Sunday, June 28, 2009
The Beauty of Balance
In Sausalito, CA there is an artist named Bill Dan who works with rocks in a very unique way. As this picture shows, he balances groups of rocks in formations that seem to defy gravity. In fact, the first time I saw his sculptures standing on the shore of San Francisco Bay like frozen sentries, I was sure there was some kind of wire or glue involved. As if he could hear what I was thinking, he turned to one of his creations and just nonchalantly took it apart, tossing the rocks into the pile, turning them back into ordinary rocks again.
Moments later, he began a new stack and I was completely transfixed as I watched him work. He held each stone carefully like he was listening to something he alone could hear. He would position stone upon stone, making almost imperceptible adjustments until suddenly he would just remove his hands and as if by magic the rocks stood still. Despite appearances, it is not magic, but his understanding of physical laws that allow this wonderful artist to do what only looks impossible. Clearly this man knows things about physics most people never imagine!
Just as there are physical laws at work in the balancing of rocks, there are spiritual laws needed to balance a human life. If Bill Dan accounted for the shape and mass of the rock, but ignored the effect of gravity, his sculptures would not stand. Similarly, if I adhere to my favorite spiritual laws, but ignore others, the structure of my life or my theology will not be stable either.
If I see only God's love, but forget His justice, I may be tempted to think He is a push-over. If I see only His justice and not His love, I will be afraid to draw near to Him. If I put my trust in God's grace and mercy, but ignore His call to holiness, I am in danger, as Paul warns, of "sinning so that grace may increase" (Romans 6:1 NIV). It is only when I recognize that God is BOTH loving AND just--fully, completely and simultaneously--that my view of Him will be healthy and my relationship with Him can flourish. Only when I am BOTH fully convinced that His grace exceeds my sin AND fully responsive to His call to holiness will I be in the sweet spot between joyous freedom from guilt and whole-hearted commitment to Him.
Equilibrium is not the stillness it appears to be, but the active, fully engaged, powerful and opposing forces of laws that are so perfectly calibrated that neither force out-pulls or out-pushes the other. Some of the biggest lies people believe are really instances of believing one truth to the exclusion of another. Lord, help me to stay balanced in all I do and all I believe!
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (NIV)
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