I was the "Silly Scientist" in Chad's class this week and did an experiment with sinking and floating objects. As I did some quick research online to find a simple explanation for 5 year olds about why something like an anchor sinks but the boat in which the anchor is held floats, the word displacement kept coming up. Displacement sounds negative because of the "dis" in the word. But really, it just means that water which was taking up one space is moved to another space. I'll be honest, I still don't totally get the explanations that are supposed to make sense to pre-schoolers, but I have been thinking about displacement even so.
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen. 12:1-3
God spoke this to Abraham and it was a picture of God's plan for redemption, ultimately accomplished through His son. Jesus left His home and it is through Him that all peoples are blessed. It is through His person and work that the Garden flourishes as was intended by the work of the first Adam. Life, not just in the ethereal future way, but in the present abundance of green plants, strong bodies, fruitful labor and harmonious relationships comes through Jesus alone. Abraham and Jesus were displaced to grow the Kingdom. I have been feeling a little displaced lately, too, and it isn't all bad.
Kind of like the water being moved from one location to another, I have been moved by my neighborhood, which has displaced me from the affections that once occupied the same space. The need I used to have to be "going steady" with certain friends or groups has been replaced with a real satisfaction and contentment with the people who live in the houses right around me. The value of a Southern Accents home has been replaced with a value of spaces that can be spilled on, stepped on and at times, drawn on by neighbor children. Tight schedules have been replaced with flexible ones that often exchange visible "productivity" with slow, relational investment. Just like the boat and the water can't both occupy the same space at the same time, I can't be the center of my space and time and have God's Kingdom at the center of that same space and time.
Does this mean I have no limits? No, unfortunately, my threshold for disorder (as defined by my own sense of lack of control) has grown but still has a long way to go. Like the pump at the gas station which suddenly clicks off when the tank is full, without warning my ease with flexibility and others in my space and time can suddenly click off and angry, intolerant Jane replaces peaceful, easy going Jane.
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 1 Cor. 14:26-27
God is a God of order. Chaos is not how His creation thrives. The problem for me is that I don't often acknowledge His order as I cling tightly to my own. Control brings order, and the less I trust His control, the more I depend upon my own control. The more that life around me feels out of control, the tighter I grip my fist of control and the more intense my efforts to restore order become. Here is the distinction: My order and control is implemented with anger and irritability, panic and desperation. It usually is harsh and hurtful, valuing the order way above the creation and the people in my way. God's order is simply the means by which He restores and sustains shalom among His people and all of creation. His control and order bring life where mine squishes it right out.
The weird thing about displacement is that as it turns out, water doesn't have to stay in just one spot. As a matter of fact, how many analogies have been given about the Dead Sea being stagnant because it has no outward flow? Being displaced keeps the water filled with life even as it carries life through new channels and pathways, nourishing fields, valleys and forests along the way. But the somewhat sad aspect of the "dis" comes with the reality that old spaces and connections have to be left behind in order to restore and sustain life as offspring of Adam, the Second Adam and members of His body.
So, I am acknowledging my newly realized displacement with both a welcomed sense of peace accompanied by a slight sense of sadness not knowing if I will ever return to my homeland, so to speak. He has invited me to leave my kingdom of me and all that goes into preserving and strengthening it and to see His Kingdom growing around me. And, just like a science lab experiment, displacement actually raises the water level, lifting it to what theoretically would be a greater view than was possible before. I am displaced because of new life He has introduced to me, and it is in this displacement that new life is growing.
“What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:41-43
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