Monday, September 15, 2008

Next Step in the Path

It is always so exhausting and yet so exciting when you are on a search for answers in your life about what direction God wants you to go. God has been so faithful and so amazing on this journey with the many tidbits of information and wisdom He has given me. This past Sunday my pastor made a statement that has really stuck in my mind for this whole week. He said "Pride can't exist where Brokenness is!" In today's world we sometimes see brokenness as a bad thing and pride as a really good thing. But we can't allow God to really change our hearts unless we are willing to be broken. I have learned that being broken has meant for me to find someone or a group of someone especially God to be vulnerable with and real with. When I do this my pride and my borders and walls break down. I don't have to be something I am not. I don't have to defend everything about who I am or what position I take. I am allowed to just be. When I first began doing this I remember being so terribly scared. I still get that way at times and that is when God is always there to reassure me of His faithfulness. Today In my quiet time I began reading in Psalm 22. David started out in anguish as well as this psalm is one where he states how hard his life has been from one point of view since his birth and the things that came with the status of his right bestowed upon him. I don't think it would exactly be easy to be told he was going to be king as a boy or to take on a giant. Remember he had brothers who played jokes on him because of his stature and size and position in the family. Then to have Saul want to kill him and chase him through the mountains and pursue him could not have been easy. Now look at this as if it were today. Are you the youngest, the middle, the skiniest, the fattest, the oldest who must take on responsibilities, or in a relationship which is volatile? Do you have someone wanting to hurt you emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually? Are you homeless, made fun of for some reason? David started this chapter in anguish until he got his focus on track. In verse 4 he looks to how God was faithful to our fathers.
"In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
They cried to you and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed."
v.4 (NIV)

David knows that he can not go and ride along on his forefathers tailcoats and must have his own relationship with God. He states how his life has been since he was born but in the next few verses he is adiment to point out how he may change but God never does and His faithfulness is still the same.
"From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother's womb you have
been my God.
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help. "
and v.19 states
"But you, O Lord,
be not far off;
O my strength, come quickly
to help me"

As I have read the book of Psalms these past few weeks, another story has come to my mind off and on for some reason. Today I decided to look it up as I was doing my quiet time. God has been speaking to me a lot about my dependence on Him and about His strength and faithfulness in my life. As I looked for this story it too had to do with these subjects. It was the story of Jacob wrestling God. I have read this story before but never can I remember paying so close attention to the detail as I did today. Sometimes I have to laugh at God. I don't mean that in a blasphemous way or a mean way. But when I read this story... I had to laugh. Come on... Jacob was struck in the hip socket after wrestling and limped after that. I too have been limping from pain in my back and hip ever since I returned back to my home of origin. How can I not laugh about that? If there is one thing my mother always told me it was that I was a stubborn human being. I know this in some circumstances can be a bad thing but it is a good trait in some ways. In this story of Jacob he was leaving his home and fleeing Laban. God had told him to go back to the land of his fathers and relatives. Jacob had stolen his brothers birth-rite . How could he do that? There were some tensions in his family of origin and God had asked him to go back there. This is not an easy thing to do. Eight years ago I had to do the same thing. I think I have asked God everyday for the last seven years WHY? Like I said, I can be a stubborn person. Even though that whole time, I have learned so much about myself and about God I continued to ask that question for some reason. I finally stopped asking it and just said God show me why I am here and what you want me to do. Yes I still have dreams to live other places and to travel and do a lot of things but God has me right here for some reason; and like Jacob, He called me back here and this struggling and wrestling must end. Jacob wrestled with God and God blessed him greatly. He met with Esau, his brother, and God blessed that as well. God continued to be faithful. Jacob, before meeting Esau, gave him many of his possessions trying to find favor with him. But after finally seeing him, Esau ran only to meet his brother. God doesn't want all of the things we keep trying to put in front of him and all the "fluff" we keep trying to fill Him with when we are not being real or trying to put on a show for others. He wants the real us. He wants all the ugliness. The Jacob who stole the birth-rite, the stubborn person I am, the weariness of David at times, etc. I still am not totally clear about why God brought me back here for, but I can't wait to see the next step in the path.

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