Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Wrong Kind of White (and The Right Kind of Weakness)

First of all, the sweet treat white:  Matt discovered that my fantastic new blender wand can do its magic on fresh whipping cream.  It worked! #bestwhippedcreaminChina! (And it's a dream for helping with more plant-based meals for our crew… They don't even know they're eating veggies! I love it!  Thanks Mom and Dad K!)

As for our wrong white Christmas…  For nearly a week, our Air Quality Index was ranked us "Severely Polluted," our city the worst or one of the worst cities in China.  Then there were a few days where my app simply listed us as "Beyond Index" (meaning that the AQI chart doesn't go high enough) but a friend leaked the info he saw and it probably would have made for a bit happier Christmas if he didn't.   Just gross…..
I got this pic two weeks ago when our pollution was only "heavily polluted" level… nobody likes to be out in it!

someone said yesterday ….  "it feels apocalyptic"

It's when you look out over any distance that you can see the weight of it the worst…
this is the view from Matt's 21st story office in our crowded city (i.e. there are buildings in this picture that you just can.not.see.)
Today I'm so grateful for grace to be down into the "heavily polluted"range, less than a fourth of our pollution score for yesterday!

Here are the words I read this morning from J.I. Packer, Weakness is the Way:  Life with Christ our Strength, that hit my heart hard for where I'm at in this mess.... Oh for the grace-strength of Christ in this place of weakness He's put us.

"It is time now to take to heart Paul's triumphant concluding comment on [his own weaknesses and his life inChrist ]: " Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong"(2 Cor 12: 9 -10). So lean on Christ, the lover of your soul, as Paul did, and in all your ongoing weakness, real as it is, you too will be empowered to cope and will be established in comfort and joy."

"....We should recognize that the fierce and somewhat disabling pain with which Christ in due course required him to live and which he clearly accepted as a weakness that would be with him to his dying day, had in view less the enriching of his ministry than the furthering of his sanctification."

"Paul models the discipleship, spiritual maturity, and growth in grace that all believers are called to pursue.  When the world tells us, as it does, that everyone has a right to a life that is easy, comfortable, and relatively pain-free, a life that enables us to discover, display and deploy all the strengths that we have latent within us, the world twists the truth right out of shape.   That was not the quality of life to which Christ's calling led him, nor was it Paul's
calling, nor is it what we are called to in the twenty-first century.  For all Christians the likelihood is rather that as our discipleship continues, God will make us increasingly weakness-conscious and pain-aware, so that we may learn with Paul that when we are conscious of being weak, then -and only then- may we become truly strong in The Lord.  And should we want it any other way?  What do you think."

(Selections from pages 51- 54.)

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