(Written 2 September 2012 in my journal)
Thank You, Lord, for a most interesting - and illuminating, if sometimes puzzling and pondering and wondering and even a bit scary - set of reading materials the past month or two.
The Desire of Ages (Ellen White) - "old time" beliefs - wrapped in Your love
Velvet Elvis (Rob Bell) - new perspectives on old-time beliefs - wrapped in Your love - in action!
Every Knee Shall Box (Thomas Allin & Mark Chamberlain (a newly dug-up old perspective - again with a big emphasis on Your love)
and an old acquaintance's postings on Facebook - interesting questions that shake me up ... yet also make me want to go deeper with You - and make me even more certain of Your reality and Your love!
And most recently - but not least - listening to old cassette tapes (especially one from the Vineyard and one of Don Francisco) - the former emphasizing heart love and worship; the latter emphasizing Your love in action.
We need to consider and converse about all of it, together - with You. We are so liable to choose a narrow view of You and focus on that ... and end up not only losing sight of Your vastness beyond our comprehension, but also losing sight of You as we focus on "our viewpoint."
I've been thinking the past few months that You had to let me "lose" so many things - my parents, the church I was so involved in (and sadly, a lot of friends lost to some degree in that process), and then the "street ministry" group that took its place for a season, and a couple jobs, and my moving-to-Vancouver-Island dreams, and this summer, much of my savings for my travel dreams... and more. Oh yes, and the loss for a time of my "mind," my old mental sharpness as I went through depression (and the suspicion I'll never get it all back). And ongoing realization that my old youthful energy and strength (and smooth skin!) are also wrinkling away :-)
And, big time, loss of my confidence in "what I believe" ... and in the "emotional" aspects of my relationship with You. Along with the loss of music from my heart and life. And the loss of other creative endeavors I'd so much enjoyed - quilting, drawing... even writing. Even my love of nature to a large extent - and/or opportunities to really get out into it.
Oh! And then there was Bible reading and study and prayer. Where did those go? How did they get so difficult? Well, prayer was never "easy" for me ... but I was more or less "disciplined" about it, You know. And I read the Bible through year after year after year. But now ... well, occasional hit and miss would be more where I've been at for quite a while.
Lord, I feel kind of gutted.
Yet I believe it is a good thing!
Because when it is all taken away - I find You are still here with me!
And I'm finding it easier to hang on to You when the other things I've always trusted in are gone. So their loss is turning out to be a gift.
(Still, I find myself constantly not trusting You. Old habits die hard? Or, perhaps, when all that other stuff isn't clutter the view anymore, I realize more and more how untrusting I am. I am sorry, Lord. Please help me. To trust. And yes, to believe in You ... which I suppose in many ways is just about the same thing, eh?)
I'm sure seeing "belief" from a different aspect/ perspective these days. As simple action. Day by day walking with You. Keeping my heart open to see what You're doing, and listening to Your voice reminding and prompting me to love my neighbor every time, every moment You give me opportunity. (Though I sure still miss picking up on - and responding to - those promptings... And sometimes I hide because of fear. And stuff like that).
Away back, I was all enthusiastic about "church as I knew it."
And then I went through some really traumatic stuff related to "church as I knew it" and I went way the other way - not wanting anything to do with it, thinking it would be awesome to just re-create the "church as it was in Acts" - and disappointed to not find that happening - and frustrated to see so many people still loving the way I had come pretty much to despise.
And that pretty much left me alone.
But You were still there.
And slowly I'm coming to see that it really is about You.
And You draw people to Your love in all kinds of ways. Ways I'd never suspect or imagine.
And You love all of us.
And You want us to love each other.
Plain and simple.
With all our differences.
Just wrapped up together in Your love. In You, who are Love - Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit ... God. And all Your people, all Your creation, bringing us back into the oneness and unity You created us for - in You!
Thank You, Lord.
(Great mystery: God doesn't need us - at all - but He desires and loves us! Wow. We have such a limited concept of love - as we also have such a limited concept of God.)