Friday, October 24, 2008

When God Talks Back

My relationship with the Lord has been somewhat rocky over the last 11 months or so. In fact, I have barely been speaking to Him. I have only listened to Him for the briefest of moments.

When God speaks to certain of my friends, He always has wonderful things to say about how much He loves them and how dear they are to Him. He is so affirming and encouraging and always has something sweet to say. Sometimes I wonder why I do not experience His voice that way.

When He speaks to me, I often feel as if the very fabric of reality is being torn apart. I cannot help but feel completely overwhelmed with a sense of awe and am overcome by a sense of His holiness. Interwoven with those feelings is almost always a sense of fear, sometimes almost terror. His mighty voice always impacts me at the very foundation of my psyche. Sometimes His voice is painful. It always changes everything about my perspective. There is no voice that I love more than the voice of my Lord, but I will sometimes go for months avoiding Him. There is no presence more comforting than the presence of my Lord, but I will sometimes go for months walking alone.

When I can no longer stay away from Him and I feel desperate for His presence, I cry out to Him and He is always there, loving me. Sometimes I wish that He would simply say sweet, affirming things to me but He never does. His love is a truer and more authentic and sincere love than any human being is capable of. When He speaks to me, I understand what love is.

Last night He woke me up about about 1:30 am, inviting me to speak with Him. I surprised myself when I accepted His invitation. I spoke to Him last night about how frustrated and hurt I have felt. I asked Him how He could have allowed certain things to happen. I asked Him what was wrong with my perspective.

He answered me by simply saying: "The first will be last and the last will be first. I want you to cloth yourself with the fabric of being last. There is no fabric that is more alluring to me."

Well.... Where is the space to continue to feel hurt and frustrated when God says that to you? I think that when we fix our eyes on ourselves, we grow sicker and progressively more unbalanced/darker as human beings. It is only in fixing our eyes on God and on other people that we become balanced and more healthy in our minds and souls.

I went spontaneously into a time of meditation-- contemplating deeply the 7 demotions of Jesus Christ: He relinquished His equality with God, He made Himself nothing, He took on the appearance of a man, was made in the likeness of a man, became a bond servant among humankind, He became obedient to death and He accepted death on a cross. The Sovereign God of the universe did this, for us.

As I considered all of the goals that I have in my life, and how frustrated I have been in achieving certain of those goals, I could not help but consider what Jesus might have desired to have in His own life. All of the things that He gave up for us, so that we might live and have eternal life in the abundance that He promises.... The agony that He suffered so that we might be "healed by His stripes"... The complete abandonment of all of His personal interesets & intentions so that the will of God might be completed in Him... His masterful rejection of every temptation that would have led Him off of the path that His Father had set before Him....

He emptied Himself perfectly and His horrific visage on the cross was the pinnacle of all of the beauty in the cosmos. This is the beautiful garment of humility and servitude and love that God calls all of His children to put on, that we might be acceptable in His sight. The fabric is the blood of Jesus; His blood that courses through our own veins and somehow is seen by God as a radiant white bridal garment. We cannot put on this holy and beautiful garment without emptying ourselves and allowing ourselves to be filled with God.

How difficult it is-- this constant crucifying of our flesh and our desires! How difficult it is to surrender our lives to God! How unfathomably more difficult it was for Jesus though!

When God talks back to us, the clay of our flesh is remolded by His voice. How much easier it is to simply not listen for the sound of His dear voice and to become deadened to His presence. Then we can continue to fight for the things that the world tells us are of the utmost importance-- for those things that we feel that we are entitled to as human beings.

The first will be last and the last will be first. God's words, not mine. Who can hear His words and not be changed forever?

In Christ's Love,

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