Monday, November 23, 2015

Like Moses-Wandering and Waiting

I’m waiting for my own burning bush.  Like Moses this is my wilderness period.  Moses’ wilderness season is set in motion by his slaying an Egyptian.  My season is due (loosely) to a change in management.  Murder or management God is sovereign over all of it.

Certainly we are all as qualified as Moses, David and even Paul to accomplish some great spiritual work.  The Haystack prayer meeting is said to be responsible for launching the great missionary movement in the early 1800’s: 

“It was Mills' custom to spend Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in prayer with other students on the banks of the Hoosack River or in a valley near the college. In August, 1806, Mills and four others were caught in a thunderstorm while returning from their usual meeting. Seeking refuge under a haystack they waited out the storm and gave themselves to prayer. …Bowed in prayer, these first American student volunteers for foreign missions willed that God should have their lives for service wherever he needed them, and in that self-dedication really gave birth to the first student missionary society in America."  Kenneth Scott Latourette, the foremost historian of the church's worldwide expansion, states,  It was from this haystack meeting that the foreign missionary movement of the churches of the United States had an initial main impulse."

Moses, King David, and Paul; all murderers and David an adulterer on top of that.  We delude ourselves believing it was because they were brave and bold.  Not true.  Moses excused himself on grounds that he was, “slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  Paul’s testimony to the Corinthians was that he was “with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.”  On these grounds I am more than qualified for a fruit-bearing season.  

It’s the disruption, the waiting, the life upheaval that is the most difficult.  Yet Gods’ desire, His purpose, is wrought as much in the forty years of shepherding as in the forty years of wandering and waiting for the Promised Land. 

My own burning bush won’t be leading a nation or nailing thesis to a Wittenberg door.  It may be greater platform for my writing or greater opportunity to minister to my neighbors.  Meanwhile Midian is a harder place to live than the kings courts in Egypt.  I just have to trust in the loving kindnesses and sovereign care of the King.  Through it all I hope to gain the heart of Moses who “left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Father Wound, Freud and Gods Promises

“The message delivered with my wound…was simply this: You are on your own, John.  There is no one in your corner, no one to show you the way and above all, no one to tell you if you are or are not a man.  The core question of your soul has no answer, and can never get one.”---John Eldredge, Wild At Heart

A change in my role at work, from running a department to being an employee in one has escalated my anxiety to significant levels.  I needed to lose fifteen Lbs. but not this way.  Day after day I make the drive into work.  Physiologically I feel it.  Each mile and each minute closer to work causes some level of anxiety which I am not used to.  This isn’t normal.  I know God’s promises; I recite Philippians to myself---“Be anxious for nothing.”  I tell my soul, “God is with you.”  The feeling does not abate.  Where does this come from I ask myself?

Freud was convinced that a father was responsible for the development of principles, rules and values of society within a child, if the father was missing; the child’s view of his position in society was askew. (Lynn, D.B., 1974).  God makes it clear that a father is so much more than that.  Our earthly fathers impact our view of Father God.  Like Eldredges’ dad mine went missing for most of my childhood.  I don’t know what its like to have a dad that is accessible, supportive and, yes, huggable.  My dad was distant for a chunk of my childhood.  An invisible parent for part of my formative years.  So when God says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” I can’t relate.

There’s much in the mix; Eldredge says part of the yearning of the male heart is the yearning for validation.  You can see that in the father picture, right?  Validation is in a dads’ job description.  When I look at God’s promise in Isaiah 41 I can’t relate.  That big protective, passionate papa that I have in God doesn’t square with the father I had.  I suspect that’s true for most of us. 

I think that is a piece of the puzzle that’s missing.  I am having trouble assimilating the truth of who God is as my father.  When we are frightened sometime we fall back to early belief and experience.  That isn’t always a good thing.  Much better to fall into and rest in that which is true.  The Father I have now is a perfect father; accessible, supportive—and, yes, someday huggable.  Til that day comes I learn to hold tight to who He says He is and let go of that which never was.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Private Lives, Social Media

Lazarus didn’t post his resurrection on social media (‘Puppy is glad master returns to life’). A small circle of friends knew of his sickness.  That same circle grieved at his death, a larger circle was aware of Jesus raising him from the dead.  Still it was a very private and personal event affecting primarily Lazarus, his family and close friends.  We see the world through a private prism and close friends walk with us through our experience.

This prism is uniquely my prism; the way I see the world not perfectly balanced, my fear, paranoia and personality color my perception.  Lazarus had his sisters---and Jesus in the flesh.  His acquaintances may have seen him weeks before he got sick and maybe a month later.  “Hey Laz, you’re lookin good.  What’s shakin?  Anything new?”  Not being in the close group they missed his brutal sickness, his slide into death and his resurrection.  His close friends knew---they were there through all of it. 

The more things change the more they stay the same.  In an age of social media we still connect with others as we always did.  Sure I like knowing what your cat is up to.  But what impacts me—and you---is the time and work we put into personal connections.  The phone calls we make to each other, the hour sipping coffee with one another mid week, the texts that we shoot to each other to find out if we’re still shining in the midst of the encroaching darkness.  That’s the point.

Though my prism is unique; God made you my friend because you see and understand my viewpoint.  Sometimes you grieve with me.  Often you come alongside like Jesus in the flesh; to comfort me or question me---making my perspective more reasonable and realistic. 

The prism can imprison too.  Tempting to pull into myself and give into my view.  That too is why I invest in relationship with you my close friend.  I may need you to pull me back from the abyss.  Its reciprocal.  One day I will be there for you as well.  Meanwhile: you should see how this girl trained her dog to do circus tricks!