Friday, July 15, 2005

Not Forgotten

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt has been a very long time since I have been awake like this. So long I can’t remember if I was married and writing as quietly as I could with Bill sleeping peacefully beside me, or if I was single and writing at the kitchen table with Elizabeth sleeping peacefully in her room. I am not one of those people who do their best writing in the wee hours of the morning, either. My head is just too fuzzy so, most of the time, I write my brains out to clear my thoughts and exhaust my intellect enough to doze off. As it is now, I am parked at our PC in the front room, just a few feet away from Bill resting in subconscious-ness, and waiting for my Earl Grey to steep in my favorite Seattle’s Best (my apologies to the Starbucks loyalists) coffee cup.

Tonight I have been thinking heavy thoughts. These are heavy thoughts that I have been evading for a long time but have finally caught me in a vulnerable moment. And after thieving precious time from a husband who needs to be awake in less than five hours my thoughts have finally stolen my ability to drift off into undisturbed slumber. I am left to assess the impact these thoughts have had on me and take inventory of the truths that remain untouched. And I am comforted to discover how rich I still am:

God has not forgotten me.

This summer Bill has been working very diligently at clearing out the portion of our property behind our fence that has been overrun with wild grasses and unruly blackberries. The grasses have been mercilessly hacked away at and shorn until just a few inches of stalk remains above the roots. It won’t be long until these stalks attempt to reclaim their positions of prominence but they will be cut down regularly until all that is left is a soft carpet of green to cover the paths between elders, poplars, willow, and blackberries.

The blackberries, however, will serve an altogether different purpose. Our first thought was to wind the long suckers around the fence rail to encourage the blackberries to grow along the fence. This was a short-lived effort, though, as the sucker snapped in the middle and died in its forced spiral shape. We threw that one away and tried supporting a different sucker so that it would grow in a lazy arch towards a nearby bush. This one too broke in the gusts of a stormy evening so we attempted to tape it back together with florist’s tape. The miniature cast did not correct the break, however, and we had to throw that thorny sucker away as well.

What happened next was something that we really should have anticipated but were surprised by nonetheless. During one of Bill’s ruthless mowing sessions he noticed that the stalks that were broken had begun to bud and bloom. Even now we can see where small green clusters of berries have started to form. Nestled among the soft green leaves is the promise of a fruitful bounty. We know now that this would not have happened if the suckers had been allowed to continue their aimless wandering. In fact, the only possible outcome of letting them grow unchecked is a tumble of thorny stalks winding over and under each other but never producing anything beneficial.

So, tonight, while I was shedding tears that only a broken soul could yield I thought of the blackberries. Many things in my life have needed to be pruned away in order for God to use me to bear good fruit. While I know that my own endeavors are not inherently wrong and I am confident that I would make every effort to glorify the Lord in them, I have known and understand the pain that comes when God shears off those things that have become dear to me. I dare not risk stepping out where God is not leading me nor will I attempt to hold tightly to that which He would have me let go.

No, God has not forgotten me. When I experience any lack of opportunities or the loss of things that I have grown accustomed to having, I can know that He has done it. His desire is to see that I flourish, not to merely take up space. He intends to fulfill His purpose in my life and to do that there will be broken moments and a cutting away of things that would distract me, and others, from His work. And I can anticipate more prunings to come.

And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.Philippians 1:6

Glory

9 comments:

Trinka said...

amen.

Isa 45:3 "I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

There are treasures to be mined in darkn times that we can learn nowhere else.

thanks for blessing me with this this morning Glory.

Paul said...

I am constantly amazed how God takes things from everyday life and gives us those, what I have come to call, "burning heart" moments. Those times when you just know God speaking to you. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Susan L. Prince said...

"I would make every effort to glorify the Lord" now that living up to your name!

Is your given name Glory? You are the second person I know named Glory! I think that's cool!

Thank you for sharing this post. While studying the other night, I considered the story of Jesus telling Peter that satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (side note: First thing I learned is that the word for 'you' in that verse is plural, so satan asked to sift all of the disciples!)) It was revealed that God would never allow sifting if there was no sifting to be done. If there is sifting to be done, it must be done, because after the sifting, only the best is left. The best is that part of you that will glorify God...the likeness of His Son.

Carol L said...

