Hi, Ladies. I'm so . . . what's the word? Inspired. That's it. I'm inspired by your responses to the last post on obedience, so much so that I'm going to make a confession before THIS post is through.
But first, our prayers for --
IRELAND, who longs for God's guidance.
ALEXANDRIA, who is under stress at a theater convention and competition.
And welcome, ALEXANDRIA! Sounds like you arrived just in time. We're jazzed that you're here and any of us will be glad to answer any questions you might have.
RESPONSES TO OUR LAST POST: There weren't a LOT of comments, but those of you who did post had some deep, honest things to say. (And by the way, anyone who still wants to comment on that post, you still can, any time.) All of you seemed to come to the same conclusion: we experience things we just KNOW are God's doing, but then we immediately step into what IRELAND calls that "puddle of doubt." (I LOVE that!) What if I'm making something out of nothing? Is this just in my head? Is it just a coincidence? Am I just groping for something that isn't there? Why doesn't God makes things more clear? Why can't I feel the Presence? We get the signs 'n wonders and we STILL doubt!
MY RESPONSE TO YOUR RESPONSE!
I won't lie to you -- it really is hard to be sure that what seems like a God-thing really is. What's easy is to give it the benefit of the doubt. Why WOULDN'T that be God? What does it hurt to believe God's talking to you through that sign or wonder? Wouldn't it be better to go with it and maybe feel a little foolish than not go with it and possibly lose out completely? If it were totally clear, where would the faith and trust come in? Does it really matter if you totally understand it? My experience (and I've had lots of it!) has shown me that you never go wrong when you believe something you think might be God really is God. I think that will become clearer in today's session . . .
OBEDIENCE SESSION #3
READ: John 5:1-9 Those of you who have been with me a while have probably heard my interpretation of this passage before, but it bears repeating. We have this guy who has been trying for 38 YEARS to get into the healing pool at Beth-zatha. Jesus of course knows his situation (POINT #1) and says to him, "Look, do you WANT to get well?" (POINT #2) The guy doesn't actually answer Jesus; he just starts whining about how nobody will help him and everybody else gets in front of him. (POINT #3) Can't you just feel Jesus getting impatient with that? I imagine him thinking, "Oh, for Pete's sake -- enough with the whining like a little girl, already." To me his voice is like, "Oh, for heaven sake, man, get up, take your mat, and start walking." (POINT #4) The minute the guy obeys and starts moving forward, he's totally healed. (POINT #5)
IMAGINE AND PONDER: First PONDER: a situation you're in where you've been whining because something isn't happening and making excuses for why it isn't happening, because maybe you're actually afraid for it TO happen. IMAGINE: that Jesus already knows all about that situation, probably even more than you do. (POINT 2) IMAGINE: Jesus asking you if you'd like for this thing to happen, (POINT 1) and IMAGINE yourself going into whine mode about it. (POINT 3) IMAGINE: the look on Jesus' face as he listens to you go on and on (and on) and the tone of his voice as he tells you how to move forward on this thing. (POINT 4) IMAGINE: yourself taking one small step in that direction and being healed as a person (POINT 5)
PRAY: Draw or describe yourself taking that first step. As you do, talk to God specifically about just that step and no further. Ask for guidance or courage or strength -- whatever you'll need to go just that far.
NUDGE TO ACTION: Do you know what that baby step might be? Then take it. Try it. Obey.
SHARE: Let's do something a little different. If you want to tell us about this experience, write your comment the way you heard that baby step being spoken to you. For example: "Susan, I know your feelings were hurt, but just write her an email and say you're ready to talk." Let's see what happens when we hear that voice being spoken to all of us.
I promised you a confession. Here it is:
I've been doing a LOT of whining this week because I'm waiting for the go-ahead to start a new book project that I really, really (and did I mention really?) want to do. The date I was supposed to know has passed and the more days go by the more I whine. How long does it take to drop someone an email? This author over here didn't have to wait that long. I don't want to nag people and be all high-maintenance. Now I have to wait the whole WEEKEND?! Finally I got sick of hearing myself (and I was running out of cheese to go with that whine), so I got quiet and said to God, "What am I supposed to do? I need to plan out my year here." I didn't get an answer right away, but a few hours later, in a conversation with a friend, she said, about herself, "I am so scattered. I need to just do what's in front of me." I could almost hear God saying, "Did you hear that, Nancy? Do what's in front of you." So I wrote this blog post for you. And right now, that's the most important thing in my world.
I love it when that happens. I'm going to write that down and put it in my Tresure Chest.