Thursday, July 17, 2008

not about me...

While I was home this past month visiting family and friends I had an insightful conversation with a friend over coffee. We got on the topic of the lulls in life...seasons when we are spiritually dry, apathetic, or even in some moments dubious toward God. I have had moments in life like that, one season in particular when I struggled with depression and wondered where God was in it all. I was angry, hurt and stopped trusting God to fully meet all my needs.

As my friend shared her current struggle to trust God completely and to "feel" His presence a thought came to mind. She commented on several things but in particular how her time in the Bible, time in worship, time alone with God has been empty and unfulfilling. God was actively answering prayers in huge ways for several of her friends but her own health concerns have yet to be diagnosed by doctors(after years of waiting). God impressed some things on my heart that I shared in response to her frustration and doubt.

One area where a lot of Christians get it "wrong", myself included, is that this life, our quiet time, our worship, our material possessions, even our health is about us. This is not true. Ultimately God created us to worship Him. We are created in HIS image to bring HIM glory. Sometimes He is most glorified in our weaknesses and hardships. It doesn't always make sense to us but in the greater picture He is still ever present, very aware or where we are, and cares deeply about us.

When I hit those times of dry worship, when I don't receive any great "epiphanies" from my quiet times I remind myself that that time is not really about ME being filled or enlightened but about GOD being GLORIFIED. If all I can do some days is read aloud one verse, I pray that it will bring Him glory. He alone is WORTHY and desires our complete trust and unhindered worship. That's not to say that there aren't those great moments of "revelation" or direct answers to prayers but that is not the norm. We shouldn't base our trust and love for God on His answers to our prayers or provision for our needs.

This conversation came to mind again today because I have been reading a book this past week called "Lover of my Soul: delighting in God's passionate love". A chapter I read today called "Knowing Him" made the analogy of our spiritual relationship with God being as intimate as that of a husband and wife on their wedding night. Our relationship with God is not sexual but deeply spiritual. It is the closest analogy that we can comprehend.

The author, Alan Wright, describes it this way...

* Two things are necessary for intimate knowledge of God our unguarded abandon and our permanent committment

* God wants people who will lose sight of themselves long enough to be overwhelmed by the sight of God

* God, our bridegroom, demands total permanent commitment

* Holy intimate experiences of God are not for spiritual thrill seekers unprepared to walk with Him, intimacy requires covenant (something God established with His people in Genesis)

I could be wrong, but I think it is very common for followers of Christ to fall into patterns of apathy, doubt and anger toward their Creator God. I definitely struggle at times. It is encouraging to me to remember some of the basics when all else hurts and doesn't make sense. One God is WORTHY of my worship. Second God longs for nothing more than my WORSHIP. Third God is GLORIFIED in authentic worship...that includes those times that I approach His throne of grace broken and confused.

I guess I write this in my blog to challenge those that are currently facing some of these things to be wary of getting swept up in self-pity and doubt because Satan loves nothing more than for God's people to be numb. May we not be fickle in our covenant with God because He is not fickle with us. We may be hurt, we may be angry but we should never lose TRUST in God. He alone is worthy!


Sarah said...

Oh, Anita- you nailed it! Thanks for the inspirational and real reminder. I'm so sad we missed you this month in AK. Looking forward to a good catch up at Christmas. Grace to you during these next few weeks of summer!

ace said...

Thanks Sarah. Looking forward to catching up at Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Anita! Your last comment made me blush! :) Thanks friend! Was looking at some pix last night of our trip to NC..that was so fun, and I am so thankful you thought of including me in that. I can't wait to hang out with you again..hopefully in AK in the near future!?

Jenn said...

Hey Anita,

Thank you so much for your insights! I was really encouraged and challenged! At the end of the day (or even better-throughout the day) we should be asking the question, "Who is on the throne?" God is fully trustworthy no matter what and it's all about bringing Him Glory! No matter what the circumstances or how angry/depressed/hurt/whatever we become, we can still make the choice to trust.

Thanks again for allowing God to use you to inspire and challenge others.

The Lord bless you!

Jude 24-25