Thursday, November 09, 2006


I've been continuing that email conversation.

Every day is a gift. Every sunrise, every breath, every salvation, every healing. There is a strength and beauty to that approach and we need to walk in humility to accept God's purpose and plan for us. John Piper says: We are creatures, and our Creator is not bound or obligated to give us anything - not life or health or anything. He gives, he takes and he does us no injustice (Job 1:21).

But if we live like that without anything more, then we become ... fatalistic: "Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be." (Are you old enough to remember that song?) Then everything is up to fate. God will do whatever He pleases and we just have to accept it. Kill all desire. Accept the world as it is. Don't open yourself up to caring for anything or you will be disappointed. The promises of God will only be fulfilled in heaven. For now just hang in there knowing at least there is a God and He will do what is right in the end. But what abut the "journey of desire?"

The missing ingredient in this is relationship - we have a heavenly Father. As with any friend or a parent with a child there is a give and take. As a parent I want to meet the needs of my children. I don't want to see them sick or hurt or taken advantage of. I want to make them promises and keep them! If I promise to go to my daughter's basketball game and don't show up she is going to know that something is wrong. "Daddy wouldn't have promised and then not come." Now I may not promise to be at all her games but because she talked to me that morning she will KNOW whether or not I will be there.

I also recognize how I respond to my children if there is attitude from them. If they ask with selfishness or act in pride or are just plain rude with me I respond differently. Sometimes I don't say anything at all. Kirstyn will yell a question at me from the top of the stairs and I won't even acknowledge that I heard her. They need to correct their attitude before I will address their need or their question. Sometimes they get frustrated and say "Forget it! I'll do it myself!"

That's how we ask God for things sometimes. I want an answer from Him NOW! I'm not always where I'm supposed to be so that when I ask him for something he will often respond by pointing out something else that he wants me to deal with first. So I need to respond to that other thing first. Then I have to go back to my original request. Sometimes I'm not willing to change my attitude and I ask with wrong motives. Sometimes I just want to do it my own way. However prayer is give and take - a back and forth. Growing in that relationship is what Christianity is really all about.

We can sometimes act like the prophets of Baal yelling louder because WE DON'T KNOW if God heard or not. We try to work up a spiritual fervor because we are not sure that God is listening. We try to come up with exactly the right formula, the right prayer, quote the right scripture, work up the same feelings, have the same tone of voice. That is the same as casting a spell - it's witchcraft. Say these words in this order and add this special spice, turn around three times and jump in the air and say hallelujah. Poof! You have your answer. Works like a charm!

God will not be controlled. We can't control Him and we can't control the world. It is fallen and broken and people get sick and die and babies are born with deformities. That's what the world is like. But God wants us to respond to Him in all that. He wants us to ask Him what to do and how to do it. He will respond differently every time. It is hard work to ask him and hear him every time. That is where the resistance from the devil comes into play as well. He tries to distance us from the personal immediate presence of God. But He wants us to ask.

That's why knowing how to hear from God is so important. This whole life is about learning how to relate to our Creator. He wants us to become more like him and we will find ourselves in situation after situation that will cause us to seek his face for answers. If we don't seek him out, we can passively accept the world the way it is. We will still have salvation. We will still have life everlasting. God will still love us. But I don't think we will become what we were really meant to be or do all that he was really calling us to do or see all our dreams come to pass.

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