Monday, January 2, 2012

Heart Surgery

Submission, worship and prayer.

These are the three areas I feel (know) I need work. So I am carefully contemplating asking for it.

It feels like a dangerous prayer. And if I am honest, I've already prayed it, because in the moment of revelation where God is showing me that's what I need, I actually want it. But when the process is happening, I find myself less certain that it's what I want. As soon as the discomfort is there, I'm ready to bail.

It's only about 60 hours or so since I prayed it with confidence. And although the Lord has already shown me He was listening, I find myself wanting to take it back.

It's sort of like having heard the diagnosis from the doctor. He's said, "your heart is sick, and the only answer is surgery." The problem is, I don't feel "sick." At least not all the time. If I'm resting, and not trying to exert myself (spiritually) I don't notice the weakness in my heart. If i sit back and relax, I feel fine, in fact, that is if I willingly ignore the need to get off the "couch" to live the abundant life God has called me to.

But the truth is, the diagnosis isn't in what I feel, it's in what the Physician sees. He knows the signs, He knows the dangers, and He is a good doctor, and so if He says I need "surgery," He's right. And because even getting to His examination room required enough heart effort to feel the weakness and sickness inside, I agree with his diagnosis, and I sign up for his treatment plan.

So I show up for surgery. Showing up doesn't require a lot of effort, and as I wait to be wheeled into the "operating room," I find myself leaning back, comfortable, and not feeling the stress or strain of my weak heart at all. Even as I am wheeled into the operating room, I'm feeling pretty good.

As I lay waiting, I find myself thinking maybe I don't need surgery after all. I mean the fact is, the surgery is likely to be painful, the recovery a slow and even difficult process. Maybe I'd rather just live with the weak heart. It's not killing me today, so maybe I'd rather just wait, and make the best of my weakened condition. And that's why I want to climb off the operating table, run out of the operating room and never look back.

I am tired of being torn between living with this weakened heart and suffering the process of God fixing it.

It's been a long dang season. I thought I was finally seeing a season of change up ahead, and now I feel like what I thought was going to be different isn't going to be different at all. At least not unless I finally get up on that operating table and let God do the work He needs to do.

There's that first part of that list, submit. And the situation comes full circle.

I am tired of loss. I am tired of loneliness. I am tired of feeling like an outsider. I am tired of feeling stuck. But I am terrified of the process of change. But I am even more terrified of things never changing.

I want to know every detail of the surgery. I want my Surgeon to tell me exactly what He's going to do. I want Him to tell me all the what's and the why's. I want to know how and I want to know how long, but He's not talking. And I know why- it's the one thing I am certain about.

It's not for me to know, because I'm not the Physician, and I'm not in charge of the surgery. Just as I can't fully know what the problem with my heart is, neither can I know or understand what is required to fix it. And I need to just trust the One who does.

Honestly, I wish it was my physical heart that needed fixing. There would probably be clearer answers about the healing process then. But no, it's not that simple.

I need to just face the diagnosis, and let the Doctor do His job (submit); I need to focus on the One who knows what He's doing and give Him the honor and respect to trust Him to be who He is, and accomplish what He can (worship); and I need to just ask Him to do the work that needs to be done, and to help me through the healing process, whatever it may require (prayer).

I've never felt so alone, but that's the thing about surgery, there isn't anyone there who can hold your hand. Laying alone on the operating table is a lonely and scary place. But what's the risk if I don't allow the surgery to be done? That needs to be the scariest question of all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

100 Verses Week 17

Happy New Year!

One of the best parts of 2011 for me was starting the 100 Verse Challenge, and I'm excited to continue it here in 2012. Welcome to those of you who are continuing with me, and welcome to those of you who are just going to begin. Hiding the Word of God in our hearts is one of the most important things we can do as Christ followers. There is no better way to "follow Christ" than to know which way He is going, and being in the Word (remember from one our first verses Jesus is the Word) is our best bet.

Last week during our worship service, I could hear the Lord speaking quietly to my spirit about my need to grow in the area of worship. When it comes to Sunday morning worship, attention is a battle for me. I am easily distracted, and I struggle to focus on the Lord. My own voice and "how I sound" is often one of the worst culprits of distraction. I am chewing on the reality that it probably stretches beyond my singing where my own voice often stumbles me. I'm heading into 2012 with a heart to grow in the area of worship.

So I am excited that this week's memory verse is about... (drumroll please)... worship!

I heard a teaching once about worship where the speaker shared that worship is the one thing we do n this life that we will continue in eternity. There won't be prayer, there won't be witnessing, there won't be reading the Word (in their supposition) but there will be worship, and lots of it. In eternity, worship will absolutely be a lifestyle.

In his commentary about this week's verse, Robert J.Morgan, shares the following in our text 100 Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart about worship and this week's verse:

"Worship is the gyroscope of the soul. A person without personal patterns of worship is like a ship or an airplane without any stabilization or direction. When we worship, we our aligning our minds to God's truth, our imaginations to God's glory, our emotions to God's stability, and our souls to God's songs. When we worship, we are approaching a glorious throne, joining an eternal chorus, praising a triune God, and glorifying a worthy Lord..."

Morgan highly recommends the extended text of Revelation 4 & 5 as the "primary text" on the subject of worship. This week we will be meditating and memorizing the one verse from the passage. Morgan recommends as you do so, think of it as a "summary of the whole scene around the throne" of God.

Here's this week's verse:

Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.
Revelation 4:11