Monday, October 29, 2007

I find myself longing for an eternal perspective I do not have.

I've read and am reading good books on the subject. Ted Dekker's The Slumber Of Christianity. John Bevere's Rescued and Driven By Eternity. David Shibley's Living As If Heaven Matters. I know about eternity, but it hasn't saturated my heart. None of it makes any difference if I don't allow the Holy Spirit to change me, to weave Himself into my DNA, and shift my focus beyond myself.

The world is so much greater than me and my bubble. There are problems so much greater than my test scores or my personal failures. I know this in my head, but it hasn't penetrated my heart. My priorities are mixed up, and I really don't like it. In 100 years, I won't care about anything that currently absorbs my time and focus. Yet my relationships -with God and His people- will have great significance.

I know my grandmother thinks about eternity. She has walked with God for almost 90 years, she is in constant pain, and she is ready to go home. She is much closer to seeing Jesus than I would prefer. She inspires me and challenges me in ways words cannot express. The inner strength and peace she constantly displays, despite perpetual pain and complete physical weakness, can come only from the presence of God in her life. People who check in on her say that she never complains; they always find her asleep in her chair or reading her Bible.

What an awesome reputation to have: to be at peace with God and with people in the face of extraordinary pain and challenge.

I want to be like her. I want my relationship with God to overflow into all areas of my life. I want to be at total peace, trusting God to do what He says He'll do, when He chooses to do so. I want to live so that Jesus shines through my weakness.

I am in desperate need of the gospel to rupture my bubble, the security of my world built on fantasy and falsehood, and to thrust me into a world dying without Jesus.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I feel dry and shriveled up inside.

That's not how I want to feel. I want to feel wonder, awe. I want to feel alive. I want to feel as though I know my God.

I know feelings aren't everything, especially when it comes to walking with God. An emotion-driven religion won't take you to any place of significance. But I'm struggling inside.

Why are you downcast, O my soul, why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

My favorite Bible story is of the two men and Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They're completely confused and lost. The turmoil of the last week is more emotional stress than I can imagine. At the beginning, for all they know, God is dead. Then Jesus comes up and starts talking with them. They don't have a clue who He is. He asks them what they're talking about and they explain. He basically says, "You idiots. Why don't you get this? This is what you've been waiting for your whole lives. This is what mankind has been waiting for 4000 years. Let me explain."

And as they walk, He explains everything. Going all the way back to the beginning, He goes through the writings of Moses and the prophets, showing how the whole point of everything was to point to Himself. They reach their intended destination, and Jesus starts to walk on down the road. They beg Him to come and eat with them. He agrees, and as He prays over the food, their eyes are opened and they recognize Him, right as He disappears, as resurrected God can do. Right before they rush back to tell the disciples, they say my favorite line:

"Were not our hearts burning within us as He opened the Scriptures to us?"

These men were devout Jews. They had memorized the books of Moses as children. They were very familiar with the prophets. They had heard it all of their lives. And they had spent the last three years with God Himself. And they were still hurt and confused and lost and completely unaware of the events surrounding them.

That gives me hope as much as anything. (My hope is in God alone, but it helps to realize other people, godly people, struggle with the same things.)

Like these guys, I've grown up in Sunday School. I've heard all the stories. My parents are both ordained; we talk about Scripture all the time at home. I would not trade my background for the world... but sometimes... I feel lost and confused and like the guys I'm thinking "I thought You were the One to save Israel...but I can't even see You." And the hundreds of hours logged in Sunday School goes out the window. All the knowledge (even good knowledge about God) in the world doesn't help if I don't see Jesus.

I want to hear the stories again, but as if I didn't know them and I'd never heard them before. I want to read Scripture and it to be real and not something I've read before but brushed over. I want to see it with fresh eyes and hear with fresh ears and be filled to overflowing with childlike wonder.

I want my relationship with God to be alive and real again.