Monday, September 10, 2007

Deeper Still...

WOW. God is good. WOW. I spent my day Saturday at the Curb Center at Belmont, the satellite location for "Deeper Still...The Event" featuring Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer. The ACTUAL event was at the Sommet Center (GEC) downtown, which sold out last year--that's 20,000 women, y'all! They opened the Curb Center and showed everything on huge screens, and there were another 3,000 women there! It was amazing. I missed Friday night when Priscilla spoke, but I was so blessed by the little bits of time she spoke on Saturday. I hadn't been sure I could go, but my sweet Mama came down Friday night and took my kids to BG...delivered 2 to the Smallings and kept 1. Jared went to a car show Saturday, so I had the day to myself.

I got there Saturday morning unsure if I could even still get a ticket, but when I walked to the ticket counter, the woman put an armband on me and said someone had just dropped off an extra ticket with instructions to give it to the next person who stopped by...and that was me! I sat in an empty seat and soon realized it was one row behind some people from church that I didn't know were coming, so I wasn't even alone (even though I had decided I didn't care if I was).

I sat down and looked at the booklet they gave us at the door about the conference and was struck by something in the "welcome": "God has drawn you here to experience Him. He has been planning this weekend for you for a very long time. He knew you would be here in the exact circumstances you are living with today." WOW.

Saturday started with worship, which I'm sure you can imagine was pretty overwhelming with 3,000 women (I can't imagine the 20,000!). Then Beth Moore spoke. I listened as God spoke through her EXACTLY what I needed (not really what I wanted) to hear, with tears literally streaming down my face for 2 hours. Her whole lesson was on:

1. Moving past our devastation with God [How could He let my baby die!]
2. Returning to whole-hearted obedience [God didn't obey me, so I will obey Him sort of, but hold back that last little bit so He understands how He hurt me.]
3. Having the courage to see the fulfillment of God's promises to us

It was based in II Samuel 6 when Uzzah is struck dead by God for touching the ark of the covenant and David is devastated with God (angry & afraid, II Samuel 6:8-9) because he doesn't understand how or why God would punish him when he had such good intentions (bringing ark to Jerusalem). This is where I've been for the last couple of weeks: devastated with God for taking away what should be such a good, happy, Godly thing--my child. And justifying my self-pity and anger because it wasn't something sinful, but something good that I lost/He took. Nothing can devastate us like God doing something WE don't think He should do. THE ENEMY IS COUNTING ON ME NEVER GETTING OVER IT!

Jesus himself, God in the flesh, even experienced devastation. He prayed in Matt 26: 39, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." But He, unlike me, fully obeyed God (and did NOT sin) and gave His precious life to save all of humanity, even me. God's plan for our lives, our work, His blessing is on the other side of the devastation, which we can only find when we are FULLY OBEDIENT to Him, as Jesus was.

David looked back and realized (I Chron 15:12-14) that they had not carried the ark properly in the first place. In I Chron 15:15 he determines they will now do it the right way, on poles carried on the shoulders of the Levites. There's no "new way" to do things, to obey God and do His will. The poles we carry as His priesthood are the Word and prayer. That IS the "easy button". There's no substitute, no shortcut.

*Let me be clear, as Beth was, that I'm not saying all bad things are the result of specific sin (except in the sense that because sin is in the world, death is in the world) AND that losses mean grief. Grief is important and ongoing in my life, as it should be. It is a part of our human-ness that will not be gone until He calls us home (Rev 21:4). But this devastation where we forever hold onto our anger/hurt/fear toward God, demanding that He, the Creator--whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9)--explain everything to us, the created, and refusing to fully trust or obey Him again, is a sin of disobedience.

In II Samuel 7, AFTER the devastation, AFTER the return to obedience, AFTER God makes promises to him, David says in verse 28: "O Sovereign LORD, You are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant." He IS trustworthy.

I'm not sure the last time I could say (if ever), "God gave me this verse", but as I reflected on this lesson, I felt so stunned as I came across this verse, which SO completely captures this weekend for me:

"You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever."
--Psalm 30:11-12

My grief is not gone. I will always be homesick for Ruby and for the rest God has promised. I will never completely understand how or why she could not live here with our family. That will never seem right. But since God has given me this day and it's blessings, I will NOT throw them back in His face because He won't tell me why. I will do my best to quit throwing this baby fit (even if it's just in a far-removed corner of my heart that I think maybe He won't notice!) and rejoice in whatever He has for me and my family. I will accept this peace--yes, even JOY!--He has lavished on me this weekend, even though I don't understand how it is possible.

"It is time to give You honor,
This is the day to give You all the praise that You deserve.
Yes, it's time to give You honor,
This is the day to give You all the praise that You deserve.
A holy King, of everything, inhabit the praises of Your people,
A holy King, of everything, inhabit the praises of Your people.
Have we waited far too long now to surrender?
Forgive us, O God, the years we failed to seek Your face.
O LORD, Your mercy turns us into grateful people.
We can't seem to find the words,
so take our lives that they might be enough
to tell You how grateful, Lord, we are grateful!"
"A Grateful People" --Watermark

I may fall on my face tomorrow, but that is my resolution for TODAY!

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

My precious daughter...I am so thankful that you had this experience. I didn't know that this was what I was praying for, but I knew God would give you something really good, and it seems that He ended your sad week in an amazing way.

I love you!