weekly theme #50 A Friend Of Souls*
week containing the Sunday between October 9-15
This was an incredibly difficult week for me to see God. My health and busyness seemed to capture my focus. The first few days I felt distracted and frustrated, but today, Sunday, I’m seeing more clearly. Perhaps you will notice that change in the reflections I wrote this week.
God gave me the gift of freewill, allowing me to be his child rather than his robot. That gift also exposed him to the pain of me ignoring or even rejecting him. I can’t read the Bible without squirming under his impossibly high standards and expectations. Such perfection is impossible for me. Perhaps the struggle is that I want to accomplish this great feat of holiness by my efforts even though I know I can’t. Where is he in all this? I suspect he is nearby, waiting for me to stop struggling under a load he never intended me to bear. He offers an easy yoke if I’ll share it with him. He wants my works and words to draw attention to him.
Trials and difficulties provide pressures that humble me and force me to turn to God. Either I can beg God to rescue me from my adversity or I can ask him to build my faith as I go through it. Jesus modeled going through it even though he may have wanted to be rescued.
I’ve been all over the place this week trying to figure out what the week’s theme means. I’ve been stung by some thoughts of Duane Elmer as he wrote in Cross-Cultural Servanthood. Here’s my paraphrase/application. I tend to categorize a person then measure their worth by the usefulness of that category to me. I fail to see them as a person above and beyond their category. For example, I see a plumber, not a person who also does plumbing. I measure his worth by how he can help me rather than by the mere fact that he is a human being made in God’s image. The plumber is a gentle example. Examples that are more uncomfortable include seeing convicts rather than people in prison, the handicapped rather than people with handicaps, prostitutes rather than people in prostitution, or liars rather than people who have told lies. Loving people isn’t always easy. Jesus never said it was.
I am not the solution a person needs, but I can be a temporary aid in their journey to that solution. Better to be a window for them to see God than a wall that hides him.
Crystal-clear lakes become murky when the bottom sediment is agitated. It’s difficult, sometimes impossible to see into the depths. It is also difficult to see into even a clear lake if a storm causes ripples or waves on the surface. I think it is difficult to see God when the soul is in similar conditions. Seeing God is hindered whether I have a storm outside of me or worries, temptations, or distractions agitating within me. Trusting God can be a challenge in those times. I admitted that to him, and asked him to grant me peaceful waters in spite of the storm and the inner agitation. It was then that I could see him. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
*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.