Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eyes to See

Just this morning, before I'd even started on my first cup of coffee, Sophia came downstairs.  It was just after 7 am, which, for her, is not an unusual time to get up.  However, last night she was up till nearly 10 pm due to an swim meet that started late.

I could tell, in the puffiness of her face and eyes, she was not rested.  When I suggested she go lay down again, let me tell you, it is a good thing looks can't kill.  Because I would be stone, cold dead right now.  Everything in the girl, every fiber of her being, was completely against what I was saying.  She might have well stuck her fingers in her ears, shut her eyes really tight and started yelling, "LA LA LA LA LA!" She did not want to listen.

She thought laying in my bed and watching T.V. would suffice.  But that's not rest.  What she needed was sleep, but she didn't want to hear it.

Ever been in a situation like this when you can clearly see exactly what is needed for someone else, but they can't and are completely resistant to your suggestions?

Have you been that person?

I've been both the willful commit-er of that sin, as well as the unknowing participant in my own spiritual, mental and physical demise.  When we don't do what we need to, when we don't treat ourselves kindly, we are setting up circumstances for own destruction.

For instance - this weekend, I was hungry - all the time.  So, I ate.  I drank.  I did whatever took the edge off.  There isn't anything wrong with feasting on the good things of Creation....except when you are trying to satisfy a hunger not of this world.  Call it looking for love in all the wrong places, when.  I should have gotten up and been with my first love - Jesus.  It was for lack of time with Him that I was hungry, yet I paid no attention to the signs.

I wasn't paying attention and didn't want to hear it.  Sophia takes after her mother, truly.

Thankfully, I have checks and balances, friends who remind me of the truth (and the error of my ways.)  They call me to a higher level of living and will be clear when I'm going in the wrong direction.  They helped me shake my blinders off, to see I needed to feed my spirit, first.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the two - soul and spirit.  In the absence of the leadership of the spirit, your soul (what Scripture calls "the flesh") will jump in and take over.  It is a daily discipline to ensure first things are indeed put first - the things of the Kingdom of God - over the Kingdom of Self.

It's not fulfillment we are to seek, first and foremost, but we so often start there.  What we are really supposed to be seeking is rest.  That's what the Garden of Eden was, rest.  No sweat, effort or work was required on the part of Adam and Eve; their Father had given it all to them.  It's possible they might have just needed to speak and their provision was there.  Maybe they didn't even need to speak.

They just needed to be.

I'm guessing the desire to do more than just be, to contribute, got the better of them.  Who knows how long they were in the Garden, but it was long enough for the seed of discontent to grow.  It was that seed the devil desired to bloom into rebellion.  It did and here we are.

The devil wants our flesh to reign because that is what ruins us.  Even better if we aren't aware, or paying attention, to our discontent.

Our troubling circumstances, whether self-created or a product of this fallen world, open a window into discomfort.  Our troubles are to provide a reflection of the condition of our spirits and souls.  They serve to show us what we are full of, literally; what we use to fill the lack is the evidence of what we are missing.

If we use food, drink, sex, drugs, money, career, other people, religion, emotion, busy schedules, there will come a point when we are starving (and desperately unhappy).  Yet, we often pour on more and more until the hunger is all consuming.  Some people will go through life without ever grasping their need or that life is missing something.

If you, however, are fortunate enough to reach a moment in time when the numbing effect of the delights of this world has worn off , that is wonderful gift.  (Matthew 5:3)

We cannot, in ourselves, supply the healing, for our deepest hurt.  As Adam and Eve so grievously discovered, you can't cover the hole with fig leaves and try to walk over it.  You will fall in again.  This is not something we can "do."

Change, in Christ, is not a verb.  It is not on a "to do" list.  Out of all the other religious options, that is why faith in Christ different.  Christianity, in its truest form, is the only religion that promotes a break, a rest, from ourselves and this weary life of lack.  It brings together our minds, hearts, souls and bodies under the original Creation covenant of rest.

Despite not wanting to listen, Sophia obeyed.  She went back upstairs and went to sleep.  She came down nearly 90 minutes later, much more like herself.  Praise God for His mercy!  She surrendered to her need.

What would happen if you stopped long enough to feel the ache of your own need?

We are to abide (rest, trust, believe, submit to, surrender under, seek) in Christ because He is the fulfillment of Eden; He has redeemed the plan and purpose of our Father, the Creator.  He doesn't just cover the hole, He fills it....with Himself.

We need only the eyes to see it.

It is Our Ache (as evidenced by our circumstances and feelings) that point us to Christ.  The realization of this is (always) a gift from God - it is the beginning of the abiding (or resting) process.  Jesus made this clear after Peter's statement of faith in Matthew 16:17,

For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven.

I'll let you in on a little secret - you aren't you aren't worthy of this gift of faith.  None of us are.  But that's not a requirement.  It never was.  The Lord is a merciful, benevolent judge who desires to let you off the hook for all you've ever done, so you can stop doing those things and live a life that has goodness and grace all over it.

We don't come to Christ except by faith and we don't come to faith except by the grace of God to see that we need Him.  Maybe you are aware of your need, or maybe you aren't.  Maybe you've been too busy to see it, but you know things aren't right.

Listen to your discomfort.

Listen to your disquiet.

Listen to your lack.

There is something missing in you.  Maybe it's spiritual.  Maybe it's emotional.  Maybe it's mental.  It might even be physical.  But there is something missing.  Ask to be shown what it is.  Stop trying to fill it yourself and ask for the eyes of your heart to be opened to see where and what it really is.  Ask for the Lord to have mercy on you, to clear away the clutter and show you where peace, rest and relief is needed to fill in the missing pieces. The Answer will always be Jesus.

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