Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Icing on the cake

Last night I wrote about being convicted for my Martha, work-based ways. Right after that post I went to bed. As you know, my right-before-bed devotional is A Pillar By Day by Jon Courson. I know I shouldn't be surprised by this. Especially since He does this all the time. But I had to smile and marvel once again at the goodness of God.

I was very teary and tender-hearted when I climbed into bed. I picked up my book and it was like the Lord saying, "I know and it's okay. We're okay, don't worry."

Again, a paraphrase wouldn't do it justice. Here is Jon's A Pillar By Day entry for July 22:

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not. Exodus 30:17-20

The laver wherein the priest were to wash was to be made of brass. Throughout Scripture, brass is the metal of judgment. Where did the children of Israel get the brass to make the laver? Exodus 38 tells the story. When construction of the tabernacle actually began, the women donated the brass looking glasses they had been given in Egypt. I find this more than coincidental because James likens the Word to a mirror (1:23-25). And therein lies the problem. You see, when we open the Word, we see our reflection, and it's not as it should be. We see our failures and flaws, our sins and shortcomings. And although we understand that the Word brings benefits to those who study it, sometimes we become exhausted by trying to live up to its standards.

But wait, the brass laver was filled with water. Without water, all one would see was the reflection of his flaws and failures, but without a way to rid himself of them. But the addition of water made the laver refreshing and renewing. "All you who thirst, come to Me, " Jesus said, "and out of your innermost being shall gush forth torrents of living water" (see John 7:37-38).

I was at a point some years ago when I was reading through the Gospels as I love to do. But I was weary. I came to the portion where Jesus touched a leper and the leper was cleansed. And I heard myself saying, "I need to be helping people physically just like Jesus did."

Then I turned the page and saw how Jesus touched the ears and tongue of a man unable to hear and speak. And I found myself thinking, "I need to find some dumb guys and help them just like Jesus did."

Then I turned the page and read how Jesus had compassion on the multitudes and fed 5,000 hungry men. And I said ,"That's the way it ought to be. I need to get involved in World Vision or Compassion International and help feed hungry people."

Then I saw Jesus blessing kids and thought, " I need to work with kids."

Then I saw how Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and was reminded of those I knew whose marriages were on the rocks, whose lives were in turmoil, and I decided I should do what I could to see those storms stilled.

Then I read how Jesus defended the woman caught in adultery, and felt that I should stand up for those who are socially or politically oppressed.

And at the end, I was exhausted. Finally, I said, "I just can't read another chapter. I can't do it. Jesus, I am impressed with You. I see the rightness of what You do. But I can't do all the things You did."

And it was at that moment that the Lord whispered in my heart, "Exactly. You have yourself in the wrong position. I am the One who touches the leper. I am the One who blesses the children. I am the One who feeds the hungry. I am the One who makes the dumb to speak. I am the One who stands up for the woman. I am the One who calms the storms. It's not you. It's Me."

"I get it," I said. "You are the Christ. I'm not. That makes me the leper. I am being eaten away everyday by my sin and carnality. Yet every day You come my way and touch and restore my life. I am the dumb guy. I say things I shouldn't say. I put my foot in my mouth. Yet You're there to forgive me and straighten me out. I am the deaf man. But You never give up on me. You open my ears, You renew my thoughts. I am the little child who needs a touch from You. I'm the hungry one, and only You can meet the need within me. I'm the one caught in adultery, and You're there to forgive me. I'm the one caught in the storm, and You're the One who walks out to rescue me. I have been reading my Bible all wrong. No wonder I have been so weary, so reluctant to keep reading. I have placed myself in the wrong role. You are the Christ; I'm the leper. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your patience. Where would I be without You?"

And when the Lord adjusted my thinking, Scripture reading became a total joy once again.

1 comment:

Julie B said...

I just read that same passage in my commentary today at the gym as I follow a trail for rocks and water. This was complete happenstance today but it blessed me immensely as well.

Looking for something??