Thank God for someone who will begin to get real with God and let Him deal with them and cut away all the fluff and the stuff! I read these blogs, clicking on "next blog" after "next blog," and I see either one of two things. I see the lost, and bleeding, and dying world wracked with pain, or I see Christians who have no substance. I look, post-after-"Christian"-post, and it's all just a bunch of fluff. They have nothing to say (and I'm not talking about anyone I already know but just random blogs, okay? So don't get a complex if you already know me)! And I'm just as provoked by this as I am the lost who can't see Jesus, who don't hear Him speaking to them and compelling them to come out from the destruction for which they are headed. I'm so fed up with Christian fluff, clouds that produce no rain but just stand there being clouds doing nothing and having no purpose other than to block out the sunlight (or Sonlight, as it were)!!! It irks me! I feel trapped in a body of believers who won't move past repentance from dead works (or even some who won't move there, for that matter), who are doing more to hinder God than cooperate with Him in getting the Gospel out. We've reduced this glorious Gospel with the demostration of the Spirit and power to a used car sales pitch and a bunch of church and "ministry" programs.

I'm sorry to voice my frustrations here, but I am frustrated - beyond words! If I preach the Gospel in power to one, that one will look at 200 and see no power of God and no real victory and think this is the way we are supposed to be living as God's people, but it's not the way we're supposed to be living! It makes me want to tear my hair out (but I won't do that because even those hairs are precious enough to Father for Him to want to number them all).

What's a girl to do who loves God and who aches with longing at the beauty of the foundation He laid yet finds herself here in the midst of a generation who, apparently, has no liking for the way He did things in the beginning, so they thought it best to move the furniture around in His house and change the decor thinking that it needed sprucing up for the 21st century - even though He's light years ahead of even the best and brightest of us all with everything He does! This same Father whose house we've been running amock in said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer (a place to seek Him not to entertain ourselves and each other) for all nations, but you have made it a den of thieves!"

We're a generation of a bunch of glory thieves, stealing God's glory like a bunch of toddlers at the cookie jar, all fat and happy with ourselves like we've got something good going on...BULL-ONEY!!!

Like I said, sorry to voice this here. I just don't know where else to go with it...

Jesus, please help me!!!

Carol L said...

P.S., Jesus hears it all the time...and now I'm filled to overflowing with it...

I ache for the miracles that let the lost know that God's real and He cares about the ravages that have befallen their lives...

I ache for Father to stretch forth His hand by doing signs and wonders in the name of His holy child Jesus once again, but He would only do that in the midst of a people who would stick with the foundation He laid via the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself, being the Chief Cornerstone. If I were Him, I wouldn't stretch forth my hand and do squat over a bunch of Christian fluff either.

Will I ever be satisfied? Prolly not. The more I know of Him, the more I want to know of Him. The more I look into His Word and see the beauty of His ways, the more I long to see His ways lived out in this life among His people, and the more I long to live in the beauty of His way.

Smith Wigglesworth, whom God used to raise over 11 people from the dead (and that's just the ones who were documented), and who was used by God to cure hundreds if not thousands of diseases said that the only thing he was satisfied with was the fact that he wasn't satisfied. I relate to that way of thinking and that kind of existence more and more every day...

Bill and Glory said...

Trinka, I love it how God can take some of the most difficult and painful moments of our lives to shape our character then make us grateful beyond words for the whole experience. Thank you for telling me that you were blessed.

Paul, thanks for visiting and for the phrase "burning heart." I'm going to use it, if that's okay.

Susan, my mom named me Glory but I have yet to meet another one personally. Thanks for visiting and for your kind words.

Carol, I'm going to copy your comment and ask Bill if he wants to tackle this in a blog. It certainly is a frustrating thing but our pastor said something on Sunday that challenged me in my attitudes toward other believers. He said that we need to concern ourselves with the things God is requiring of us, to offer encouragement and correction (when necessary) to those who are struggling in their walk or leading lives contrary to the pattern set for believers, and to realized that a sinner will sin because that's what sinners do. Not to say that Christians never fall short but to realize that we have been saved and the world is still lost.

Glory

Carol L said...

Glory, I'm not mad at anyone. And I even though it may totally sound like it, I truly don't have a bad attitude toward anyone. If anything, I am overwhelmed and broken up with compassion when I see what my brothers and sisters are going through day in and day out.

It's always bothered me to know there's so much more in God that's been made available to us through Christ Jesus our Lord and to realize that so many of God's people are living with so much less. It's like knowing right where there is a mine full of gold, and the most precious emeralds in the whole earth, and all these other treasures like valuable pearls and rare diamonds then looking around to see the poverty all around you feeling helpless because you can't quite get to what's in that mine because you're only one person, and you can't get anyone to believe you that there's treasure on the other side of this mound of dirt you're looking up at. You know you need help digging to get to that mine that holds the treasure but you can't get anyone believe you when you tell them you know what's there. And there you go through life living one more day seeing people live in poverty, seeing children going hungry and without shoes - knowing there's a remedy just on the other side of one measely mound of dirt! And you have to live feeling helpless, day after day, because no one will be convinced of what you know to be true! That's what it's like. And that's where the frustration comes in.

