Friday, January 13, 2012

Intimate God

How do you picture God?

Do you imagine Him far off and distant? Uninterested in your daily life? Do you picture Him as the the Great Disciplinarian? Watching over you angrily, waiting for you to make a mistake so He can being down His holy hammer and punish you? Think a moment about that one. When something goes wrong, do you immediately assume it's because He is displeased with you? The car breaks down because you forgot to write your tithe check? Sickness comes because you aren't faithful enough in your prayers?

Maybe you think He isn't interested in the little details of your life. He's too busy concerning Himself with war and famine and "important issues" to pay any mind to what concerns you. Hard hearted and official? Like a bean counter for eternity, a naughty and nice list for heaven? How do you see Him?

When my oldest child was a toddler I used to pray about how to make God real to my son. One of the things I find hardest as a parent is passing on the "reality" of faith, the tangible sense of knowing God. Jacob used to carry around this little green frog with him. It was not bigger than a quarter, and he LOVED it. Needless to say, it was easily misplaced. One day Jake was beside himself after having lost it. The "thought" occurred to me, we should pray to find it. So we did. He stood before me as I sat on the couch and we bowed our heads and prayed together, he asked God to help him find his "froggie." After our "Amens" I lifted my head and looked across the room. I saw a glint of green that caught my eye. I walked across the room and found the frog wedged between our other couch and the end table. Froggie was added to the list, he "once was lost and now was found."

Sincerely though, it was a beginning, God revealed Himself not only to Jacob but to me. He cared enough about Jake's little heart to help us find it. Not because it was important, but because it mattered to Jake. And Jake matters to God. In the sixteen some years since then, we've prayed for many lost things. Just last year we went over to a friend's house and found her keys for her after they had been missing for a day and a half. We drove over and found them literally within minutes. I believe the lesson for me was if I would listen, God would lead.

That's an important lesson, and one God simplified in little things, so that I would have confidence to listen to Him in bigger and much more difficult tasks. I could dismiss the "still small voice" or I could train myself to listen, and learn to respond in faith.

That's how this blog was started. After a very difficult season of not being able to serve in my gifts, I was hurting and frustrated, and crying out before the Lord. It was alone in a hotel room at a women's retreat that I heard Him whisper, "write." Then He spoke to the heart of a trusted friend who knew nothing of what I had thought I'd heard, and praying for me, she felt she heard God encourage her to exhort me to "blog." It was a confirmation, and it was the direction I asked for, because when God said, "write," I asked "write what?" He answered.

Does that sound nuts to you? It shouldn't. The Bible says, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27) The Lord still speaks. He told us to follow Him,and so He leads. The Holy Spirit lives INSIDE of believers! I don't believe He lives there silently. In fact I wonder how often the still small voice goes unnoticed.

I've noticed alot lately how noisy and busy life has become these days. "Still" and "quiet" are words that only describe the dead these days. TV's, iPods, laptops, smart phones- often all at once. Even as I sit here now typing this on my laptop, the TV is on, I keep checking Facebook and Twitter and text messages. I don't fully focus one thing, much less fully focus on Him. I think about how often my husband sit in a restaurant at dinner both fiddling on our phones while we "talk." Facebook, Words With Friends, the "net," all distracting our focus- we barely focus on each other and we're sitting there face to face- how much harder is it to focus on the Lord?

I've been working a lot to still my heart and my mind, taking quiet walks with the Lord, trying to listen. I've stopped taking my phone in my room at night, I don't go and retrieve it in the morning until I have spent time reading the Word. Even still, I find my mind running a thousand directions. I know in my spirit, the Lord is calling me to come, to be still, to listen for His voice. Why? Because he cares about the things that concern me... because He cares about me.

But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself
him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Psalm 4:3-4

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Psalm 46:10-11

Selah is a musical term, it is a rest, a break. I believe it is made in anticipation of what is coming next. Like a gasp of air before submerging under water, it is a gasp for the breath of life before entering fully into Him. Perhaps? Could it be like the whispered beckon. God is our refuge, breathe deep, enter in. And listen for your Shepherd's voice.

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