Monday, December 22, 2008

Truth

On Saturday, I read The Shack. It is a novel (fictional) about a man who has a face-to-face conversation with God. I had started reading it a few weeks ago, but I hadn't really been able to get into it. Then, on Saturday, I picked it up and positively devoured it; it was absolutely God's timing for me to read that book on Saturday.

But I digress.
On Friday, Bo and I took Jack to our missional community with us. It went so well; Jack was an angel and we had an amazing discussion about righteousness and what that means. We also talked a great deal about prayer and our relationships with God, and about how we humans tend to sabotage ourselves in that area. It was a great discussion; I really love when a group of Christians comes together in complete trust and love. There is no safer environment, and our conversation was completely uninhibited. We were free to enlighten, love, and encourage each other. It was magical....or should I say "holy?" Either way, it was a very special night and God spoke to me through every person in that room on Friday.

On Saturday, I sat down to read The Shack. Although it is a fictional story, there is a lot--and I mean A LOT--of truth in it about how God truly desires our relationship with Him to play out. It really spoke to my heart. One of the main themes that is discussed between the main character and God is the issue of hierarchy, and how that seems to play such a large role in the human experience. God goes on to say that hierarchy is not something He desires for us; He just wants to be in communion with us. He just wants to be with us, and that's how He wants our human relationships to be as well. "Mutual submission" is the way the author of The Shack put it. It makes a lot of sense.

The issue of disappointment/guilt is also discussed in the book, and the conclusion the author comes to is that God is never disappointed in us because He already knows everything we will ever do. If He already knows what will happen, then we cannot fall short of His expectations. If He already knows that He will have to try to tell us something 47 times, will He get discouraged if we don't hear Him the first time? No! He will be happy that there are only 46 times left.

As someone who has been carrying a lot of guilt and shame, I am very grateful that the author of The Shack wrote what he wrote. What he wrote is absolutely true, and although this truth is written down for us in the Bible, for some reason it took this book to make me realize it. God knew that's what it would take, too, and that is why He had me read that book on Saturday, the day after our wonderful missional community.

Fast forward to Sunday morning: church.
For the last month or two...or three...worship/church has been a humiliating experience. I have felt so ashamed in the presence of God that every time I have come to worship Him I have not been able to do anything but weep and beg Him to help me. This has gone one for three months. Not so this Sunday. This Sunday all I felt was joy. The message was awesome, as always, and the worship songs were exactly what I needed to say to God. Here are some of the words we sang:

I know I'm weak
I know I'm unworthy
to call upon Your name,
But because of grace
Because of Your mercy
I stand here unashamed
...
Here I am
at Your feet
in my brokenness complete
(Starfield "Unashamed")
And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out
Lord
In my heart and my soul
Lord I give You control
Consume me from the inside out, Lord
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out
Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame
(Hillsong United "Inside Out")

1 comment:

Suz said...

When you get up in the morning, when you're having quiet time or however you start your day, please take a moment and acknowledge what a gignormous blessing you are to me.

I came to terms a while ago with my past, with the girl I've been and how she tries to break in and play a role with the woman I've become. To me, it makes me feel that much closer to God, to know that I could be so dirty and sinful and the entire time I was dragging Him through that, He loved me so completely and never judged me. I did, however, totally need to hear what you wrote about how He's just excited that there's only 46 more times until we get it! I get sucked into the "what if" game a lot, as I'm sure you do, too, but moments like that remind us that we needed to be that girl to get us to the women we are becoming. Would we know so intimately the sweetness of forgiveness if we hadn't been so filthy and sinful before? Maybe, but somehow I doubt it. Would we be able to relate to the lowest people in the Bible as deeply, the Mary Magdalenes and whatnot, if we had never lived lives similar to theirs? I doubt that, too. Everyone needs different lessons in their lives, and those are experiences that we should not feel ashamed of having. We should instead see them as different types of markings that God is using to paint the beautiful pictures of our lives. And then we should PRAISE HIM with all we've got for not leaving us as those girls.