October 16, 2017

Parts and Divides

This past weekend something came to my mind that I really hadnt thought much about in years.  It was a very hurtful and devastating phase of my life.  It doesnt take up much space in my thoughts because it is in the past; and God got me through the situation  and beyond the situation.

But today, as I reflect, I think about how faithful God was to me in the midst of a great trying time in my life. Against all odds, God provided for me as a single mother. There were times and challenges, and there still are, but through it all God has been faithful.  My testimony is a very amazing one. It causes me to stand in awe of how great God truly has been to me.  It has given me such a grateful heart.  It has also shown me how to be ok with and without over the years.

Just thinking about how badly things could have gone for me is enough to make what I survived even more amazing.  God's hand of protection was with me through some things that seem to be more dramatic than anything in a movie plot. But sometimes reality is more extreme than anything a movie writer can formulate for the big screen.

Even some of the things that I am currently dealing with fall under the category of 'troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.'  Adversaries thought I would be destroyed, but what they found out was that God has created me to be formidable.  Storms have been brewing all around me and God has given me so much grace that I am watching it all take place as if I have a great seat in a theater in the round.

When I think about  the characteristics of God, I have to remember that along with being a Creator and Sustainer, God is also a Divider and a Separator.   Initially these may seem to be negatives, but when we read God's Word, we see in the the very beginning of creation God divided light from darkness.  This can lead to a plethora of theological and homiletic themes.  Much of the biblical text carries out this theme of separation that God makes dividing lines, if you will.

The parting of the Red Sea is talked about in terms of its miracle quality, but we must not forget the logistical components of God being able to divide.  This is proof that God can part or separate anything that God so desires.  This kind of divide meant that not only did the water divide, but every creature and composition within the ecological environment of the sea.  What was created by God, must submit to God's command.  What an awesome thought. What a humbling thought.

Whatever the situation, all that is needed is for God to speak.  God clearly makes distinctions at times to accomplish the Will and Purpose of God.  It may be temporary and it may be permanent. But it is God's pleasure that the creation must obey.  This has been true in many of the fine details of my life. I thank God for keeping me separated from foolishness. God has done some things that can only be credited to the ONE, the TRUE,  and LIVING GOD.

October 10, 2017

Sea of Forgetfulness

As I attempted to settle down for the night, I thought about all that has been going on with me lately.  And to be completely honest, this thought process includes some people that I truly wish I had never met.  In the midst of my thought process, I had to face the fact that I cant just un-know these people. Instead, I have to figure out how to move on from this phase to the next, and hopefully just move on to what is ahead for me in my life, both naturally and spiritually.

This doesnt mean that I was not trying to figure out the most perfect solution to the hurt and disappointment that has been the effect of betrayal and disloyalty. In my mind, I really wanted there to be a way to truly just forget that I ever knew these people that have had this negative impact on my attempt to be a friend. I thought if there were really a way for me to put all knowledge of these people into the sea of forgetfulness and never to remember that I ever met them at all.

The more I thought about it, I began to realize that this is not very different from what is being talked about in Micah 7.  We always want to use the concept of the Sea of Forgetfulness as this wonderful blessing that we get from God. Which is true. ... and here comes the conjunction...... BUT.

But what we dont want to face is the fact that something is going on in the text that we must make not of.  The attitudes and behaviors that God expected from the People of God were not how the people were living.  God had high expectations and high hopes for the People of God.  That is still true today. God has high hope and high expectations of God's People.  So when the behaviors of the individual, of the community of faith fall short, God is disappointed.  Then there is  something worse than just disappointing God, it is disgusting God. 

Abomination is much more than disappointing God, it is being completely disgusting to God.   As I thought about how disgusted I am with those who have disappointed me, I also had to think about how God views abomination.  How is God able to tolerate dealing with a human who is living so far below God's expectations?   I had to search out a way to understand that what God has to do is just put the sins of humanity into a place to be forgotten so that God can remain able to be available to humanity.

It is the mercy of God.  It is the patience of God when God's patience has run out. It is God wanting to stay in relationship with the People of God, even though the people have lost sight of the value of the relationship with God.  The kindness of God reaches much farther than we realize. God is so willing to forgive us of our sins.  When we dont even try to do right, knowing that God is watching, we are disappointing God, and we are disgusting God. 

So more than bragging about how God will forgive and forget, the more important concern should be why would we want to be such a disappointment to God that we disgust God?  What if we just decided to live right, so that we could be intentional about pleasing God?

After all, isnt that what being given another chance is about?