December 22 2007
Just laying there quietly, and the presence of the Holy Spirit just felt so strong…reminded me of The Shack when the guy is in the canoe and She comes and sits in the prow and chats with him. He is happy and surprised to see Her there – but She assures him She is always with him even when he feels that She is not. But the “feeling” that She is, is awesome! Happy, peaceful conversation.
I really want to get to my “formal devotions” – though my ‘informal” time this morning with the Holy Spirit was wonderful, an amazing way to start the day…
But I long for “the Word” to… feel hungry (even weak) without it… (and don’t want to get behind when I’m nearly finished it once again!)
I just can’t get The Shack book out of my mind… somehow it has made me feel so much closer to You … like (pardon me??) You are so much more “real” – and approachable too! (Shows how small and narrow my mind and heart have been… oh Thank You for being so patient with me… and showing Yourself through this book too! Amazing book! Amazing God!!!! I love You, Lord!
I have just read today’s reading John 14 to 17 , Jesus’ words to his disciples right before his arrest and crucifixion.
And I have to say, since reading The Shack, these words are so much more real to me. I have gained such a clearer understanding, a sense of reality, of Your love, than ever before! Thank You for this great and wonderful gift!
I remember, when I was young, watching people like my Grandpa Mott, and Mr. and Mrs. Tremain, and my mom, and Rev. James, and a few others, and seeing that they really knew You and loved You, and were constantly experiencing Your love – abiding in You and You in them – and I wondered how that could be. I read the Bible through, and memorized scriptures and won sword drills, and went to endless church services and revival meetings and Christian groups/ clubs and camps… and sometimes I’d seem to catch a momentary personal “glimpse” of You… but I didn’t have that certainty that I knew You, or that I loved You. I had a pretty strong “factual” certainty that You loved me, but if so, it seemed to me to be pretty much one way, and based on Your actions (“works”) - in which I ‘believed’- but it seems like while I believed in the words, and hereby had at least an intellectual, “factual” belief in You, I didn’t have the “relationship of love” that I saw in others. I wanted it (sometimes at least), I “worked” for it … but it seemed always to be just out of my reach. I knew it was “possible” because I did see it in others…
Funny, I don’t remember really anything spiritual in my life before the age of 12 or so – except a feeling of awe when we’d sing “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” in Pioneer Girls, and when watching/ listening to my Grandpa pray… and wondering about the way my mom would sometimes have tears going down her cheeks in church… and a kind of trembling, even fearful awe when I “went forward” in that crusade when I was about 10 or so. I “knew” all the Bible stories, could rattle off the books of the Bible in order, sing endless hymns and choruses by memory, knew probably dozens (if not hundreds) of scripture verses by memory, etc, etc, etc,… and yet it LACKED YOU! I was an “expert” about You (especially for my age) but I didn’t know You. I was “good” and suffered pangs of guilt when I did “bad” things… but still I didn’t know You!
And even when I finally began to know You, it seems to have taken such a long time to really get to know You deeply… and when I think that maybe I’m finally starting to “get it” I suddenly realize how little I know You, how much more… infinitely more… there is to relationship, love, with You.
Of course,when I think of it, the people I’ve known who seemed to really know You, were older people, and some of them, who were young-ish when I first knew them (like Rev. James, and even mom), well it was in their older age that I saw, sensed the depth of relationship with You… so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised it’s taking so long for me… but then I hear about “famous Christians” who had really deep relationships with You when they were young… oh well…
…. Later…. ___ came for supper and we had a good visit. Talked a lot about “church.” She is going through disappointment in a person related to the church. We both long for more “depth” [in/ at church] and yet we both feel like our relationships with God aren’t what they should be. Maybe we both need to learn to lean on God alone instead of on other people (though it is also true that we are meant to be part of a body of believers… it just doesn’t seem like “cookie-cutter church” (as another friend puts it) is meeting that need/ plan/ purpose a lot of the time. Funny, I really kind of hoped sometimes that our church wouldn’t need a “pastor” in the “traditional” (ie post-Reformation general Protestant) sense. Which is kind of bizarre seeing as I was on the pastoral-search committee! I guess I kept hoping we’d get “past” it.. or at least get past the need for a church building and just have a pastor who would be more of a shepherd.. even a shepherd of a group of house churches or something.