June 23, 2008

And Deeper

Having no time for quality Bible study this morning, I decided that my family would be best served if I cleaned the kitchen. I'm not sure why I felt I could accomplish that task, yet didn't have time to spend with the Lord, but anyway...

I figured I could at least have some quality worship time while I worked, so I clipped on my iPod Shuffle. Even though I'd made excuses not to talk to God this morning, He obviously wanted to talk to me. Within 10 seconds, I found myself in the midst of tears. Not just eye-glistening tears, but a full-out UGLY cry.

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought
I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
~Sara Groves, "When the Saints"
I was overcome by the knowledge that I'll be in glory with Paul and Silas one day. That there will be people in Heaven who've gone before...who've been so faithful and courageous. And I'm so NOT.

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
~Acts 16:22-25

God has brought this story to me several times in the past month. I haven't taken the time to really think about it, because it's a story I've heard many times before. Sitting here now, I am finally paying attention to the end of Verse 25 - the other prisoners were listening to them. Paul and Silas were in the middle of extraordinarily difficult circumstances, yet they chose to praise God. And while they praised Him, others were listening.

I thought about the complaining I've done lately, and about how much I put myself first. Others are listening. How can I think my life is hard? I didn't have time for Bible study this morning because I overslept. I'd stayed up late reading a book. I should've been on my knees praying for our mission teams in Africa and Peru. I should've been thanking God for the hundreds of salvations the Peru team has seen in just a few short days. Instead, I was reading about a fictitious missionary.

And I want to be one of the saints?

God didn't call me to Peru or Africa. This time. He hasn't pulled me away from my soft bed or my sturdy home. I haven't had to survive without running water or proper clothing. My life is pretty comfortable. Yet sometimes, I find it difficult to sing his praises.

And I want to be one of the saints?

The burdens I carry are light compared to what other believers endure. They are a mere vapor compared to what Jesus suffered for me. Doesn't He deserve more from my life?

I guess I needed another reminder that it's not about me.


godlover said...

Your post hit home with me. How often I complain about my life. I even have the audacity to complain to God!!! I am not the one who obediently moved with her 10 children to Liberia and now lives without running water or electricity among the huge spiders and bugs that love to visit your bed at night while you try to sleep. I'm not the one who has to cook over a coal pot outside the kitchen because there's no such thing as a gas range in Liberia. Like you, I have been brought to my knees and I thank you for reminding me.

Calaveras County CA

Kelly said...

Great thoughts. The best part, though, to me, is the knowledge that He comes after us. He sought you out with these verses, gently reminding you of them until you heard His message. How cool is it that our God wants us to "get it", and sticks with us until we do.
Hoping you felt His presence today:-)

His Girl said...

I love that He is so faithful to speak to us even when we are too stubborn to sit and listen... what a reminder of how much He loves us!

Amanda said...

Ironic that the cushy life makes faith a battle with our selfish spoiled thoughts. Take away our self serving stuff... and faith becomes... easier to live by, because it's all you got. That never ceases to amaze me.

But Paul was a man, and he learned to praise when he was abound... I have faith we can too. :) By the power of the Spirit, right?

Good post.

Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

Hey friend!

I've missed my quiet time the past three mornings--on vacation and after staying on track for most of it, we're in a small hotel room now and it seems hard to find a place to have as my spot.

So yesterday was awful. A good day to start, but some issues with the girls that threw me completely for a loop. I can't help thinking that if I'd had my time with God I'd have been a little more grounded and less likely to be knocked off my feet...

Anyway, so glad I caught up with you this morning, because I'm reminded that God has things to tell me, to teach me even when I don't make the time to meet with him!


Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said...

Beautiful! THis post really touched my heart.

Tracy said...

Boy do I see myself in this post. It is amazing how quickly we can forget just how blessed we are. Praise God He loves us with such abundant grace! There was an old song called "Unrelenting Love." I always loved that title so much. Such a beautiful description of the way He pursues and draws near to us, even when we are too busy, too distracted, too tired, etc.

Thank you...I'll be thinking on this one for awhile.


Lisa Spence said...

LOVE that Sara Groves song!

To be one not merely listening but actively praising and worshipping my God--may I be like Paul and Silas! Whatever He asks, may I respond by presenting my life as a living sacrifice, my spiritual act of worship...

Great post, friend.