Monday, July 27, 2009

Encouragement We All Need to Hear!

Here is a portion of a wonderful book my husband got me called Confessions of a Prayer Wimp by Mary Pierce. Yeah, my husband isn't too subtle in his observations of me, is he?

Well, he knew I could relate!I just thought I would share a portion with you, if you are going through some turbulent times in your life, or if you just feel really dry and empty...maybe you'll find encourgament that there is a reason for that desert place as well.

Getting fired set me free.Disappointments can destroy us. Or our troubles can drive us to our knees and open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to pay attention to God. God changes us, if we let him, through our challenges. The day the boss came to fire me, it turns out, was the best day I ever had on that job.

God used the firing as a tool to shape me. God is the Master Sculptor.

English clergyman G. H. Knight said, "It is only the eye of the sculptor that can see beforehand the finished statue in the rough marble block; but he does see it, and all the strokes of his tools are meant to bring out to the eyes of others what is already clear to his own. And the strokes of God's hands are only to produce the perfect beauty of the soul, and make that as visible to others as it now is to Himself. Nothing is more certain than that we will be perfectly satisfied with His work when we see it finished."

Knight asks, "Why should we not be satisfied now when He tells us what a glorious finish He will make, and leave to Him the choosing of the tools?"

How do I leave to God the choosing of the tools? How do I accept firing and failure, disease and disappointment? (She goes on to describe all of the trials and hardships she faced: alcoholism, poverty, divorce etc)

....I fought loneliness and aging like an enemy and sunk into despair and depression.

How difficult it is to let God choose the tools he'll use to shape me.
If God is going to be working on me, I want him to use the soft tools---the quiet whisper, the gentle nudge. I don't want the chisel against my heart, the hammer ringing against the hard stone of my habits.

But who is the pot to argue with the potter? The prophet Jeremiah had this to say on the subject: "So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him." Jeremiah heard God's perspective then. "'Can I not do with you as this potter does?' declares the Lord. 'Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.'" Jeremiah 18:3-6

Can God do with me as the potter does? Can he do the same with you? Certainly. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are we in the hand of God.

And there is hope. "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." Cor. 4: 7-9

I must believe that through the kneading, the shaping, and the firing process that is at times perplexing and wearying-- I must believe that God's every stroke is intentional. Purposeful. That his aim is to reveal to others what he himself already sees in me. That what he sees is something wonderful, something beautiful. Something he imagined when he first saw the clumsy slab, formless and dull, from which I will someday emerge.

What he sees is something so wonderful it is beyond my imagining. Grace upon grace, shining with truth and love and compassion. Glorious. Pure. Beautiful. The very image of Christ.

1 comment:

Ernie said...

A great post. I like what Henry Blackaby says in "Experiencing God", God is always at work. Always.


At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.