I tried really hard to keep this short… sorry… there’s just too much on my mind. I selected the pic for this post because it’s how I feel!
I am overwhelmed by the love of my God. He’s mine. I am His and He is mine.
I don’t deserve the love he gives. I don’t deserve the amazing life that he’s given me. It’s oh, so easy to get burned out. For those of you reading this that aren’t in the church, but merely attend a church on Sundays, there is a huge difference.
One is a form of encouraging or uplifting entertainment. It may spurn you to live better throughout the week, but it’s simply not the same.
But when you dedicate yourself to people who are, together, dedicating themselves to God, you have a completely different phenomena. There really is a huge difference.
Living a life that is immersed in the church, (not necessarily communally, I’m not saying that) you are proclaiming the Gospel that the gospels talk of Christ proclaiming, namely, “The Kingdom of God is at Hand!” This is where his rule is. You can’t live a kingdom life on your own.
I get in a funk. I want to live a kingdom life on my own. But my bones simply won’t accept it anymore. I can’t make my God happy or appease his wrath. I can’t offer any sacrifice. I … am … empty.
I can only be with him. That’s all I’ve got left. I’m not good enough, I’m not noble enough, I’m nothing without my King. And I love being with a whole lot of people who feel the same way. It’s an overwhelming gratefulness.
One of the most amazing aspects of living a Kingdom life is that you get to see the Father’s hand all the more… the other day, I got to see it touch me, and heard him speak to me in a mighty way.
I already told you about how tired and burned out I’d become. God meets us there… he met me there. But I needed more, though I didn’t know that I needed more.
I went to my sister’s house with my family and a couple wonderful young friends for the weekend. We had a nice time. One friend warned me to be sure to not take on too much, but to help my family pull together and rest.
I did the best I could, and I think we had a very nice time. I love my sister, she’s one of my heroes. We’ve been through a lot and God has been very good to us.
At the end of it all I loaded up the van for the trek back home. We made good time and were home around 4:30 in the afternoon. Not bad. But it turned out that I had mistakenly stolen my sister’s purse.
She needed it asap, as she’s a foster parent, and had much to do the next day and really couldn’t be without it.
You could imagine that I was a bit derailed from my peacefulness… or rather, the peace I had conjured.
You see, our God isn’t interested in us conjuring some shallow peace that we can muster ourselves: rather, our God is interested in showing us who we truly are as sons and daughters of the Most High, heirs to the one and only Kingdom, and he will stop at nothing to bring us to that life and freedom.
One of the friends who had come with us called me as I was figuring out what to do. I had only just dropped her off. She’d lost her phone somewhere in our van. I told her what had just happened and that I was going to have to do another trip to Nashville and back.
“Can I come?”
My heart instantly lightened. “Please do. I would love that.”
Yvonne, my sweet bride told me that she felt like this was all God’s doing… he set this up. So I set off with that thought in mind. (it’s never a bad thought to keep in front of you)
The next 6 hours were 6 of the sweetest hours of my life. This young friend and I had a blast. We talked and picked on each other and laughed… she thinks I’m sappy the way that I love the fall trees soooooooooo much. That gave her material for a good couple hours till the sun set.
But what was really amazing, was the underlying things that God said to me throughout the evening. We talked about life, parenting and discipline. She told me what she saw in me and how I handle my family.
I view myself as such a basket case. I know my heart, weariness and emotional nonsense. I know how maniacal I can get inside and how often I’m just barely getting by. Sometimes I feel like such a failure in front of everyone…
But she wasn’t seeing this. She was telling me just how encouraged she was watching the way I dealt with my kids and family.
You know, I don’t even know if she knew what God was saying to me while we talked, but what I heard was that God wasn’t seeing this. Even though I may fumble, he is so much stronger.
In our weakness and struggle, someone else is being lifted up and encouraged. In her case, she was getting hope and vision where I thought of myself as a miserable failure.
One neat little sweet thing that God did for us as we drove: Her mom called us to tell us that a gas station along the route had found her phone and was holding it for her. That’s a normal courtesy, right? But in this instant, we were 10 feet from the driveway of this gas station.
I don’t care if you agree, that’s God being such a sweet father.
He loves me. He sees me. He knows that I’m trying and he’s happy because I’m with him. He doesn’t care about my religion or my rituals or my sacrifices… he cares that I stay next to him and rest in him.
He arranges my steps and I could not be in better hands.
Praise the God who loves us the way no earthly father could. Praise him because of his patience and long-suffering! Praise him because he turns our mudpies into feasts of plenty.
My friends and I have a whole lot of mud-pies… and we’re eating at the most incredible banquet ever!!!