Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Seekers talk

Isaiah 55: 1-9
1 All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!
2 Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.
3 Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.
4 As I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of nations,
5 So shall you summon a nation you knew not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, Because of the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.
7 Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.

Tonight I gave a reflection at Seekers.
Here is more or less what I said:

I think my favorite part of this passage is how inviting it is. Basically whatever your needs are, they will be met by going to the Lord. The message is hopeful and seemingly simple.

Reflecting on its simplicity led me to question why a message such as this needs to be reiterated so often. Why do we repeatedly need to hear that God will be there for us throughout our lives? All we need to do is go to Him. Trust enough. And He will always be there.

I personally need to hear this incredibly often. At some point in my life I became a skeptic. One who questions. Is God really there? Really?? Always??? Even when I don't believe in Him anymore...will He still be there? Is He still guiding my life when I completely fail to acknowledge Him or consciously choose not to? Is He still acting when I get angry at Him? Even when I can't understand why my life is the way it is?

I've come to believe that the answers to all of these questions are Yes. Verse 8 of this passage says "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways," says the Lord. This verse has been immensely helpful for me. It reminds me that I do not ned to be able to comprehend God's motivations for things because He is not human. I realize that it is okay to not understand what the heck is going on in my life, either good or bad...Be it a failed midterm or broken relationship or a blessed friendship. I'll never be able to guess the route my life will take or how God will play a role. I've just accepted that God is there whether I notice or not. And He is always beckoning to me. He is constantly pulling at my heart in some way. (You may have felt this pull too.) Many times, I'm afraid of what I think I'm being asked to do. But once I do it, once I go where I am asked to go, I know that's what I was meant to be doing.

Come to the water and your thirst will be satiated.

Come without money and you will be fed.

Come and you will lead nations full of people you don't know.

Come and trust the Lord.

God will provide.

It has been a struggle to let myself believe these words. I have a prayer that I keep in my room and I read it regularly. It reminds me that it's okay to not understand God, but to trust Him anyway. Here it is:

My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean that I am
actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please
you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all
that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you
will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death, I will
not fear, for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

-Thomas Merton

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