I am so excited and nervous to write this post, and as usual my mind is going 100mph and my hands can barely hope to keep up 🙂 because there is just so much I want to get out.
I have always known I was the Lord’s “work-in-progress” and while I have gone through periods of growth before, in these past few days I have been amazed repeatedly to realize how little I have known, and how much there is still yet to know. God has totally been rocking my world lately and just moving in my heart and it has been both fantastic and horrible at the same time! I realize this is exactly what I have been asking for, and yet even as it comes it is not enough and I want more and more of Him. I knew asking to know Jesus more would not necessarily be easy, but I was hardly prepared for how dumbfounded, confused and turned-around I would feel. BUT, and this is a huge but, in the midst of all this unsettling and shaking of my heart there is a crazy…JOY. ( I was going to say excitement, but joy describes it SOO much better.)
Ok, that gives you an introduction for this post, and now I must break and say…Thank you God for music!! Music has always been a powerful channel through which God has spoken to me, and in the past few hours a few songs have really resonating in my heart. Also, Jesus…thank you for the sermon this morning…and the message and encouragement it gave me to write this.
Today I attended a church in downtown Joplin and the pastor spoke on the letters to the Ephesians. His focus was on praying…for thanks…and for one another…and one of his questions to us was how often do we pray for others? And how often do we actually give thanks for things instead of just asking for physical desires that we think will make us happy? From here…he progressed to why do we feel like we need/want these “happy” things…more often than not it is so we can grow higher in status…and thus have some type of power and impression over other people and our lives. And because we do hold power and control and image so high…we are not often likely to ask for help…nor prayers. Why? Well, I know for me it is because I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed I don’t have control or strength or skills or whatever it is I think I should, and I want people to think I am pulled together and standing-correct….
At this point in the sermon everything seemed to click into place and I realized God was calling me to write out some of the questions I had been struggling with lately and actually see what his other children had to share. He wanted me to ask for help. To lay down my facade of being this solid christian who knew where she stood in God’s Kingdom…because while my heart DOES know this…my head is slow to follow.
That said, at the beginning of January I began following the One Year Bible plan, and it has been AMAZING. I really believe this is one of the reasons why I have been feeling and struggling with my faith more…but struggling in progress. As many of you who know me know…I am a question asker. Thus, as I have really began to dive into the Bible…SO many questions have arisen. And these questions I have let erk me and swirl around in my head because I was too ashamed/embarrassed to ask anyone. I was too afraid to let others doubt that I was this super, well-founded Christian. I see some of my friends, and read some of their blogs, and hear other people talk…and they all just seem so SURE of everything. They seem so in-tune with what God is saying to them and why things happen and so solid in their faith…and i couldn’t bring myself to allow these people to see my short-comings in my faith. So there I was, wrestling on my own, but now I am ready to let others see, in the hopes of actually allowing what I have been praying for to happen…because I all I want to do is Love My Jesus More and know him fuller, and deeper. He gave me my brothers and sisters in him to encourage me in that…so here we go. I would appreciate any insight, thoughts, opinions, etc. Some of these I have an answer in my heart, and some I know there might not be a for-sure answer…still I guess I am just hoping to see how other Christians handle these areas of the bible and of our faith. Like I said, I have thought on these for a while…but usually I would just try to push it down so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. But I know I can not grow like I WANT to grow without at least looking at them, because I KNOW some day there will be a opportunity to tell someone about my Abba, and when they ask me these questions…the answer “oh I just don’t think about those things” isn’t going to win any hearts to Jesus 🙂
1. Regarding the story of Cain and Able…why did Abel find favor with the Lord over Cain? Did not Cain grow things from the ground just as the Lord had instructed Adam in Gen. 3:17-19?
2. In Genesis 21:8 why are Hagar and Ishmael sent away? They didn’t do anything wrong. Sarah and sent Hagar into her husband…what did she expect to happen? So why do Hagar and Ishmael have to suffer for it? True God does bless Ishmael too…but not like he blesses the line of Issac.
3. If we are supposed to forgive and pray for our enemies…Why in Psalms (an example would be 18:37-42…but there are plenty others) are rath and destruction called down upon our enemies? And not just in Psalms, but various stories throughout the Bible “Godly” men pray to God for their enemies not to be saved, or forgiven, but overtaken and run through. Why?
4. We are told not to think ourselves self-righteous or good on our own account…and yet as soon as we do truly realize our ugliness, sin and disgusting state…we are told to believe we are NOT junk and not beyond redemption.
But if this is the case ( that no one is too far gone for God…) Why was Pharoah, or the Pharisees or priests in Jesus time, not saved? Why did God “harden their hearts”?
These things just do NOT make sense to me.
5. And then the whole life of Jacob. I mean why do we make such a grand deal about God being the God of Jacob? Jacob did NOT seem like a great guy. He cheated his brother out of his birthright, and tricked his Father, and didn’t seem to regard the Lord nearly as highly as his Father had until he became an old man…which by that time God had already blessed him with a large family, and animals, and goods…
6. There are numerous stories in the Bible where I find myself wondering: What made this character more worthy of blessings in God’s sight than the other…when neither one seem to have done anything that amazing or that horrible. I mean it is definitely refreshing to see Jacob, or Abraham on some occasions, question or wrestle with God and still be blessed by him (obviously since we are also sinners and not perfect it is fantastic to know God does Love/bless us even when we are not at our best)…But there are also people in the Bible who seem to make no worse mistake than those previously mentioned and yet they don’t seem to find as much luck. I mean, for example…Lot’s wife. All she did was glance back and BAM!…piece of salt.
So…all these questions make the Church and a song by Misty Edward so perfect…Mystery. Because even though I have these questions and they do frustrate me…I just want to “waste my life to search (Him) out.” Because He’s “a mystery, so intriguing, a mystery, so enviting…He saved himself for the needy, He saved himself for me…”
The other two songs that have been drawing me closer into the Lord would be Skeleton Bones by John Mark McMillan (which we sang this morning and I just fell IN LOVE with it) and the song Let me Love you More also by Misty Edwards. Both of these songs perfectly describe my raw desire to simply LOVE the Lord. I want Him in my life more and more. Ha, which is another thing also reiterated this morning. The pastor was speaking on how we continually ask God for more, usually in regards to Earthly things. He told a little story about his young daughter who uses sign-language sometimes and one of her most frequent signs is the sign for “more.” And all I can think is how I want to know More of God with my head, with my heart, and with my hands.
These past few months, moving out on my own and living in a new town, meeting new friends…God has really been embracing/shaking me…but I pray he doesn’t stop. I may not know everything, or understand everything…but I DO know I love Jesus and I want to be able to live and express that passion for Him more completely. Thus I will continue to search him out and attempt to live in his light. The Lord has brought into focus a lot of ugly ugly things that I think and do lately…and all I can hope is to give it all to Him over and over and relinquish my grip and desire for control in my life. Because I am not perfect, but I am His workmanship and I am BEING perfected for when you think about it…I already HAVE his blood flowing inside my body and his wind inside my lungs…I am HIS and I have this one life to Love him with…and I will 🙂
In conclusion, Thank you God for the friends who read this 🙂