Thursday, March 14, 2013
Greetings, Songbirds! It has been way too long since we met! Unfortunately winter is hard on me and I just have not been up to writing until now. I do hope you forgive me for my long absence!..."nuff about me! I'll get started on what has been on my heart as of late.
Last time we were together the phrase "Where're you gonna' go?" was used in the lyrics of the song I shared with you, titled Dare You to Move by Switchfoot. This phrase got me to thinking, so I thought we might explore it together.
I'm sure you know already the answer I will give...we can say it together...God! This sounds good when you read it, just go to God when you're in pain. Just go to God when you've been devastated by betrayal. Just go to God when you're so grief stricken, you can't even think straight, let alone function normally. Just go to God.
It sounds so easy. I know from experience,that, at times it is very difficult, even for a believer. I believe what may make it difficult is OUR view of GOD, but also how we think GOD views US. We may say we love Him. We may say we trust Him. We may say, not unlike Peter, that we would never deny Him...yet when a crisis arises, how do we respond?
Until we seek Him and truly start to get a greater understanding of His character, I don't think we can possibly have a clear view of WHO GOD is and HOW HE views US.
For many years, I had this view toward God that He was mad at me, or even worse yet...just not interested. I was a believer, I tried to do "everything right" yet, I still felt as if I was failing Him. It's that picture in your mind of Him just waiting to level the gavel against you, or the hammer, etc. I think you know what I mean! It was either that, or Him being so disinterested, that what I did or did not do did not matter one way or another to Him.
BUT GOD, in His graciousness, has revealed to me over the years...especially during times of crisis, that He has already passed sentence on me, not based on my behavior, but on what Jesus accomplished at the cross. I have been found not guilty because of the blood of Jesus, and for no other reason. Grace over law (legalism). I knew that in my head for many years, but did not start to grasp it until He tested me to prove it...that's how gracious He is.
How did He prove it to me? I'll tell ya'...He answered me through my questioning, not unlike with John the Baptist. John the Baptist asked, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Matthew 11:3 NKJV My question was similar, mine was, "'Are You truly who You say You are?' because if not, I'm not going to make it." I can tell you, He proved Himself in spades!
I only had to abide by the same thing John the Baptist and every other believer must abide by in order to grow in an intimate relationship with God. It is found in Jesus' reply to John which was this: "Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Matthew 11:4-6 NKJV
Oh, man! Accepting that Jesus made the blind see, the lame walk; the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear; even the dead raised up and the poor having the gospel preached to them, you might expect that from the Messiah, but then we come to verse 6..."And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” OUCH. "Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." With that small verse, the LORD challenges US to let HIM show US how HE views US.
In John the Baptists' case, I believe Jesus was telling John that he could trust Jesus was truly the Messiah, even though Jesus chose not to save him from such a senseless cruel death. I believe that is what He is conveying to each of us when faced with a crisis. It did not make sense humanly speaking, in John's day, BUT GOD was in control THEN and HE is in control NOW. You may be questioning that last statement. I understand. I have been there. Many times. I will share with you a few examples in my own life:
BUT GOD was in control when my mother (who was 39 years old at the time) was just one month pregnant with me when my oldest sister was killed in a car accident. She was 18 years old and had just graduated High School. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
BUT GOD was in control when I was born eight months later into a still grieving family only to be attending my first funeral when I was 6 weeks old because my father's mother had died unexpectedly. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
BUT GOD was in control when my parents separated when I was three years old and subsequently divorced when I was five years old. The next eight years, myself and two of my siblings were raised in a single parent home."And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
BUT GOD was in control when my father suffered from mental illness and had bouts of angry outbursts and had extended absences away from the family. Throughout my whole life, contact with my father was infrequent. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
BUT GOD was in control, even though my mother suffered many things in her life. Her behavior could be erratic and unstable at times. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
In essence, BUT GOD was in control when I was brought into this world with chaos swirling all around my family. I could go on, but I'll stop at my childhood..."And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Can we trust a God that will allow much pain and suffering in our lives? There are so many unspeakable horrors that go on in our world every day, yet God allows it. WHY?
I have shared with you before that I do not have all the answers. My goal is to lead you to the One who does. I only know what I have experienced and believe, and what I believe is this; God is good, God is in control at all times, God loves us, God is faithful, God hates sin and it's consequences, God is not helpless or caught off guard by ANYTHING, God does not know hard, God is our defender, protector, refuge, God is ALL we need. He is the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega...I could go on!
I truly believe that the only reason I hold to these biblical truths so strongly, is that God has on numerous occasions brought me to a place that I call a "crisis of belief" and I had to choose whether or not to be offended because of Him, or obey and follow Him, trusting that everything He does is for our good and for His glory. The result has been indeed blessing upon blessing, upon blessing.
For further reading on John the Baptist and this subject, I highly recommend a book titled The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards.
My song and my prayer for us all today, is that we choose not to be offended because of Him...(He is not our enemy), but be held by Him instead. The song by Natalie Grant titled Held expresses this very poignantly.
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it means to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held... Psalm 91 NKJV
"Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?" Selah.