Thursday, December 14, 2006

Matchless grace

I remember vividly the day I told my current church family that I was seeking the Holy Spirit.

Somewhere in the chorus of all the praying, my pastor asked me to raise my hands. Immediately a faithful and kind woman supported me by holding up one of my hands.

For me, those very actions were like the ripple effect of a tiny pebble on a pond.

Immediately I was panicked. I can't tell you the specifics of why, but I've rarely been able to raise my hands like that. If you ever read or hear that I died during a bank robbery it's probably because I couldn't make myself "stick 'em up". If you see me with my hands raised at church, it's only because of the Spirit enabling me.

In this situation I felt imprisoned, by a very kind and quiet lady who had no idea that my sudden intense emotions were anything but the normal actions of someone seeking the Holy Spirit.

After she had released my hand I tried desperately to pull myself together. I can understand rational problems, but I have very little tolerance for irrational problems in my life. Freaking out because someones holding your hand up is definitely in the irrational category.

With my arm finally freed I wrapped my arms around myself as a flood of unwanted emotions seemed to run away with me. As I tried to wait them out an almost overwhelming chorus of thoughts began colliding in my head. 'I was worthless', 'my church family didn't want me there', 'I cause trouble everywhere I go it's only a matter of time before I cause trouble here' and a thousand different reasons why I would never be filled with the Spirit and why I shouldn't have told my church family that I was seeking it and how they'd all be disappointed. While everyone else was praying I'd receive the Holy Spirit, I was begging God to please just make this horrible cadence of thoughts stop. It's hard to describe, but I literally could not think another thought but those and the mad scramble of those horrible thoughts literally made me walk out of the building.

I can only imagine what they were thinking as the person they're praying for just walks out. I don't even know what I would be thinking if someone I was praying for did that. It's definitely not a shining moment in my life and this will be one of the few posts that I might not end up having the courage to post.

In case you're wondering, I was only gone about 5 minutes and I did come back.

With all that said, feel free to join me as I take a long deep breath, exhale slowly and totally shift my focus.

I was writing to a friend yesterday about the grace of God in my life. God's grace in my life; His amazing grace that has covered my past, my present, and leads me into a grace-filled future is well worth meditating on. Too often I stop meditating and simply forget. And when I forget it's harder and harder to fight when my enemy challenges my very right to exist.

Nothing has any value, whether silver, gold, jewels, computers, ipods, mp3 players, Xboxes or sports cars. Nothing. Except to the person that knows how to use it. Someone that has a plan for it. At the hands of this world I have no value. I will be used as nothing less or more than a worker bee for all the days that I'm able. Then, more than likely, I will live off a holed away pocket of money until finally I die and someone sticks me in the ground.

Solomon had it right when he adamantly declared all things to be vanity.

But, there is a Father that purchased me by sending His Son, a part of the God-head, to be brutally beaten and murdered; a Friend that at the beginning of the world made provisions so that I might be able to live in Him, know Him, that I might know life and know it more abundantly; and a Saviour that purchased my life at such a high cost because He knew exactly how He planned to use it. Under the hand of that powerful and loving a King my life has a value that is beyond my comprehension. He can and does draw anyone He pleases, and He chose to draw me.

The King of the universe chose me.

I don't understand how I can forget such a thing. In a marriage it seems like there should be a very special feeling of knowing that your spouse has chosen you, they looked at you and decided they wanted to spend the rest of their life with you. God chose me; He chose me. He has a plan for my life. And just like it was promised in Jeremiah, He's given me a hope and a future.

I know the cure for my 'less than shining moments'. I just tend to remember the cure after I've gone through the torment of fear and doubt. What must God think as He offers me royal robes and I stubbornly don my rags? How many times will He see an empty place at His feasting table while I gather crumbs? There is so much He's offered me that I'm just simply blind to or don't comprehend how to reach out and take it. It seems as though the simpler the answer is, the harder it is for me to grasp. Accepting God's gifts never needs to be difficult.

He's offered me so much.
I have so much to be grateful for.
I'm so very grateful, that there is One that by seeing value in me gave me value.
Father, Friend, Savior, help me live up to Your estimation of me.

What other desire should any creation have, but to live up to the expectations of the Creator?

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