weekly theme #34*
week containing the Sunday between June 17-23
God doesn’t act like the god I would create. The god I make would force his will, punish misbehavior without mercy, and make clear all his decisions, directions, and deeds. However, the LORD of all creation makes his will an option for me, pours out mercy and grace repeatedly, and is often silent when I want his words or action. God will never be the god I would create, but thankfully that is not the design. The design is for me to be the child he created me to be.
When situations are beyond my control, I tend to ask God to come to my rescue, but he wants me to go to his embrace. It is when I rest in him that I am renewed. It’s when I am weak that he shows his strength. The design is not that God will do what I tell him, but that I will do what he tells me.
“O Israel, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?” (Isaiah 40:27a) What would my life be if God did not protect me from dangers I’m not even aware exist? I should not complain about what God fails to do, rather I should be thankful that he acts proactively on my behalf before needs even arise.
The Bible records several accounts of supernatural interventions, and I am confident such acts will continue throughout time. Yet the most common expression of God’s involvement in the affairs of humankind is though his church. When his followers submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, love for each other abounds, and the unity of his Body shows the greatness of God. However, God has given me freewill, and I can choose independence and the lack of unity which that choice brings. This independence results in God’s greatness being replaced by my weaknesses proclaimed as my greatness. I live on crumbs and in conflict, when God offers me bounty and unity.
When remodeling a home, it is best to remove the broken items, the poorly constructed work of the well-intended do-it-yourselfer, and even the items that are functioning but fail to meet building codes. The building needs to be “gutted” and rebuilt. Similarly, building a strong spiritual life in me isn’t difficult for God if I’ll allow him to tear out my sin, self-improvement efforts, and remove my substandard structure. I tend to think of spiritual growth as me working to get stronger, but my efforts will never enable me to live a holy life, let alone a miraculous life. My best hope, the process designed by God, is for me to let God replace my weaknesses with his strengths. It’s not about me becoming stronger but letting go of my weakness and clinging to God’s strength. Only his strength makes his commands possible. That’s my only hope for a healthy, strong, and miraculous spiritual life.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.