Thursday, March 11, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:51 PM | 1 comment

Becoming Eternally Grateful

In my Sunday Bible Study class, we have been working our way through the men and women of Hebrews 11 and digging into the walk of faith. It's been a doozey and we are only on Moses. On Thursdays, we have Koinonia (home teams) and we continue the discussion from Sunday's lesson. This last Sunday we looked at Moses' entrance back into Egypt as he requested of Pharaoh that the Israelites be allowed to leave to go worship. Pharaoh's response...NO you lazy Israelites can't leave. In fact, now I'm gonna make you work harder.

The Israelites of course had a problem with this result and basically told Moses that he had sinned by trying to get their freedom. Moses was obedient and as a result he was met with anger and oppression. He turned to God and said, "What are you doing? Don't you care about your people?"

But the Lord had already told Moses it would go this way. He told Moses that Pharaoh would not be persuaded until all the signs happened. Moses was so quick to forget the promise of trouble, and the Israelites would rather have maintained their known state of slavery, albeit horrible, than to go through the painful process of being made free.

So tonight at Koinonia, we talked about how we do the same thing. Even though we theologically believe that God does what He wants and obedience doesn't mean comfort, we expect obedience to equal an easy life or at least an expected result. We discussed why that is... our obsession with blessings rather than the blesser; our skewed lens looking for blessings in this life rather eternal blessings; our subconscious deal-making with God. We shared stories from our own lives and even shared a story of a family that just this week lost their beautiful 2 year old little girl to cancer after a horrific couple of months. God is good but so often we hurt while and sometimes because we are walking with Him.

As people were sharing, stories were sounding similar. I was obedient to move here, to pursue this job, to take on this task, and I was met with loneliness, disappointment, closed doors, unmet desires. Their stories echoed my own, and I couldn't help but think of all the things I thought the Lord would do as I followed Him that just have not come about. I thought of all the ways he could have blessed me but chose not to, all the things He has kept from me. Those hurt. They aren't bad or wrong desires. In fact, they all have to do with serving Him. So I don't get why He is keeping me from them. BUT, I also began to think of all He HAS blessed me with. If I had gotten a job I wanted, I would not know my best friend now. If I was married, I would not be in Summit ministries or Paradigm. I would not be recording an album. I would not have even written a lot of these songs. I may have written different ones, but these songs have purpose.

A lot of the problem is that we have this checklist of blessings that we want and God gives us other blessings instead but we so often miss them. We get so focused on not receiving the blessing we wanted from our obedience that we think there is NO blessing in it. It is just hard and apparently was only meant, "once again", for my refinement and to test me. And as I was sharing these thoughts, this popped out of my mouth, "I have pointy hands instead of open hands." I explained that what I meant by that (although it was a comment that surprised even me) was that I am like a little kid pointing to what she wants instead of just having open hands to receive what is given. "I want that and I want that and give me that". When a child is so focused on wanting a particular toy, and is instead given a different toy, she throws a fit and cannot even appreciate the toy she was given. All she can see is that she didn't get what she wanted so she might as well not have gotten anything. Like this little boy. He's surrounded by gifts picked out just for him...big ones even. But all he can see is that he isn't getting whatever it is he wants.

That's how I behave so often. 'Lord, I want to get married... singleness with time in my schedule and amazing friends?! That is not what i asked for!!!!!!! You never do anything for me!!!!!" That may be a little exaggerated, except it's not really. I may not scream and thrash about because I didn't get my way, but I don't thank the Lord for blessing me, I cry and tell him about how badly it hurts and how I don't understand. And those things are true. It does hurt and I don't understand, and it's ok to talk with the Lord about that, but I DO love my friends and would not want to relive this life and skip this part. I love that being sent back to Houston, the last place I wanted to be, gave me Paradigm and Dean-na and Nika and Amy. That taking a job for the sake of needing a job has taught me how to have a job and to be an adult. I am thankful that I have time and people around me to help me record an album. And I am thankful that the Lord is still teaching me and using me.

It's about and eternal perspective. And it's about having open hands instead of pointy ones. I want to be the type of woman that, instead of pointing out to God everything I THINK He should give me, stands before Him with open hands gratefully receiving whatever HE WANTS to give me. I want, with correct perspective, to be thankful....I want to be "ETERNALLY GRATEFUL".


Regina said...

Your analogy about pointy hands versus open hands was great. Thanks for sharing it tonight.