"We try to run from God and drown our miseries in empty pleasures or drink or work or social life but as surely as we think we have escaped, as surely as we think we have run far enough, God touches our sleeve with his love saying My child, my name and my nature are love and I must act according to what I am. When you tire of all your running and your wandering and your heartbreak, I'll be there to draw you to myself again."
That is the story of the Bible isn't it? At Bethlehem God entered the slave market where the whole human race was putting itself up for auction, prostituting itself and its humanity to a cheapened life. But on the cross the Lord Jesus paid the price, the full price for our freedom, and bought us back. This is the story of God's love and God's heart -- his loving desire to make of his people the full persons he intended them to be. (from pbc.org)
One of the wonderful aspects of following God is the realization that your existence matters. So many people don't feel (or realize) that - and that's witnessed by the huge success of books like The Purpose Driven Life and Your Best Life Now. People are searching for significance and meaning. Is there anything that distinguishes me from the person standing next to me in the elevator? Will my passing leave a hole - did my life leave a mark? Do I matter?
When one walks with God over years - he can look back and see the threads that God has woven - threads of realization and purpose that were being blended through life experiences. During the weaving the pattern is generally indistinguisable - but when looking back the design is so distinct and brilliant. God introduces a new understanding or depth to us. This brings a particular colored thread to our pattern. Then he adds a seemingly unrelated concept later (a new color) and then another. Years and experiences pass and one day we look back over the weaving of our life and see that those colors that were so different on the shuttles are now woven tightly into the pattern that is distinctly the intimate relationship between God and each of us - our purpose for being. God's good pleasure.
That is how the realization for this life long search for submission began. Looking back over my life, I was able to see a design in the unrelated threads that God had added to my life-tapestry over the past 30 years. Experiences and understandings that seemed totally unrelated to me at the time were now an amazing picture of God and his relationship with me. His teaching me.
I am sharing a personal experience with God here - but I do so with trepidation. People are always sharing dreams, experiences and revelations. I don't believe that is why God teaches us: in order that we go out and share what we heard or learned or saw. No, I believe God teaches us so that we become a person through the experience that He can then use to do His will. The experience was for us - the result of the experience - the person we become - is for others.
The resulting realization gave me a view of the multi-colored pathway to my present understanding of submission.
I've always loved contemplating on the relationship God shared with Moses. I believe one reason God shared so much with Moses is that Moses wanted God. He cared for Him - he liked Him. He talked to God as he would a friend. He even counseled/corrected God. Rather than being offended and raining down holy fire - God loved him - and listened. Moses wanted even more of God. (This was placed in opposition to the Israelites who said "That's OK Moses - we don't need to meet God on the mountain. You just head on up there yourself and come back and tell us. We'll do whatever you tell us to do." They certainly didn't want God.)
So, Moses said, "God? I want more. Can you show me yourself? Can I see Your Glory?" and God answered (quoted in Exodus 33:18-23)
"I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my
name (for the sake of His name)... my name 'The LORD.' . . . Then the LORD said,
"There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes
by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I
have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face
must not be seen."
So much to think about in that experience. I mean - can you even imagine? One, Moses wanted more of God - but in the phyiscal - couldn't handle it. God didn't say "you can't take Me" - He honored Moses' desire by giving him what he could take - but even THEN he had to cover Moses with his Hand. (one side note - I read a book that gave a very different Hebrew meaning to "you will see my back" and one that really rings true with me. Rather than God's physical "back" - that phrase means "where I have been." Wow. According to that translation, Moses couldn't take the presence (present) of God - but he could take where God had been as he passed Moses in the cleft - God in the past. Cogitate on that a bit.)
Ok, Moses took up more than I was planning. :) I'll get to how this led to Hosea next time.