Lucky

I was thinking this evening about how it probably wasn’t just luck or coincidence that Ruth ended up in her Redeemer’s field. How do we then balance the tension between recognizing Divine coordination and reading too much into things?

I have had many instances in my life where my paths crossed with someone else with such specificity to my situation that I just cannot accept it as purely random, a manifestation of positive thinking, or related to attraction theories. There seems to be something much bigger happening.

And yet we know God is not a puppet master. He Created us to create. To make our own decisions. I don’t feel like I have the space I need in my mind to fully appreciate or understand the dance between His omnipotence and our free will. I can spend hours analyzing the nuances of my every step as they pertain to this question. Or I can live. And trust. Like a child. That kind of knowing settles in where it needs to go only through experience. Not endless education.

We are invited into relationship. I feel confident that we are also invited to participate in this Divine Dance, as some refer to it.

There used to be a country song that I heard but cannot recall right now. It had a lyric that basically was: she wants to know how the song ends before she starts to dance. We can get stuck there. I’ll say it as long as I live: perfect love casts out fear.

Here I’ve been trying to know as much as possible all my life. Endless preparations and rehearsals. Over the years more and more of what I was so sure I knew feels like best guesses for the most part.

Now it is becoming clearer to me that the only thing I really need to know and can know for sure is God. That’s it.

Morale

Sometimes the storms of life may not take us out physically, but they can beat up our morale. Fatigue sets in. To borrow from the storyteller in the video below: resting becomes difficult because you can’t stay stationary.

Interesting as I recall the story of Jesus sleeping on the boat during a storm. His closest followers with Him were freaking out. He awoke and calmed not only the waves but also the fear in their hearts.

We are not guaranteed safe physical passage through this life. But I rest more so in the spiritual as I stay close to my Navigator. His perfect love casts out fear.

Weak

The tagline for my blog used to be: never give up! I changed it because the last year or so has been a journey of releasing my need to be self-sufficient. In a way, I didn’t need God as much before. I didn’t need Him to be God. I just needed Him as fire insurance or my backup plan.

At least, that was my false perception. I thought He expected me to be stronger. And need Him less?

I’m finding the exact opposite. It is in my independence that I feel farthest from Him. Our American culture does not encourage this dependence. We applaud the loner who climbs and fights his way to the top.

I like to do my best, but this independence isn’t about being a good steward. This self-sufficiency borders on being my own god. Even though I can go to church, sing all the songs, and recite all the verses, when push comes to shove, I’ve found that the weakest parts of me don’t trust God. Don’t know His love and provision. Because I never allowed Him to be my God. I always jumped in and took matters into my own hands before I let Him catch me.

Part fear, part slave to comfort. We cry “take me into deeper waters”, but lose our minds when the waters get choppy, the boat is taking on water, and we’re sinking. We don’t want to wait until we’re underwater for Him to send a big whale to ferry us safely onward. Jonah reference if I lost you there.

And you might say I’m being dramatic. But I think this is maybe the most important part of our spiritual journey. Think of Jesus. It was His faith in The Father that enabled Him to do what none of us ever have: complete and perfect trust in God.

I think that’s what His experience with the devil in the wilderness during His 40-day fast was about: will Jesus trust God or give into the temptation to judge the situation in the physical?

Same with being betrayed and abandoned. Same with being whipped, beaten, and murdered on The Cross. Always the same problem being conquered on our behalf: to believe that no matter how bad it got, He was always safe in The Father’s heart and hands. As we also were, are, and will be in Jesus. God does not do abandonment – even in our unfaithfulness. He is always faithful! He always loves us!

In my need to know is where my biggest battles are fought. My sense of safety being misplaced in my need for certainty. He’s teaching me to let go of the false sense of security in “knowing” anything other than I am in God and He has me for all eternity. False because we don’t even know what we don’t know.

His thoughts are higher. His ways are greater. His love is big enough. Great enough. His grace is sufficient. This life is only the beginning.

How Can You?

There is this line that I walk a lot where I try to figure out whether speaking on issues is important or not. How do we know whether it is Holy Spirit prompting us or just our own efforts? Does it even matter? Meaning, is there benefit to be gained either way?

In the past, I was a little more hot-headed. But then you live a little. You realize you’ve done or are as prone to doing the same errors that you observe everyone else making. It’s humbling.

People are in different places in their lives. Someone with a lot of wisdom told me, “Eat the meat, spit out the bones”.

I am learning to separate the position from the person. It’s not my job to change anyone’s mind. I write more for those who read something that resonates.

