The sudden slapping sound of the metal on metal made by the tumblers in the door lock broke the empty silence and her eyes opened.
Covered by blankets and the heavy darkness her breathing goes shallow to listen more intently. Her mind sorts through scenarios, and then if only to satisfy her anxious internal voice and quiet her fears she calls out in a voice just loud enough to be heard...
Is that you?
Practically every married couples lived out this scenario or some version of it and at times our relationship with the Heavenly Father is also this way. We've been together a long time,during which His Holy Spirit has been a counselor and guide. We've walked together,He's carried me, I've walked away, He's been faithful. You'd think we'd be more discerning of His "moving" by now but somehow at times we still find ourselves feeling like the woman under the blanket. Seeking confirmation of what we think we know, anxious and fearful of the unknown, and that can be dangerous because many times we only see what we want to. Our spiritual eyes can easily become accustomed to an environment of darkness!
I know that there are definitely times when I find myself asking...
Is that You?
I find biblical context for my confusion In Luke's Gospel chapter 7:19-23.
What John was experiencing was definitely not what he or any of the other apostles had expected to occur. At this point John was perhaps facing death, so I can understand how difficult it must've been for him to trust who he thought Jesus was.
I don't make very many life or death choices but given what was at stake here I can totally understand how he might've wondered if he'd been mistaken somehow.
He needed to ask Christ in as direct a way as possible exactly who He was. He chose to send two of his friends to ask Jesus because he was imprisoned. Can you imagine that? Telling your friends and most likely people who you've taught about Jesus to go and ask Jesus this most basic question! As awkward as that prospect must've seemed to him, I believe his biggest challenge was to first face his own fears.
Fear of being wrong, of not seeing things as they really were and of exposing his own humanity to his friends. He had to first understand that thinking you know something is the greatest obstacle to learning anything!
That's certainly a mindset I can relate to.
Recently I've had occasion to reevaluate some of my own beliefs. Take abortion for example...I just don't think that denying that choice to a woman is very much of an expression of love which is what Christian people are called to do and be in this world. I understand that it's about the unborn child but it's still the woman's real estate that it has to be conveyed through...
Our Father hates all sin, as should we, but He gave Adam a choice because
It's not love...it's just the law!
and while God's word certainly carries that authority He's too much of a loving Father to treat us like programmable robots, no, He gave Adam a choice!
What I'm saying is "Who are we to insert our authority over the lives and choices of another when God Himself who is love, chose to do otherwise"
Do I hate abortion? YES! but standing outside an abortion clinic harassing people who're already going through perhaps one of the most difficult times of their life doesn't seem all that loving to me...
We're not called to be anyone's judge or to be argumentative like an attorney...we're just supposed to be witnesses of the difference His love has made in our lives! To be ever-ready to give an answer when asked about the source of our hope!
I see the people outside the clinic with the huge and unspeakably gruesome pictures of aborted babies on display. I look into their accusing self righteous faces as I walk by and then stop for a moment and ask...
Is that You?
I know it's me...
Listening to the lyrics of a song recently I was struck by their accurate reflection of my own life!
Jackson Browne "The Pretender"
I'll admit that sometimes I feel that way. I'm certainly not as committed to living my life for the Lord as some are! And I do feel somewhat frustrated and discouraged over the status of my own spiritual life! It's been quite a challenge to me that's with me to this day! At some point, who knows when...I'd like to find my own state of grace where I can truly accept the full measure of forgiveness that Jesus was crucified to secure for me!
Take this guy for example...
I met him one day while I was taking a break from driving. He told me drives this bus up and down the west coast doing his ministry which he claimed was based on Seventh Day Adventist teachings...
He told me that Christ had established his true church in 1866 which had me wondering what the second chapter of Acts was all about!
My issues with this particular variety of religion are numerous but in a nutshell, well...it's a religion! A man made set of rules that when followed entitle you to go to heaven. Based on the belief that Christians are still under the law instead of the "new and better covenant" spoke of in Hebrews 8:6.
Is that You?
If what your looking for is a perfect representation of God the Father in Christians or the institutions they establish you'll never find it! If you think otherwise I believe that's an indication of how you see yourself, Perfect!
I know I've found it to be true in my own circumstances...
Can you see the problem?
We're all created in Gods image but our sin shattered it into shards and fragments that show a perverse reflection. There are times when man does reflect enough of Him,or is able to die to his self to such an extent that what we see seems like perfection...
We call that "art"
In the ninth verse, thirty eighth chapter of Marks gospel,John brings to Jesus' attention certain other practitioners they'd observed who were engaged in a deliverance ministry of sorts. The idea being to get His approval to "forbade" them from it. My sense is that based on His reply Jesus wisely observes that "if our policy is to shut down everyone who doesn't have it all together who'll be left?" And tells John to basically leave them alone!
None of us have got it all right...
No need to ask, "Is that you"!
We are the woman,
we're also the bride.
We are the pretenders,
prevented by pride.
From seeing the truth,
Through our fractured eyes.
We fear what could save us,
And instead cling to lies!