Monday, February 19, 2007

Blindsided by grace

God blind-sided me this morning in my quiet time. I've not been as intentional about meditating on scripture recently as ... OK, I'm trying to avoid the word "should" ... OK, let's put it this way. I would probably spend life on a more even keel emotionally and spiritually if I did what I did this morning more regularly. [once a spin-doctor, always a spin-doctor ... long live the spin-doctors]. Truth be known, what God spoke into my life this morning is more responsible for the avoidance of the word "should" than anything else ("... and we magnify His strictness with a zeal He will not own.")

My focal scripture this morning was Zephaniah 3:17, a passage I have known for years and one that many Ministers of Music hold as a favorite. It has just never connected with me as deeply before as it did this morning as I put my name in place of the pronouns.

Here is how it is translated in the New International Version (except, unlike the NIV, I like to capitalize pronouns that refer to God ... just my own personal preference) followed by what I wrote in my journal (perhaps edited a little bit):

The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

This is the only place in scripture that I know about that says anything about God singing. As I look in the narrow context (vv. 14-17) the passage seems full of unconditional grace ... and almost made me cry this morning (OK, it did make me cry). I'm bruised this morning from some of the failures of last week and from being on the receiving end of some of the "why can't they's" regarding technology support aspects of our worship services yesterday. I can make things clear as a bell in the sanctuary (aurally speaking), but the huge frustration is that I seem to have limited success in passing that ability on to others.
[Sometimes I write out my prayers as I journal my devotion times. This is what it looked like this morning.]

God, I know You are mighty to save, but are You really with me like that? Forgive my weak faith for asking that, but I'm having trouble feeling the truth that seems to be there. I've blown it some and taken some hits this past week, and I wonder if I am cut out for this.

Do You really take great delight in me? Is that really how You look at me? Why? There are places deep inside of me that are hungry to hear You rejoicing over me with singing? Can I not hear because of something I'm not doing ... or is there something I need to stop doing?

I'm taking it as a promise that You will quiet me with Your love. I've already felt it in this time of focus. I'm clinging desperately to it for fear that my sense of it will go away. I trust that Your love will not leave ... that's not what I'm worried about. What concerns me is that I will lose awareness of it.

So let's bring it home and make it personal (I recommend doing this with promises from scripture):

The Lord your God is with you, Morris.
The Lord your God who is more than mighty to save is with you.
Morris, God will take great delight in you. IN YOU.
God's love will quiet the storms raging in your windswept mind.

Faith without works is dead. So what am I supposed to do with that? The most compelling impression that came out of my quiet time this morning was that I know other people wrestling with the same feelings and they need to hear the deep grace of God spoken to them in the same way I did this morning. So I'm going to make a few phone calls and send a few e-mails to people I know who need to be reminded of this aspect of their relationship with God.


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