This season in my life I’ve been struggling with surrendering the need to know. Learning to go with the flow. Every day a new adventure. Living in the present. Hopeful for tomorrow. But not as married to a particular outcome as I was in the past.

I truly believe we shouldn’t guilt or scare people into choosing to follow God. The analogy that came to mind this morning was that of a child that has been taken away from an abusive home and put into foster care. It is my opinion that it would be very wrong of the foster parents to tell the abused child, “You better love us because we saved you from bad treatment. If you don’t love us, we will send you away.” What?!?! The absurdity!

We wouldn’t do that as humans. (Or at least, I hope we wouldn’t.) Why would we then ascribe that attitude to the God who Created us? Who said He so LOVED the world that He sent His Son to prove it to our blind minds. That’s why it is so offensive to me when people think they are speaking for Jesus when they are guilting or scaring people into making forced confessions of faith.

What would Jesus do? Maybe Jesus who said to run to Him as a child, and maybe Jesus who said He longs to gather us as a mother hen gathers her chicks, and maybe Jesus who said a millstone should be hung around the neck of those who hurt children (in the faith or otherwise), maybe that Jesus would take the abused child and care for the child without demanding anything in return. Knowing that the child cannot love what the child doesn’t know. Cannot trust without experiencing trustworthiness.

How can a person love a God that they don’t yet know? Especially coming from a place where they need healing first. They need an example of what love is.

I wish speakers would stop preaching behavioral modification and instead preach Jesus. I wish I could go to a meeting house on a Sunday or any other given day of the week and learn more about this God we say we believe is only LOVE.

I wish you would tell me more abput this God. How great He is. How you experienced Him this week. Not years ago, although I want to hear that also. But today! Tell me so I can know. So I can believe. So I want a relationship with God for myself.

Not religion. We have had more than enough religion.

We need a God that is bigger than us. Bigger than our resistance. Bigger than our hurt and pain. Bigger than our doubts. Tell me about that God! And I guarantee I’ll love Him more and more.

For all of you that don’t have anyone speaking life to you. For all you seekers. Ask. Seek. Knock. With all that you are now. As you are. Just put it out there from your heart. Even your anger. Even your rage. Even your cursing and your doubts. Take a risk. If you don’t believe anyway, what do you have to lose? Ask God to help you see Him as He really is.

I have experienced things that make me pretty confident in saying it will be worth it.

Heartbreak

I don’t believe the heart of The God I’ve experienced is to shame seekers. Guilting them into relationship with Him. Maybe that is the heart of men posturing the authority of God for personal gain, whether material or immaterial. But that isn’t my beautiful Jesus. That isn’t The God I experience day to day.

Guilting, shaming, and striking fear in the hearts of seekers alienates them from corporate church gatherings. I can’t stand it. I don’t believe my God keeps score like that.

The Truth sets us free. I believe ALL were born again when we killed Jesus and He conquered death for us and was resurrected. I believe ALL will ascend just as He ascended.

The details of how all of that works? The likelihood is slim that I will ever fully understand in this lifetime. However, God could surprise me; He specializes in what seems impossible to us. But I have heard enough to feel convinced myself.

And so I share the hope that I believe has been given to me. Trusting all the rest to Holy Spirit. I think God is that big and that good. That I don’t have to shame or harass or guilt people into making a profession of faith out of a sense of obligation.

Maybe the insecure demand forced professions of faith motivated by fear or guilt. But I wager that kind of profession breaks the heart of God and His passion is aroused against the words being spoken by those that reduce His great love down so much.

What person really wants someone to profess love out of fear versus natural affections? Maybe those with an ego problem. But that is NOT our God!!! He specifically came down to earth and allowed us to treat Him in such a way as to prove the exact opposite; to prove how much He loves us.

Perfect love casts out fear.

I hear so much pain in the words of those that find it so outrageous to believe that God could be even bigger and better than they ever imagined. I hear people who are tired and angry. Very tired and very angry. Caged birds. Hope deferred. Longing to sing.

So I pray. I give my heartache for those I love to God. And I pray. I want freedom for them. For us all. I want us all to really understand God’s love and rest like children. Loved children. Not slaves. That is my heart cry.

Heaven

I’m so intrigued. If I have this correctly:

1. The beginning of our story involves Adam and Eve trying to cover themselves.

2. The Greek word apocalypse means ‘an uncovering’.

3. The Greek word for heaven comes from a root meaning ‘to cover’.

Does heaven have more to do with something related to Christ covering us? Versus pearly gates and mansions?

What does it all mean? What is the covering connection?