Thu, May 15th - 12:50PM
The Real "Glory" of Waiting
Yesterday my frustration level overflowed in anger and complaint, and I aimed both at God. As usual in such times, he simply waited me out in love. Any earthly father would have given me a spanking, (at least 30 years ago), but God always just waits me out. He’s right, of course, and I’ve never known him to be wrong.
Today, after my emotional diaper change, I see things somewhat differently. First, I have to ask myself, “What part of giving myself to God as a living sacrifice didn’t I understand?” And second, “What right did I have to complain about his seating arrangement at his banquet?”
Looking back at my complaints, I now have a Jobian outlook, relatively speaking, of course. I feel silly and humiliated by my own shallow response to the comparatively trivial circumstances of my life. And I should.
The real “Glory” of waiting should not be the object in question. It should be the glory of waiting on the living God. No heathen can say that, and no heathen can know that kind of glory. It should be considered ample reward that we wait on a living God who loves us. If he does nothing else in our lives, that should suffice. If he just sent Jesus to die in our place and never even gave us the privilege of prayer, no complaint would be justified.
So where did I go wrong? Quite simply, I let my default mentality take over, and by that I mean the human default position of finding myself important in my own eyes. I wanted to be God, and he was in the way.
I don’t guess I’m a very astute student of his ways – I’ve been through this before, but it invariably sneaks up on me, and I never see it coming. I am like the slow learner that got recycled through first grade, only in God’s school there is no age waiver that can bump me up to the second grade! I pass, or I stay put. Period.
Guessing that I’m not the only slow learner on the planet, I have this advice – first, do not judge your own value; it’s not your job. Second, do try to be happy in the back of the room – if God wants you to move up, let him do the moving. Only then will your position be secure. Be joyful, at least you’re in the right room!
I’m really sorry now that I was angry yesterday. I told God I was sorry too, but he didn’t make a big deal of it – seems he didn’t feel threatened very much by the display………
Mon, May 12th - 1:42PM
Life as we know it is a constant struggle on any dimension. The daily struggle to locate our position in the universe in relation to God is the great, background struggle, like a large backdrop on a stage. The smaller issues, finance questions, health questions, God’s general or specific will questions, all play in front of this dimly lit backdrop, casting shadows of obscurity on the background material. And every now and then, like details revealed in the strobe flash of a camera, a brief view of the truth is seen, and usually as quickly, lost once again. Striving to see the details while waiting for the flashed revelation is indeed a struggle. We strive to remove the darkness and push back the unknown, if only for a few seconds, because part of the relief we seek is the sure knowledge that in spite of the details, is the need to know THERE IS MORE.
Our questions assault us and frustrate us with their mystery of importance. They arrive impatiently, demanding resolution, but they also arrive in a jumble, like thousands of watermelons spilled out on a highway. It seems vital to deal with them, but how, and in what order? Who really is God and what does he want of us? Do we love him for himself or are our needs pre-emtive in our longing for him? Are we telling ourselves the truth about our motives? And then there are the rude, loud, in-our-faces WHY questions…. The “struggle” aspect of all this is obvious, but usually obscured by our comfort with our status quo(s). It is, after all, a form of labor to really seek answers – putting them in order is labor enough, understanding the answers and benefiting from them is a different form of labor.
Personally, this last 6 months has been a quest for RELATIONSHIP. I think that knowing God and knowing him as the head of MY FAMILY are very different concepts, and not necessarily related. We are told in the scriptures that ‘Even the demons believe..’, so merely acknowledging God’s existence and reality certainly aren't unique Christian virtues. I believed in God for decades before I acknowledged him as head of my family, and the difference in my life since attests to that difference. I never loved my wife before she was my friend, and it has been the same with my relationship to Jesus.
I always knew that Jesus was God, but for me, he was a God of predictability, based on his laws and rules. Like baking, I felt if I used the right ingredients, in the right order, I would get the desired results every time. I’ve since learned that he is not a tame God, and the ingredients don’t go together without love and relationship, whether correctly mixed or not. Subtle nuances of relationship have begun to speak more forcefully to me than any “knowledge” I thought I first had. When I meet a friend, I can go to him, or he can come to me - but there is a difference, slight, but important. Sometimes I seek to serve God, but most of the time, because of my human nature, I want him to serve me – but backing away and looking at my motives objectively demand I realize I am his, and in his family because of his choice – not mine. And I come back to the circumstantial question: “What is God trying to accomplish, and what is my part in it?” And more all the time I realize that he will accomplish his purposes – with or without me. Then the choice is mine, I can praise him or let the stones do it, but he will be praised!
David was ‘a man after God’s heart’, and he was a murderer and an adulterer, so what is “the heart” in this context? Like all of us, David was his own worst enemy, and yet he knew and loved God as his great friend, and father. No matter what David did he could not escape his love for God. He tried hard enough, that’s for sure, but grown into David’s nature was his love for God – he could not ignore nor escape for long, this relationship.
And God cannot escape his love for his family – no matter how much we may misunderstand his purposes. He alone is the father, and no amount of “Christian entitlement” will ever put us in his place. We are now and forever, his children. Wise children, no matter how they question the judgment of their parents, will not seek to supplant their parent’s position in the family – and neither should we.