Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Music of the Gospel
About 25 years ago I became acutely aware that repentance and faith needed to become a part of my everyday life. That it was not just to begin the Christian walk of life but it was to carry me through.
I was miserable. I went to talk to a friend of my pastor relative who had helped other young women and my pastor and his wife, had hopes she too could help me. I sat with her for over an hour explaining what a hard life I had. How I wanted what God wanted...a good marriage and good kids and no one was cooperating me with me. I was wrung out and I wanted someone to make everyone else get with the program.
After this hour, or so, she told me I had sin in my heart. Not with a lot of compassion but with a smile and I crumbled and crashed. Quickly getting myself together I left. As I drove home with tears streaming down my face I said Lord, help. Her words of, you have bitterness, resentment and anger in your heart was in the back of my mind but what was in the forefront was who is going to help me. There is no one to help me. What am I going to do. I came to the end of myself. The sweet Spirit showed me how I was angry I was not getting my way and even though I thought my way was indeed Gods way, because it was a good thing, maybe it wasn't what he was up to at all. I didn't know it then but He was getting my sweet surrender. Not my way oh Lord, but yours.
Why do we think if what we want is a good thing that it is necessarily what God wants. He may ultimately want that and He has given me a wonderful marriage and children since then, but He may not have done this. Then what? Would I trust Him still? But the change had to come in and through Jesus not me. The change was to me not my family. I had to be humbled and broken and this was not just for this time...it was to be a daily occurrence in my life. Repentance. Repentance is a turning from independence, looking and depending on me to a dependence and looking to Christ and His grace. We think it is to change. It is simply to change a direction from independence to dependence on God. There we have opportunity to change because we are in the presence of God. That is where we are changed. We cannot change ourselves but we can cooperate with what God is doing in and through us.
Yesterday I split my medicine and I was drugged all over. I was angry at God. I lashed out at Him. I would not recommend it but being honest before God is a good thing. He can handle our anger. I felt His gentle love caress my heart. His soothingly love wipe my tears. And I had hope. I said Lord I cannot live like this. I cannot function. I know you will not leave me like this but rescue me.
Then I said...Lord if it is your will that I be this weak for the rest of my life I trust you. If it takes this for me to be dependent on you so be it. My heart was changed. I did get strength but I may not have. The question was..."did I trust Him".
There was an argument in my family. My natural response is to get into the middle. To fix and rescue. I did at first. Then I said a few words of life and love and I prayed. Lord I lift them to you. I don't know how this is to end but you have us all in a process of trusting you more. Of making us more like your Son. I lift my loved ones to you. I get out of the middle and I put you in the middle. I trust you now.
Learning to live a life of repentance and faith has been a process for me. The first time I confessed my sin was hard. Now I know the way back home, like the Prodigal son and now it is easier for me. I have been broken many times over and over again. I want a teachable, pliable heart that listens to the direction and leading of the Spirit. That drinks in the abundance of grace and mercy over and over. My conscience needs the constant rain and my heart needs the constant rain of the love of God to bring me to repentance.
There is no other place where there is true peace and joy but in a returning, a tuning toward and in the presence of God and His love and grace. We do not stay there. It is a stripping us of our independence and self reliance. It is where we are one with our Savior and Lord. It is a dance. A love relationship. It becomes stronger and stronger the more we follow into His steps and leading. It is a beautiful thing when we hear the music of the gospel.
Now I begin my day in the deliberate surrender. I say Lord I begin this day in sweet surrender and dependence on you. I plan my day under your direction. But I hold it loosely. I expect interruptions. I expect to be surprised by your grace and Love and He gently nudges me when I am going my own way and depending and leaning and relying on me and not Him. It is a sweet aroma, fragrance of the gospel of Grace. It is a learning to receive all He has for me in my day and being open to change it at any moment. It is waiting for the rescue. Waiting for the peace. It is being lead by His Spirit and not my own self will. It is a flower after a long hard Winter. It is a rest and peace beyond anything I can muster up. It is a love...It is a way when I see no way. It is a hope when I have lost all hope. It is a kindness and gentleness and wisdom when I have none. It is from fear to freedom. It is from independence to dependence on Him. It is where His power is made perfect in my weakness. It is an answer to all my questions. It is Him. It is the music of the gospel.