Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9

5:39 a.m.

It's early...and still dark.

Ann Voskamp has already encouraged me (via FB): You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. Genesis 50:20.  "God always brings good out of bad. God turns hard things into good gifts."

And then Heather Funk Palacios and her blog . I love what God is doing through Heather and Kay Warren and others to demystify those who battle not cancer or other terminal illness, but the often chronic and potentially terminal mental illness. That mystery, like leprocy among us, so hidden and cloaked and shamed. Bring it into the light for compassion and hope and inclusion. In the light, not in darkness.

Yesterday, I had my gray magically turned to golden brown, the color setting, my internal gray turning to light as well. Rather than read, it all poured out to this dear every five weeks friend. 

I talked about Gideon...but mostly about Exodus and slavery turned to wilderness turned to promised land. I mostly live in the wilderness. The place of learning to depend, learn to watch for Him to move so I can move, to be equipped and prepared and strengthened to tackle the giants in the land, the walls around Jerico that only come down with a crazy shout of praise. 

If there was one section of scripture I could take on a desert island it would be the Exodus story, my story. Gathering manna daily, only just enough for this day. Preparation and training; God showing up and showing us. 

And after giving a mini-sermon to her (and myself), then to the story of the woman who touched Jesus hem. The story that is so perfect for Matthew right now. The woman did everything to fix her ailment, what was going wrong in her life. Doctors, traditional medicine, alternative medicine, tons of prayer and reading...trying to do everything right so that she could be healed. Like us when we are so silly to think that if we read out Bible more, pray more, share Christ more, give more, go to church more, forgive more...all the mores; that more will make us well. 

And all it took was touching the hem of his robe. Simple faith. End-of-our-rope reaching out. He did not ask for more. He did not tell her to go read her Bible. To grow up. To tough it out. To prove that she had accepted Him as her Savior. 

What he did say was, "Your faith...." Faith plus nothing equals relationship with God. He is so different than any other god. Our God is relationship. He is the end-of-your-rope, right-where-you-are, God of mercy. 

How we nurture that faith then takes on such a personal note. Why saddle such child-like faith with a list of Pharisee-driven dos? Error and tragedy occurs when we do. It does not drive us to Him but from Him. We can once again, never measure up. Yuck!

As Dallas Willard said, "The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action. Earning is attitude. You have never seen people more active than those who have been set on fire by the grace of God. Paul, who perhaps understood grace better than any other mere human being, looked back at what had happened to him and said: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." (I Cor. 15:10) 

The sun is still not up. But I am. And I just heard Matthew turn on the shower for the start of another day. 

Couldn't love him more. Neither can Jesus. 

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