Friday, June 24, 2011

The Voice of Reason

I always thought Moses was a very sensible man. There’s a story in Exodus 3 where God appears to Moses in the wilderness and tells him to go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites to freedom. Moses has a bunch of questions for God, and points about himself to make:

  • What if the Israelites ask who sent me, what should I tell them?
  • What if they won’t believe me?
  • Who am I to go anyway - isn’t there someone better qualified you can send?
  • I’m not good with words – never have been, never will be.


I thought that these questions/ points were full of common sense. In fact, a lot of them sounded like points I’d made when I felt God was asking me to do certain things...things I wasn’t super comfortable doing... things I didn’t really want to do.

Perhaps “logic” is sometimes a disguise for fear.  What if “being reasonable” is simply an excuse for not stepping out of your comfort zone? After all, even when God had thoroughly replied to each of Moses’ questions, and reassured him of His power and presence, Moses still said essentially: “Send anyone else but me!”

 Besides, “reasonable” is not always the way God works.

Think of God commanding Gideon to go fight a huge Midianite army with only 300 men (Judges 7). (And the 300 men won.) Think of when God promised to part the Jordon River for the Israelites to go through on dry ground (Joshua 3, 4), but the priests had to get their feet wet first. Think of the fishermen Jesus sent out on the lake during the day, when it was harder to fool the fish (Luke 5). (They went anyway, and were rewarded with a catch so phenomenal that their boats were on the verge of sinking, and the seasoned fishermen were awestruck.)

In my own family’s experience, God has asked us to do some things that seemed pretty insensible...at least to my thinking!

When my parents were first impressed to consider mission work and joining Adventist Frontier Missions (http://www.afmonline.org/), my mum had been in a wheelchair for the past two years, unable to stand for more than a few seconds and chronically tired. She had ME. Because of her condition, we hadn’t even been able to move an hour or two North to my dad’s new church district. Obviously, world travelling and mission work was out of the question, totally unreasonable, right? (And much like Moses, I had a whole list of questions, and reasons why this was not a very good idea for me personally.)

But my parents didn’t let human logic, the fact of my mother’s long illness, get in the way of what they felt God was clearly asking them to do. They persisted in the path that was being progressively marked out, and prayed that God would show them that this was the right thing by healing Mum. And she was healed! From that day to this there have been no more problems with her ME.

If you know that God is asking you to do something, to get out of your comfort zone, but “the voice of reason” is putting up a fight... listen to God's voice instead. If God is leading you, it doesn’t matter what it looks like from a human perspective, whether it’s “reasonable” or not. God knows what you’re capable of when you attach yourself to Him. Do it anyway, and watch how He opens up the way and does some amazing things because you said “Yes”! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Fine Romance

I remember the first time I fell in love. This boy was my hero; he could do no wrong, and, young as I was, I envisioned a blissful future. Meticulously I recorded every glance, every smile, every word he spoke in my direction. In my diary I listed and gushed over every good character trait I saw. “I don’t deserve him at all,” I wrote, “but I can’t help hoping…”

I remember the subsequent heartbreak.  “For the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have deep, mind-numbing pain in my heart. My whole body is shaking, but I can’t cry right now. I did enough of that earlier…I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.” It was so difficult that I pledged I would encase my heart in a wall of iron, and never fall in love again. (I think I succeeded quite well at the whole ice queen act.)

However, time passed, and I found myself walking down the same road. I was a bit more hesitant this time round, but I had the delightful, half scary realization that my heart was melting again… only to be followed a short while later by disappointment.

These guys were genuinely good people. They had some sterling qualities, but in my romanticism somehow it never seemed to click for me that they weren’t perfect. I guess I looked upon the objects of my affection as demi-gods! When they hurt me, I felt betrayed, confused, disillusioned. I seriously wondered if there ever could be someone who would never let me down.

Well, no…

Even the best of men (and women) disappoint. They are wounded human beings, fallen and forgiven and “in progress”. As I’ve found – and continue to learn – they can’t fill you and validate you in the deepest way you need, no matter how great they are otherwise.

I’m learning that I can’t let a man be the verdict on the worth of my soul. I can’t treat him as my god. I can’t mistake his opinions (or anyone else’s for that matter) for the opinion of God. I’m learning how to let God have access to the deep places in my heart that were made for him to fill. I’m learning how to let him validate me as a woman, how to let him call me beautiful.

Indeed, how to let him romance me.

God’s love isn’t a generic love, a “group love”. He loves me. He loves you, personally, passionately. "
He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you." Zephaniah 3:17


I’ve just finished reading this amazing book, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. I’m going to be sharing several quotes from the chapter “Romanced” below. 

(Apologies ahead of time to my male readers - you might find this post relates more easily to women. But hey, you might find something in it for you too!)
“As women we long to be loved in a certain way, a way unique to our femininity. We long for romance. We are wired for it; it’s what makes our hearts come alive….
“This doesn’t need to wait for a man.
“God longs to bring this into your life himself. He wants you to move beyond the childlike ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ He wants to heal us through his love to become mature women who actually know him. He wants us to experience verses like, ‘Therefore I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her’ (Hos 2:14)….Our hearts are desperate for this. What would it be like to experience for yourself that the truest thing about his heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval but deep, fiery, passionate love? This is, after all, what a woman was made for…
“The root of all holiness is Romance.” (John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating)
So often I've walked through my life blind to the ways God has been romancing me. But his “love notes” are all around! Not just written in the Bible, but in all the things that delight my heart. A song. A favourite book or movie. Something beautiful or awe-inspiring in nature. Time with or words from a friend or family member.
“You might recall that the Scriptures use a number of metaphors to describe our relationship with God. We are portrayed as clay, and he is the potter. We are sheep, and he the shepherd. Each metaphor is beautiful and speaks to the various seasons of our spiritual lives and to the various aspects of God’s heart toward us. But have you noticed they ascend in a stunning way? From potter and his clay to a shepherd and his sheep, there is a marked difference in intimacy, in the way they relate. It gets even better. From master and servant to father and child, there is a wonderful progression into greater intimacy. It grows more beautiful and rich when he calls us his friends. But what is most breathtaking is when God says he is our Lover (our Bridegroom, our FiancĂ©), and we his bride. That is the pinnacle, the goal of our redemption (used in the last chapter of the Bible, when Christ returns for his bride) and the most intimate and romantic of all.” (Ibid)
I'm discovering that the truest expression of all I admire and desire is found in God. He is the only one who can fill me, who fully knows me and loves me deeply in spite of my flaws, and He is the only one who will never disappoint or hurt me.


God wants to be loved. Love was his idea in the first place (1 John 4:7, 16) , and he loves us with an "everlasting" love (Jeremiah 31:3)! You, and I, each have an irreplaceable spot in his heart. 


Will you let him begin to captivate your heart?