Thar's snow on them thar moutains! (Lake Tahoe in July)
Have you ever thought about the pace and nature of this journey we are on with God?
The majority of the time I feel like the progress of my journey is excruciatingly slow, if there is any progress at all!
I was reading this morning, (in a Beth Moore devotional: PAUL 90 Days on His Journey of Faith) about Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus and God using Ananias to lay hands on Paul so his sight would be restored. (Acts Chapter 9).
Beth asked how we felt about our need of constant repentance and refinement. I have to admit, it discourages me on one hand and makes be so grateful for God's mercy, grace and patience on the other.
I am so thankful that He has not given up on me. And I realized that this journey of being renewed (Col 3:8-10), though most times long and slow does occasionally have a mountaintop experience.
Most of my experience is an exasperatingly (to me) slow, two-steps forward, one-step back, stumble-trip kind of journey. I get so mad and discouraged with myself, and shamefaced that I yet again need to repent over the same ol' thing. It is like moving a mountain of sand one grain at a time on a windy day. One doubts that any REAL progress is being made.
Then, occasionally, there are these peak experiences. I will admit, until today, I have looked at most of those peak experiences as more of a shot in the arm, cheerleading, rally my spirit type event, just a feeling, rather then a roadblock-busting, moving-forward experience. Now, looking back, I can see some mountaintop experiences that did step me forward.
My most recent one was the retreat I went to in Lake Tahoe. I truly did come back different. Not just the after-glow from a spiritual high, but changed inside, in a personal way. I believe life-steps orchestrated by God preceeding that weekend, unbeknownst to me, made me ripe for the work God wanted to do in my heart.
He set me free, truly, from the shame-box I lived in and carried around with me. (Maybe one day I will share how...). His true feelings about me came through. (He loves me so much that it makes Him chuckle when He sees me.) And He invited me into His master plan, to lay down my burden of trying to fix everything, and to see the plans he has for each of my children, my parents and for me (Jer 29;11) and to trust that He has it all under control. (Prov 3;5,6). That He wants me to enter into his tent (his banner over me is love). His presence in my life is what it is about. In his presence all else falls into place. "earthly things don't matter, they begin to shatter"...
I am so grateful that my journey DOES include some of those moutaintop experiences that are more than a feeling, but a real work. Paul on the road to Damascus had a real mountaintop experience that changed Him forever. He also walked daily the long slow road of refining. (Romans 7:19-25). Like Paul, I was not seeking a mountain-top experience, God knew what was needed at that time.
As I am now walking out my life, no longer on the mountain, but changed....I realize I have to keep my eyes on Jesus, and press on!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1-2
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Phil 3:12
O God, I have tasted Your goodness,
and it has both satisfied me
and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God,
I want to want You;
I long to be filled with longing;
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Your glory, I pray,
so I may know You indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me…
Give me grace to rise
and follow You up from this misty lowland
where I have wandered so long.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Some would gather money Along the path of life Some would gather roses, And rest from worldly strife. But I would gather children From among the thorns of sin, I would seek an ebony curl, And a wide and toothless grin. For money cannot enter In that land of endless day ,And roses that are gathered Soon will wilt along the way. But oh, the laughing children ,As I cross the sunset sea, And the gates swing wide to heaven ,I can take them in with me! ~Author Unknown~
“God wins us, not by shouting, beating us up, or starving us into submission, but by asking for an invitation to enter.
We are loved into surrender. The more we accept that he operates out of love for us, the more we will entrust ourselves to him.
Fénelon expresses this truth beautifully: "God is not a spy looking to surprise you. He is not an enemy lurking in the shadows to hurt you. God is your Father who loves you, and wants to help you if you will but trust in His goodness."