Thursday, April 14, 2011

101

I had a conversation with a woman who was facing a rather difficult transition.  Facing it not with anticipation, thrill and 'let's get this show on the road,' but with anxiety, resentment and her feet, hands and body wedged against the door God had clearly opened for her.  I instantly recognized her reaction.  About 8 years ago, Beve came walking through the front door of a house I loved, one I'd set up in ways that suited our family and particularly myself so that there was a dedicated place for my writing, a large kitchen that opened up to a family room where we gathered while I managed to put meals together, simply because we were all together.  He walked into that house and told me God had shown him the house we were meant to buy in Bellingham.  It was a smaller house, but all on one level (a requirement, since that was the year I lived on the couch), with a large yard, right next door to some very close friends. With a great view of the bay as a boon.

Wheels began to turn.  They picked up speed.  And suddenly we were barreling toward a move faster than I could imagine.  We put our house up for sale on a street where many houses had been for sale in the previous year.  None of those houses had sold so, one by one, each owner had removed their home from the market.  But our house sold before we even managed to clear out the rooms and stage it for showings.  The first day we put an ad in the paper (and we sold it ourselves, another thing no one else did), the eventual buyer's sister called and came to see it. If God wasn't in that, I'll eat my hat, as my grandfather used to say.  Several months later, in fact, a neighbor, while dropping her son off to hang with J, commented on this miraculous turn of events, and instead of giving God His due, I simply agreed that it was amazing.  I've never forgotten that missed opportunity.  It was missed, unfortunately, because I wasn't sold on the sale of our house.  My heart was cold to what God was doing.  I liked that house. No, I loved it.  I didn't want to give it up and squeeze ourselves into this smaller house, even for the convenience of town and a great view out the window.

It took me a long time to soften to this new home.  Oh, objectively I could see why living in town was better. SK could go to the high school where Beve is a counselor.  With a shorter commute, Beve was home more, and it was certainly better for the environment for all of us not to be running into town so many times a day.  My ideal would have been to pick up that house and move it to this lot, but I suppose God doesn't generally do such things, just for my personal gratification.  What He's in the business of doing, and what He is most concerned about is not changing our residences but changing our hearts. (Just so you know, 8 years down the road, I am overwhelmed with what God did back then, with how far ahead of me He was--as usual!--and LOVE this house, am grateful for it.  I'd never want to go back to the other. No way, no how.  He was right, and this is good. Amen.)

So when I was talking to this woman about the change coming in her life, the one she has her heels firmly dug in over, I thought of the verse in Ezekiel--11:19 (though I had to look it up to get the right chapter and verse):
"I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh."
This woman instantly asked, "Is that for me? Can I ask Him to do that?" 
And I thought two things.  First, what a privilege to give just the right encouragement to someone at exactly the right moment.  It's one of the blessings of having scripture hidden in one's heart, that it's always available at the ready.  The more there is hidden within, the more available for the Spirit's use through me.
But the second thing, prompted by her question, "Is that for me?"  This isn't the first time I've run into this wall with another believer, this wall of not quite getting that scripture is personal and absolutely meant for us.  If it's anything, it's meant for us.  Other wise, what's the point?  Of course, there will be the theologians among you who will instantly think of sections we should NOT ask God to do--'dash our enemies' babies heads against the rocks' comes to mind--but His word, His Word is ours.  "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction and training in righteousness, so that all God's people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Paul tells Timothy.  ALL Scripture.  There's nothing left out of what is useful.  For you, for me, for every one sitting beside us on Sunday morning.

I know this might seem like Bible 101, but somehow I think even those who have walked with Christ for a while forget it. We forget that the answers we're seeking--for life changes and HEART changes--can be, indeed must be, found in the pages of the Bible.  And if this is true, and if you have been walking with Him for a while, there is one simple way to know whether you're really seeking the best answers to your heart and life and 'what next, Lord?' questions:
How worn is your Bible?
If you're looking elsewhere, and flooded with anxiety and worry, while your Bible sits pristine on a shelf, you're missing something.  No, you're missing THE thing...where you'll meet God and be changed.  And really, to meet God? Seriously, why wouldn't you?  And...by the way, stop looking around to see who I'm talking to here--you know, like you do in church, when you wonder who the sermon's for, because it really can't be for you, as uncomfortable as it makes you. This is for you, and me--well, each one of us who call Him Lord!

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