Thursday, August 11, 2016
Eternity With a Stranger
O Lord, you have examined me, and you know me.
You alone know when I sit down and when I get up.
You read my thoughts from far away.
You watch me when I travel and when I rest.
You are familiar with all my ways.
Even before there is a single word on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord.
You are all around me—in front of me and in back of me.
You lay your hand on me.
Such knowledge is beyond my grasp.
It is so high I cannot reach it.
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
Where can I run to get away from you?
If I go up to heaven, you are there.
If I make my bed in hell, you are there.
If I climb upward on the rays of the morning sun
or land on the most distant shore of the sea where the sun sets,
even there your hand would guide me
and your right hand would hold on to me.
If I say, “Let the darkness hide me
and let the light around me turn into night,”
even the darkness is not too dark for you.
Night is as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You alone created my inner being.
You knitted me together inside my mother.
I will give thanks to you
because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.
Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
My bones were not hidden from you
when I was being made in secret,
when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.
Your eyes saw me when I was still an unborn child.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book
before one of them had taken place.
How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God!
How vast in number they are!
If I try to count them,
there would be more of them than there are grains of sand.
When I wake up, I am still with you.
~ Psalm 139:1-8, GW ~
It's a theme you hear repeated often here: There is NO substitute for quiet time spent reading God's word and talking to Him in prayer.
I spent last week at day camp leading a group of incredible mothers who are raising remarkable kids. Each day our Bible study followed the same themes and verses that their children were learning in their groups, but with an elevated, relevant adult discussion. Every day those mothers heard me sharing that same theme of digging into God's word and speaking to Him in prayer. By about the fourth day of the five day camp, I began getting facial expressions from moms like this...
Who can blame these women? I guess I can understand why they would think I was more than a little crazy urging each of them to be intentional about waking up maybe thirty minutes earlier each day. They are worn out, sleep deprived, overbooked, stressed out, and lacking any regular personal time. If anyone has an excuse for not spending time in Bible reading and prayer, it would have to be them!
Even so, I didn't let up in my challenge, because I have needed to be challenged and stretched in this area over the years. I KNOW what a difference it makes. And if ever there were a group of mothers that need to feel the Lord's presence, it is moms like us.
Yet, our relationship with God is no different than a relationship with a human being. We cannot get to know a person unless we spend time with them. Why do we expect any different with our Maker?
In developing this spiritual habit with my children, I have bluntly asked them, "Do you want to spend eternity with a stranger?" That question is every bit as relevant in this exchange with fellow mothers.
We are rather presumptuous in our relationship with God, figuring He knows what we need and He ought to supply it without us ever having to speak to Him about it. We fail to see that this type of attitude makes it seem as if God is here to serve us rather than us being made to serve Him. It seldom occurs to us that God longs to have a relationship with His creation. Listening to Him through Bible reading and speaking to Him in prayer truly should be our love response to all He has done for us. And parents who are running at break-neck speed all of the time rarely slow down enough to take in all that our Creator has done for us. (Incidentally, that is why I am a huge fan of keeping a gratitude journal.)
I think many of our fears, many of our apprehensions are born out of the fact that God is a virtual stranger to us. We don't know His character, despite the fact that He is a self-revealing God. We just need to spend time reading His word to connect. We need to share our hearts with Him in prayer. That dialogue creates space for the Holy Spirit to move in and clear out the garbled static in our current communication.
Suddenly, our love for our Maker grows. We can't help it as we get to know Him and His matchless character! As our love for Him grows, we become more committed to staying close to Him. Our trust for Him grows. Our inner peace that goes beyond our circumstances grows. Our view of eternity becomes more hopeful, certain, and exciting. Such grace!
We have to wonder, with all of this benefit to us, why we keep our Abba Daddy at such arm's length. When the blessings are all ours, why wouldn't we pry our sorry behinds out of the bed thirty tiny minutes earlier just to grab some quiet time with the One who gave His life for us?
I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend eternity with a stranger... Not when I can start enjoying His awesome, unfailing company right now.
PRAY: Yahweh, You called Abraham to the Promised Land. You called to Moses from the burning bush. You reached out and touched people by the presence and sacrifice of Your very own Son. You call us still. Remind us to answer that call by making You the most important part of our every day.
Enter today's drawing as we continue to celebrate Special Needs Parents Appreciation Month! Today's prize is a the book UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: When Special Needs Change Our Course, by Joe and Cindi Ferrini. The book has a retail value of $19.99. Simply leave a comment below and also "Like" our Facebook page.