Monday, January 11, 2010

The Familiar

Familiar — the word itself conjures up warmth and security, doesn't it?
Something familiar is something we understand and are comfortable with because we know how it works. It is something with which we are closely intimate or well acquainted.

We get a sense of familiar in the routines of our days—
That morning coffee ...
The road to work, so well known that if your car were a horse you could sleep at the wheel ...
Those welcoming sheets at night.

We have a sense of the familiar when we engage in something we know from hours of experience, like —
Riding a bike ...
Playing an instrument ...
Working with a hobby ...
Hearing a friend's voice on the phone.

And then there is the sense of the familiar in our possessions —
When you discover a memento from your past,
Or when you pull out the same Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree every year.

Familiarity also comes through less tangible ways, like —
Hearing a song you haven't heard in a long time ...
Or reconnecting with a long-ago friend ...
Or experiencing something that reminds you of another place or time ...
Or rediscovering a lost passion or idealism.
Familiar feels like coming home, a place of comfort, acceptance, and happiness.

I snatched up my Bible on the way out the door Sunday.
It felt so familiar in my hand
and in its words
and with its God...

How "at home" are you with the Almighty —
Not by rote or routine, or with a cavalier attitude, but how comfortable you are with Him?
When you start to talk to Him, do you have that sense you've been here before?
When you hear His voice, can you recognize it as you do a friend's on the phone? (John 10:27)

We become familiar with something from prolonged experience, and the amazing thing is that even when it's been a long time since we've heard that song, seen that friend, or ridden that bike, things that are familiar come back to us like no time has passed at all.

God calls us to that place. He calls us home whether the last time we were there was last night, last week, or many poor choices ago. He is the Shepherd of Luke 15, leaving the ninety-nine who are securely in the fold and searching for the one sheep who's wandered away. Paul observed that where sin abounds, grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20) because He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
No matter where you are, what you've done, or how far you've gone, God calls you home. He calls you to come and live in His house, eat at His table, and to be, again, in that well acquainted place with Him.

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