Like I said, I'm not mad at anyone. In fact, quite the opposite is true. My heart breaks sometimes when I look in the Word and see all the treasure that we have access to yet seeing God's people trudge through this life groaning under a burden abject poverty, spiritually speaking, that doesn't have to be!

All it boils down to is this: I'm just hungry for heaven. That's all in the world it is. Since I can't be in the locale of heaven where Jesus is seated at God the Father's right hand, I want to drink from the well of salvation and to taste of the good thigns of heaven while here on earth. And so I ask, I seek, I knock. And in asking, I receive. In seeking, I find. In knocking, it is opened to me. I don't have to be around people who are hooked up with heaven to have it. I know the Source. I can go there any time. The Lord said that if I will love Him with everything I am and everything I've got and if I'll lay up His words in my heart and in my soul and bind them for a sign on my hand and keep them as frontlets between my eyes and speak His Word when I sit down in my house, and walk in the way, and when I lie down and when I rise up, and if I'll write them on the posts of my door and on my gates that I'll live in the land as days of heaven upon the earth. And I have tasted, and I have seen that He was telling the truth when He said this! We can live like this! We can experience days of heaven while here on the earth!

It just happens that every time I get a more of a taste of heaven and I see that so, so many of God's people have yet to know the taste, the smell, the sound of heaven, it can start to get to me. I mean, how do you know about something so good and live knowing that others around you know nothing about it??? It's in those times that I have to watch myself and check myself and make sure that I don't let the frustration of this turn to anger and start to rub a blister that can fester to a full-on wound within me.

I find myself in a strait at times, really. Sometimes the longing and the hunger to lose all things earthly and be fully clothed with all things heavenly will so grab hold of me that I'll cry out to the Lord - and I've even cried myself to sleep at night with the yearning and longing I have for heaven. I can't even explain how I yearn to be with Jesus, how I ache to know His every move!

And yet with every answer to my cries that He so graciously pours forth into my heart, even just to see one of God's new creations, one of the holy ones who have this glorious new birth into the kingdom of heaven within them have that look of estrangement, that far off and distant look, when the Lord is so present, so ready to draw near, it's so hard to shake it off and just let it go! It almost gets to the point where I long for it for myself - yet I cannot leave it alone for myself either...And the more I taste of this life that Jesus gives so freely, the more I want to taste of it, and the hungrier I get for more of Him, more of His life which permeates and fills all of heaven! And then I see someone with that far-off look when He is so near, and it breaks my heart just to think, 'They haven't tasted??? They haven't seen???' I tell you, it crushes me!

So that's what it is. And it's not like I can hog-tie people and force feed this life to them...

There's a delicate balance with salt. A dish with no salt or not enough salt tastes bland, and, therefore, when a person eats of a bland dish, they don't eat much. There's not enough salt to make them hungry. If the dish has too much salt then the food is not edible. But...just the right amount of salt makes the dish so tasty that the taster gets hungrier and hungrier and must take another bite, by the time the taster has taken in every savory bite, he or she has eaten to the full and is nourished and has strength to do what he or she needs to do. And that's what it's all about.

So I know I can't be so consumed with seeing God's people taste and see that the salt that He made me to be becomes bland and unsavory - or that I become so salty that people push me away.

So we walk a delicate balance of dissatisfaction and hunger to be all that God purposed in His heart for us to be so we can be filled and stay true to the path that He chose for us so we can reach out to the lost and be salt and provide nourishment to each other as well.

Thank you for your compassion and for reaching out, Glory. We'll just keep stirring each other and provoking one another to good works so that we may run this race and finish strong with great joy! Sound good?

Love you,
Carol :)

Vicki said...

Hi Glory!

Just wanted to blog by with a hug and hello, and thank you for recently visiting my own blog home. You have such a gift with words and expressing the heart of the Lord. I will make it a point to visit often, and to keep you in my prayers.

Blessings,
Vicki
http://windowstomysoul.blogspot.com

Bill and Glory said...

Vicki, thank you so much for the compliments but mostly the prayers. Know that I'll be bringing this new chapter of your life to the Lord, as well!

Glory