Sep 28, 2006

the poverty gospel - pt. 3

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the se
a, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalms 1139:1-14)
"God has searched me and knows me."

Doesn’t this give a whole new spin to prayer and worship, let alone how we view life? Perhaps we should lean into what he knows about us instead of telling him what we think he needs to learn about our wants and needs. It's like when we begin to pray a verbalized prayer: “I wanted to let you know, God, that… oh... you already know, right… um… so what do YOU want to say?”

"God has searched me and knows me."

This also means that when we try to argue with God about how we were made we miss out on the fact that he is most interested in our inmost being and not our trophies or bodies. To him, the outside is amazing but the inside is most amazing. Ironically, we seem to spend a lot of time on the externals:

“God, have you noticed that one of my nostrils is a bit bigger than the other? What's up with that?"

"Almighty Creator of the Universe... what do you think of my new tricep?"

"Lord, my ears aren’t balanced and when I wear glasses they sort of ride on an angle. Can you do something about that?”

"God has searched me and knows me."

You are you... not who you may or may not pretend to be. You are a unique personality with a certain level of this and that and have a way of seeing life that is different than any other person on earth. And God says “I fashioned your inner person… when things convict you in a righteous kind of way, that’s my fingerprint.”

"God has searched me and knows me."

Our greatest good deeds are great and good, but they are not the only things he sees. We cannot hide who we are from him, from our favorite secret indulgences to the negative things we wish upon other people. Every insecurity is seen by the One who securely holds the universe together; every fear is known by the Way, the Truth, and the Life who sets us free from such wanderings; every smudge on our record is cleaned by the Redeemer who washes us as white as snow.

"God has searched me and knows me."

And the “you” that God made is so important that he designed you to go on into eternity. You are fearfully and wonderfully made… or “divinely full of awe and wonder.” Unfortunately, we start out in life as spiritually homeless people who have but a faint memory of who we really are. We try to manufacture identities for ourselves in religion, achievement, human family, and even pain… but all along we know that identity issue hasn’t been settled. One day we realize we are related to Someone who lives alongside us in the streets but actually resides in a much nicer neighborhood that we were meant to live in, too. In order to satisfy the various debts we’ve incurred along the way, he assumed our identity and took care of the deficit in red. Three days later he revealed his true identity so that we might know ours – perhaps even to freely follow him.

"God has searched me and knows me."

Any blessing we experience is ours only when it enters our life through the hand of God himself. We cannot manipulate it by our good works, for even they in themselves are like dirty rags we cast before the Holy One. There isn’t one magical action that we have to do in order to release a flood of worldy blessings either, evidenced by Scripture as well as the many in this world who do overt evil are still considered prosperous. Occasionally God will directly reward our choices just as he may sometimes directly discipline us. Ultimately, it's his call... which is perhaps where he got the title "God" from.

"God has searched me and knows me."

Consider this anonymous thought, thought to be written by an unknown confederate soldier:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men, most richly blessed.

1 comment:

Jim Martin said...

A very good post! Thanks...