In which there is one chair everyone wants (fullness of time pt2)

by Craig on August 9, 2011

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I was about five years old and dressed in a white shirt and tie. I had my hair combed just right – and “product” in it before the use of “product” in male hair became all the rage.

There was a circle of chairs and music playing. And my mom – young, and the most beautiful woman I knew – she was my only parent – and I didn’t want another one.

It was my birthday.

I have very few happy memories of my early childhood. I guess before five you don’t remember much anyway, and after five she married a man who turned my life upside down. From that point I have mostly memories I’d like to forget.

But there was this moment with all of my friends,
circling the chairs,
and a little pushing and shoving,
and giggling,
and the music was playing,
and the music stopped,
everybody grabbed a chair,
except for one person.
And when the game got down one final chair,
it meant everything.
I don’t remember if I got the chair not,
but I remember wanting that seat at all cost.

There is a little strip of land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea…

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surrounded by desert that nobody really wants.
It has this unique crinkly geography.
It starts at the sea and raises to the hills…
then drops down below sea level…
only to raise again to a high plateau…
and it has a nice sized fresh water lake…
and a salt water one…
and a river.

There were always “great” nations to north of this little patch of land and the south, east, and west. And every time a “great” nation passed by, it coveted the strip like the last chair.

This tiny strip of land is part of the “fullness of time”.

 

There was a very brief time when Israel was independent. Every other point in history the land has either been shared or occupied by one of those “great” nations: Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Rome, or Greece.

About 400 BC Alexander the Great, of Greece, grabbed it from Persia – as he had done with most of the Middle East

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Most conquerors were interested in gaining real estate and wealth. But Alexander was different. He had a dream of uniting the world with Greek civilization, and language, and philosophy.

But soon after he conquered the little strip of land, he died, and his extensive kingdom of Greece got divided up. But groundwork had been lain for the “fullness of time’.

Israel stood at the crossroads of civilizations…
many languages were spoken,
and cultures shared…
but now Greek became the language everyone knew…
and before his death, Alexander had united the area with Greek influence…
and, in a way…
prepared it for the entrance of Rome…
setting the stage for “the fullness of time.’

There is so much more to this perfect ‘fullness of time”…

please come back.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Dawn August 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

I love the way you tie the chair story to the fight to possess Israel . . . wonderful illustration! You must have learned to do that from Jesus, the best teller of stories and composer of parables. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story . . . I know, I have to wait, . . . you are setting the stage . . . for the fullness of time.

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Craig August 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

between just you and me – it was a tossup between musical chairs – and the toy that you bring home for one child – and all of the other kids want it – and the hilarity ensues. I chose this one because it’s a real story about a real me. It’ll take a little bit for the story to unfold so sit back – it really is amazing how all of these strands come together on Calvary. God bless you Andrea Dawn.

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Teresa August 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I found you online last month. I love to read your posts. They give me hope, as imperfect as I am, the stumbling I do each day, with the never good enough feelings, that there is a chance for me to someday enter the Kingdom.
Thank you for the gift you share that gives me hope. God Bless you always.

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Craig August 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Teresa – I’m just a person who is as imperfect and stumble-y is you. And I’m awfully glad you found me. And of course there’s hope for us. The fact that there was a Fall – the fact that there is sin – the fact that nothing really works like it should – that it’s all so hard – none of this has surprised Our Lord. Thank you for reading Teresa, and thank you for your nice words – they are well-timed – and they mean the world to me. Perfection is for later – now is for imperfect faith on a quest for perfection – and grace – lots of grace – for the quest . God bless you Teresa.

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Martha Orlando August 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Unique and lovely analogy, Craig! I am waiting for the next installment with eagerness!
God’s blessings always!
Martha

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Craig August 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Israel has always been up for grabs – and if they just did things right they would not of been – but they could never have done things right – nothing surprises Our Lord. He has a special place in his heart for the nation that he founded. He has a special place in his heart for the true children of Abraham. And he has a special place in his heart for us – we are grafted onto THEIR vine. God bless you Martha – and thank you – thank you much.

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Dawn August 9, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Dear Craig,

I am just lying on my bed smiling as I type. Your response to Andrea Dawn, “It’ll take a little bit for the story to unfold so sit back – it really is amazing how all of these strands come together on Calvary.” It reminds me of teaching my son, Samuel, to play chess. By the time he turned 8, I could no longer beat him. He’d say, “Mom, don’t move there or in 5 moves I’ll have you in checkmate.” IN 5 MOVES!!!! I just move after you move. What do you mean you can see 5 moves ahead? (I have since learned that all the great chess players do this, who knew?) Anyway, what makes me smile is that you know where you’re going with this history of Israel and can see it come together before you have it written. Such knowledge…love it!

Thanks for sharing and God’s blessings on your preparations,
Dawn

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Craig August 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Dawn, yes so many of these strands are in my head. I’ve thought about it, I’ve studied it. But we forget the things that leave us in awe of God. I forget the things that leave ME in awe of God. In the struggles, and the pains, and joys, and the life on this planet, we forget the things that leave us in. Awe. Of. God. The way he moved history without forcing a single move and having everything end up at Calvary – that leaves me in awe. And I totally get your chess analogy – totally. I guess in that analogy God knows every move of every chess game ever played. I do know where we’re going – but I kind of knew where we were going with the study of daisies – I suspect I’ll find as many surprises during this study. Thank you Dawn, and God bless you.

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Debbie August 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm

This is a story that I want to hear! :) And who better to tell it than you? :)
God bless you as you use the talents He has given you, for His glory!

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Craig August 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Debbie, your words are always too kind. But I accept them – I’m getting better at excepting the nice things that people say – so thank you, thank you. And it’s all HIS story – all I’m doing is telling it. God bless you Debbie!

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Michelle August 10, 2011 at 7:29 am

I saw the chairs and remember the last game of musical chairs I was witness to. It was 10 years ago this time next month. At a church family fun night. The game was actually a race between two teams. So two sets of chairs. And a car story. Each person was a part of a car, with an opposite on the other team. My husband and daughter were both tyres, and so racing against each other. I wasn’t really watching closely as they had raced about three times already, and noticed someone on the floor surrounded by people. As there was also a very overdue pregnant lady there I figured it had something to do with her. Until someone asked me if my husband had a bad back. Yes. But he had just snapped his Achilles tendon (he heard it go and knew exactly what had happened). So we ended up spending time at the hospital, and he surgery on it the next day. Funnily enough, whenever we suggested another family fun night it was never followed through………. Until last year.

Anyways, looking forward to the journey to the crossroads.

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Craig August 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

oh my gosh! What a story! See what happens when you go to church! Thankfully it was 10 years ago – and it can be told with maybe a smile now. I bet there wasn’t much smiling then. And I don’t blame you. And all those dots ……………… before you wrote “until last year” – it makes me think there’s a story for last year too :-) God bless you Michelle!

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A. August 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

Craig, love the way you do history! You make it much, much more interesting with persons like myself who need things done in story form or some other interesting way. You take the ‘dry’ out of it. Can’t wait to learn more here!

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Craig August 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

A. If it were two years ago I would’ve written blah blah history – blah blah fact – blah blah look what I know. I only write this way because of blogging in this community and reading people in this community. It is such a blessing that I found this special niche on the web – challenging as you know – but a blessing. God bless you A.

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