Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knowing God - Isaiah 8:17


I will wait for the Lord to help us ...
My only hope is in him.
Isaiah 8:17
As a pastor, I've stood in hundreds of hospital rooms. Sometimes in these rooms, our primary hope seems to be in the doctors. Other times, I've been in hospital rooms where the heartbeat is fading, humans/doctors have done all they can, and our only hope is in the Lord.
Have you ever reached a point when your only hope is in the Lord?
Now here comes the challenging part of the verse: "I will wait for the Lord to help us."
Ouch! I don't know about you, but patience isn't my greatest virtue -- especially in times of trial. I want immediate. I want now. I want answers.
But in a strange way, it's actually a gift that we occasionally get to that point of desperation. Why? Because it is only when we are hanging by our last thread that we get to the faith-transforming (or faith-busting) point where our only hope is in the Lord.
Until we get to that point, our faith -- in some ways -- is just theoretical. It may be wonderful, warm, and friendly, but until we're down to our last thread, we won't know if we will stand or fall.
Now, if we fall, God will pick us back up again. That's grace! But here's a painful Advent Adventure: What if we prayed for the arrival of circumstances that will bring us to our last thread?
Ouch. No ... we don't have to pray for it. In this world of sin and death, those challenges will come. So pray instead that you and God together may use every obstacle to help you put your trust fully in him.
In Christ's Love,
a guy that wants to run
the hundred meter hurdles
(I want to be conscious of
God's daily help in managing
the manageable hurdles
so that I'm ready for the high jumps)
Will God really pick us up again? Or to use the image in my mind ... if you are desperately clinging to the side of a cliff with your finger tips, will God catch you if you fall? A game I have always avoided is the trust exercise where you close your eyes and fall backward ... trusting the person to catch you and not let you fall. There is no one I trust enough to do that. No one. And isn't all about will they catch me, but can they catch me.

Then there are times when you are not able to wait any longer and have to look at all the options available and take action.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog, pondering your words, praying. Lots of praying. This response isn't necessarily to today's post...

Yes, there is darkness, confusion, and evil in this world. Its source is the Prince of Darkness, the Author of Confusion, Evil himself. And he is powerful. He can take a little piece of truth and twist it so convincinly into a lie that we cannot tell the difference. Unless we know his hallmarks--darkness, confusion, isolation, shame, guilt, fear--we will insist that his lies are the truth and we will stand ready to defend them not knowing that we are fighting against the Author of Truth, the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World.

And it's a real battle--not some figurative, only in our minds type of struggle. In fact, I think that turning the battle in to a figurative one is one of Satan's biggest victories over us. We have this idea that we can wrestle demons inside our minds. We can't. It's not a fair fight. They are stronger than us, and if we insist on struggling with them they will eventually wear us down and win. And at the point of exhaustion, we may be perfectly willing to give up the fight--to think that death is a better end than continuing the struggle.

And here lies the irony. Because we have believed Satan's lies and defend them as the truth, it is the Truth we end up fighting against. We fight so hard that we do not recognize the source of the darkness closing in around us as we turn our backs on The Light. Then believing the battle lost, we fall upon our own swords and give the victory to The Enemy.

To those who are in the light, the lies are obvious. They glare off the page for the evil, twisted, untruths that they are. PE is right when he says that they are from the Father of Lies himself. Satan is manipulating you, using you, dividing your house, wanting you to fall on your own sword. And if you are truly the stubborn person you say your are, that should should make you beyond angry-- downright furious. And love isn't the only thing that will cast out fear--a good righteous anger will do the trick too. EH has it right--get angry with god instead of at God.

Yes, Satan is powerful. But he is not all-powerful. He knows so much about us that he can manipulate our thinking and predict our response--but he is not all-knowing. We cannot fight Satan on our own, but we don't have to. Jesus has given us authority over the powers of darkness...the problem is that we can't fight with God and against Him at the same time. But as long as your house is divided, your anger will be directed at God instead of with God.

Maybe God's goodness is too much for you to understand right now. Focus on His justice. Know your enemy.

Dec 14, 2010, 2:42:00 PM  
Blogger Chris K said...

I have typed a response to this 3 times and it hasn't posted yet. Hmmm... I don't know what is happening. I am not strong enough to fight. Satan or God. with or against. When you hear something constantly, you tend to believe it - right or wrong. Eventually it is easier to give in or give up. A person can only fight for so long without getting exhausted!

Dec 16, 2010, 4:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, then stop fighting--but I don't believe for a minute that you're not strong enough to continue because you're still throwing those proverbial punches like a champion.

Understand the irony of all this...Satan has your thinking so twisted that you're no longer fighting the real enemy. You are are struggling against God, and He doesn't want to fight with you. Satan is just sitting on the sidelines, munching on some popcorn, and enjoying the entertainment. As soon as you stop fighting, the battle is over because YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE FIGHTING! ...now if you turned around and fought Satan, God would join in the fight and you would actually win the war and not just this battle...but that can be another story if you need some R&R first. (Oh, and don't think that fighting WITH God is like what you're doing right now--it's more like swimming with the current while wearing swim fins and water wings.)

Let me see if I can make this clearer with another example. Do you remember when you first brought EQ home? When you (or anyone except Scott, but even sometimes Scott)would try to hold her she would struggle. She was scared and hurting because her world had been rocked, but she refused to let anyone comfort her. We all knew that if she would just give up the fight and let us love on her that she would feel better much faster. So picture EQ, wrapped in the softest blanket we could find, being held gently but firmly with us rocking her, singing to her, walking back and forth across back porch with her, rubbing her back, stroking her hair, making sure her belly was full, and her--kicking and screaming like someone was trying to kill her. It's a lot like what you're doing now. We know you're hurt and scared. God knows you're hurt and scared. But if you'd just stop struggling we could love on you, and God could love on you and you would feel better a lot faster.

Now think about one more thing. Do you remember how you felt when EQ would struggle against you? It hurt. You felt helpless. You were frusterated. Why? Because you love EQ, you knew what would make her feel better, but she wouldn't let you help her. Do you understand that there are people who love you and want to help you. Do you know how we feel? We hurt. We feel helpless. We are incredibly frustrated. Why? Again--because we love you.

Dec 17, 2010, 1:29:00 AM  

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