(This content is also available at https://youtu.be/iv_tiHGJp1A)
By Sarah Nyhan
I will be attending a group study of John MacMurray’s new book A Spiritual Evolution. I thought I’d share my thoughts as I go through the book. I will not be summarizing or explaining what is being said in the book. I will only offer my own reflections. In other words, this won’t be a substitute for actually reading the book.
I met John MacMurray last year at his School of Theology event in Oregon. My own story has echoed parts of his that he has shared, so I am looking forward to reading his book.
If you run across this page and are interested in meeting John or hearing more from him, he will be speaking in Texas in March. Please let me know if you want more information on that.
So, let’s get started on my reflections after reading the forward in John’s book. The forward was written by William Paul Young, the author of “The Shack”. Paul Young is another man whose story also resonates with my own. I think he writes beautifully and this forward was no exception. So much packed into only a few pages. This is my reflection after reading what he wrote:
When relationships disintegrate that we didn’t think we could live without, that were part of our forever story, sometimes we think God has abandoned us and doesn’t care. But God does not bring us out into the desert to die.
We can be like the Israelites – only ever known slavery to a certain level of being. Maybe God wants more for us.
I bet some of those Israelites dreamed about winning the lottery and being able to walk away from their brick-making jobs forever. But when freedom came, they panicked. They wanted to run back to the few relative comforts in Egypt that held them over.
They saw God working on the outside, but they didn’t trust Him because they didn’t know Him. He invited them in, He invited them close, but past experiences with authority contributed to them being content to keep God at a distance. “Give us our daily bread and then kindly leave us alone, please.”
I don’t think 40 years in the desert was punishment. I think it was a picture first. But then also preparation and even protection (like when Adam was kept from Eden).
Just like us all, the Israelites were actually free. They just didn’t realize all that entailed. It took them a few days to physically get out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to get the Egypt out of them.
This Promised Land was brand new. Not a place to replicate the old.
God makes beautiful things out of ashes, out of dust, out of us. He never leaves us. If circumstances scream the worst, hope is holding onto Him holding onto us. This life is not the end. I think much like with the Israelites, this is only a beginning.
Literally let go and let God.
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.” (Isaiah 30)