Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lent Day 25: Riding the wave

I write on my calendar, "Goodbye, everything."
We spoke together in chapel this morning. And we bought our tickets today.

We've booked the flight that will take us from what we know. From our comfort zone. To a new place across the world.

I'm reposting again today. My heart is too full to write, feeling the swell of the new wave ahead.


Life seems to be experienced in waves. Entire years and decades of Jesus' life go unrecorded. Then  his ministry crests: he chooses disciples and velocity quickens to wash toward his sacrifice on the cross as the Passover lamb.

The ebb of the resurrection, where God pulls back mortality's curtain to showcase His magnificence and power even over death, creates a riptide for the disciples. Jesus spends 40 quiet days with them, expounding on God's mission. He shows them their future as Life-With-God before he withdraws to allow the Holy Spirit to descend.

The Spirit roars into the life of the apostles with godly authority and power. Life and renewal splash throughout the city of Jerusalem and ripples into the world through the pilgrims attending the Pentecostal feast.

Throughout the book of Acts, ebbs and flows in the intensity mark the spread of the gospel:
  • Organization and favor.
  • Persecution, outward movement, and expansion. 
  • Suffering and missionary proclamation. 
  • Exile and writing to preserve the record of Christ and the early Church.
Have you experienced such seasons of quiet, followed by building energy and a surge of momentum?

Where am I right now? A bucket of "aha"s have been dumped on me since last weekend. The wave is rising and I am being carried into the future. I'm not certain of the shore toward which the power of "forward" is pulling me. And that doesn't matter too much. God only requires my "being in this" completely, attentive and intentional toward the work of His Spirit.

How do we "ride the wave" in seasons of change?
  1. Breathe in the time of calm and stand at ease when there's no direction.
  2. Mull over (and record) lessons learned and insights acquired during the pause between what was and what is becoming.
  3. Still your fears of change. God is in control. Completely. Utterly. Beautifully. He holds your future securely and will not let you go.
  4. Prepare yourself. Embrace whatever comes your way. Pray. Meditate on scripture. Serve at church. Read an insightful book, listen to a speaker, or attend an event. You may unexpectedly run into an acquaintance or eavesdrop on other conversations.
  5. Be willing and obedient. When work appears, when a door opens, when God clears away the clutter of the past to a clear future ... say YES.
  6. Surf the wave. God's current will direct you. Enjoy the ride: fighting the water will smash you, suck you under, and make you feel like you're drowning.
  7. Enjoy the view as you land on the new shore. Wherever God takes you, He has planned this in advance. What is the wonder of this next job, this new ministry, or this fresh relationship?
What's your favorite wave to date? Were you surprised where the current took you?

Read more:
*The Lord said, "I have chosen Abraham, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice." Genesis 18:19 NEV

*Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering. Isaiah 49:13 NLT

*And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Matthew 20:17-19 ESV

*Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. Romans 4:9 NEV

Moravian Prayer: God, teach us to do justice by entering into relationships with persons in need. May we learn from them lessons of dignity, faith, and righteousness as we serve—that we may become wholly committed to your kingdom's work. Amen.

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (Lewis wrote these to show the opposing intentions of God and the devil. In this novel, Screwtape is a young demon-in-training.) In which Screwtape reveals the Enemy’s (God's) intentions:

"Now it may surprise you to learn that in His [the Enemy’s] efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. 

"The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. 

"He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct."

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