Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Even if

It's a little too quiet in my apartment. My turkey is thawing in the fridge, and I've vacuumed everything twice already. Andy cleaned the bathrooms last night. I don't need to start cooking until tonight. Andy's gone to work. I'm sure there's school work I could do, but my mind wants a break from all that.

I got up and started thinking about my Mom. She'll be busy as a bee today- cleaning, prepping for the big meal at her house tomorrow. Last year, I was home with her- dusting and polishing and arranging live branches I'd collected from the yard in the vases that only get used when I come home. When I think about not being there, it's easy to get sad or even angry, so I decided to come into the study and spend some quiet time with the Lord.

We're beginning to learn about the life of Abraham in BSF Genesis study. I've always sort of dreaded learning about Abraham- because his story begins with leaving. Even when I was younger, and wasn't so inclined to stability, I wasn't nuts about the principle of following God wherever He asks you to go. It was always costly. But it got harder, a lot harder, as I got older and the cost seemed to go up and up.

I studied Genesis probably seven years ago in BSF, and it's funny how life has altered my interpretation of Abraham's life story. Seven years ago, it was the initial call on his life that stood out to me. Here in Austin on the 21st of November, with my family in North Carolina, and an undetermined amount of time here ahead of me- I am most impressed by Abraham's choice to continue to trust in God throughout his entire life.

I am beginning to understand the meaning of faith "without sight." I think that I've often let my mind be tricked into believing that true faith- big faith- is accompanied with some sort of major action- like moving to the mission field or adopting orphans from Africa. That's not true. Faith is accompanied by action. James made that abundantly clear, but what precedes that action is true heart change. Faith cultivates the heart, so that genuine action can follow. If all we do is pursue the action, then it's not the real deal. I've found myself tempted to do just that at times here in Austin- I guess to try to make sense of the emotional mess that I've lived in here. But God is too clever for that- and good for Him. I've come to really appreciate that God is not a liar, nor can He be lied to. It might be my favorite thing about Him at this point in my life. That, and His persistence with me. Rather than letting me pursue my actions and get further entrenched in my own self-righteousness, He keeps on after my heart- and allows the circumstances that create a need for Him to remain in my way until I realize that what He's doing is better than just making everything okay, or allowing me to feel like some super-star Christian. I think that's what was going on with Abraham. He moved, but what was really even the point of moving? He didn't set up a mission or start some sort of ministry. He just did what God told Him to do when He told him to do it. It was Abraham's heart that God was after- and his changed heart eventually affected an entire nation.

I am learning this- slowly but surely- God is after my heart, not out to please me or set me into continuous action so that I can feel good about myself. He wants my heart to be devoted to Him unconditionally. Who can blame Him? How cheap would it be for me to just want what He can do for me (though I confess that has been my heart attitude toward Him a lot of the time) Why He wants anything to do with me, I do not really understand, but I do understand needing to prune the spoiled, self-centered nature that resides within me so that I can truly enjoy Him for who He is. All of this is "too lofty for me to attain" but I catch glimpses of it, and He is God, what can I do but eventually submit to Him?

In that vein, I've started to begin to ask God for Himself again- just Him- a prayer I haven't prayed in a really, really long time. I've wanted Him to fix things, to give me things, and that kind of faith isn't the kind of faith that Abraham had- it's not the kind that really pleases God. I don't think He minds if I ask Him for things. His Word says that I should. But I do think that He's hoping that I'll want Him more than the perfect set of circumstances. And I think He's been working on my heart to help me actually desire that for a long time now.

So this quiet morning, though I'd actually really love to be at home with my mom, cleaning bathrooms and collecting leaves from her yard, I chose to sit in my study and ask God for Himself- no strings attached. North Carolina or Texas, understood by others or misunderstood forever, riches or poor- let's just be together. I need You. You are good.

This song by Kutless came to mind and I wanted to share it.

You are God and I will bless you as the Good and Faithful One. You are God and I will bless you, even if the healing doesn't come.

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