Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Reading Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey, and being deeply mentored by the Spirit. Some things God is revealing of His heart are breaking my heart again.
In the very act of giving us choice, God sacrificed Himself. He knew He would not leave us, and the pain of our choices would be His as well. The ultimate heart of a free and loving Papa.
Isaiah 63: 4b-5
"...And My year of redemption has come. I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So my own arm brought salvation to me, And my wrath upheld me."
Isaiah 63: 7
"I will make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, "Surely, they are my people, Sons who will not deal falsely." So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them all the days of old."
Isaiah was dreaming, seeing, asking questions of God; Israel was being taken by the Assyrians. At that time it seemed unavoidable--even logical--to blame God for physically visible destitution. Through struggle Isaiah received God's heart-dream of salvation. Instead of separating Himself from God he served the launching of God's passion and provision, making history. I read this morning that it has been recorded and accepted that Isaiah may have been the one Hebrews refers to being "sawn in two" because he would not worship idolatrously (Halley's p. 285). His vision of the love of God's heart had blinded Him to all else.
"And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground."
In this world, we can't expect to stand on a foundation of fairness, but God--alive in eternity--is kind and good, with a heart of equality, dignity and respect, so we have been given chances to make a difference here. Our focus should not be whether or not things are fair in this life, but instead how much salt and light we can spread with the mercy we are given.
Time and mercy are intrinsically linked throughout God's story of us (Yancey, p.91).
On Earth every stand for the mind-bending goodness that flows from God is a sacrifice and the Holy Spirit teaches and comforts us through our allotted surrenders. Our world is numbed in it's ability to recognize and receive true goodness. We can trust God with the balance of the universe we live in and never be surprised with difficulty here. We live powerfully with heavenly authority amidst a great resistance. One way or another, when faith is our conduit, we overcome.