Friday, May 01, 2009

Elle Sings The Oldies

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Running To God Means Running Away From "Why"

Life gets busy. Life gets crazy. Sometimes you get overwhelmed with questions and the search for the "why's" of life. That's the way I've been feeling lately. Kind of like I want to sometimes chase God into a corner and say, "I'm not letting you go until you tell me WHY." A guy named Jacob did that once. He wrestled all night. It didn't turn out all that well for him. He limped around the planet for the rest of his days.

I went on a two day mini-sabbath this week. I decided only to ask God for one thing. I eliminated all questions that have confused and frustrated me. I figure it's not the important thing anymore. I have long felt that if God would just allow me to "touch Him" again the questions would resolve themselves by becoming meaningless. All things pale in His light. And so I asked simply to be allowed the grace to be held. By Him. To know that He is still here and that He still cares. That I have not been kicked out of the family or orphaned for some sin that I cannot for the life of me remember. I'm betting that you know exactly what I mean.

After settling in to "The Mercy Center" I put on a rain jacket and decided to walk the labyrinth. I've only done that 3 times previously in my life and each time was profound. I tucked my ipod in my pocket, put the headphones on and put the 4,000 plus songs on "shuffle." As I left the building I uttered a plea for God to program anything He wanted to pour into my head. And if I wound up listening to some rock-n-roll version of "Johnny Played With One Hammer" I'd know that He had decided not to work that way in me this time. His call. As I stepped out the door music started playing. A raindrop splashed directly between my glasses and my eyeball. Immediately the words of Sarah Groves melted into my soul with "Call it what you will ... I call it rain ... when trouble come and pat against my soul. Go in if you like, I will remain, and let the washing waters make me whole." For the next 90 minutes I walked over 5 miles, including the labyrinth. God programmed every song. The next day I drove to the "Lincoln Memorial Gardens" in Springfield. I asked God for the same thing and He granted it. He was tangible. He was interactive.

I realized some things. When I think about entering God's presence I fully expect to feel dirty. Shameful. Disgusted with myself and disgusting to God. And yet each time I find that I feel clean. Washed. Worthy. Loved. Held. And I believe that is the way He intends for it to be. I realized that the "where" of my bodily location is not nearly as important to Him as I thought. Where He wants me to be is simply seeking Him. He is the pure place. And He will work where ever I find myself if I am in the pure place of His Heart. At one point the "shuffle" led me into a 2 1/2 minute introduction to a Willow Creek podcast. I thought God had dropped the ball for sure. The introduction was to teaching about being "in it for the long haul." It concluded with those words ... "no matter what, be in it for the long haul." The ipod shifted immediately into the old rock/folk song, "The long and winding road" which begins, "the long and winding road, that leads to your door, will never disappear. I've seen that road before. It always leads me here. Lead me to your door." Perfect. And you know who was singing it? Wellll .. I have this old album burned onto my ipod that is "daffy duck and friends sing the Beatles." Yes, God was teaching me and loving me through Daffy Duck.

Take that Billy Graham.

I could go on. And on. And on. Over 40 songs throughout 2 days covering 10 miles. And every-single-one ... was a clear and on-target gift from the Father's heart to mine. I could tell you stories about how they ministered to wounds and bruises that I've been carrying for way too long. But it isn't for the consumption of the world. Some things are just to ... personal.

I feel like I got to touch Him again. I sat in the chapel of the "monastery" all alone Monday night in the dark from 11pm until midnight. (I do not recommend this unless God sends you. Scary!) I didn't speak a word. Neither did He. But He was there. I felt Him. It was like breathing again after holding your breath for way too long. I recalled an old axiom that I learned some years ago while taking a mini-sabbath in the Minnesota back woods. "In the calm of Jesus, what matters?"

I think that God likes it when we intentionally hide from the world and go out seeking His presence. I think He enjoys honoring that. I think He realizes that it is a very counter cultural thing to do and it brings Him pleasure. And yet sometimes I have gone off for a couple of days only to come home with nothing to show for it. That only means you cannot program or predict God.

And that's one of the things I really love about Him. You see, I NEED Him to be in charge. Because I don't do a very good job of it myself.

Stupid Picture Chronicles #31

Sometimes you need to fix your sign or unplug it altogether.