—”For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.” I Thessalonians 1:4. If He has chosen us to be His own, He has to believe in us! But we falter on accepting we can be that loved by Him. Since He has promised His Spirit will live within us, an “abundant life” is readily available. She reminds her reader “Jesus still walks on water. He didn’t just calm one storm—He can calm all our storms.”
That is important today—Thanksgiving Day 2016. There are many blog posts and articles being written about family conversations on this day as we sit around the table with our relatives who have very different ideas about the recent contentious election. I have seen several posts with ideas for topics of conversation to keep us from the antagonistic subjects. But we all know Uncle Harry thrives on combativeness and will do his best, whether purposefully or instinctively, to ruin our holiday.
The world is broken and suffering for all of us. Ann suggests that by thinking of others, not just our own needs, we can replace our brokenness by our “brokenhearted love” for others. Ann declares, “life is about purpose and passion and meaning… We aren’t here to one-up another, but to help one another up.” She contends our life will improve by simply helping others.
The rabbi made his point visual using his full water bottle. He suggested we all want more, but the only way to get more is to first pour some out. Ann turns that visual around to express: it’s not a bucket list we need to be fulfilled, but an empty bucket—“the givenness of pouring out.”