Friday, October 15, 2010

The Great Awakening

“Death. It is the most misunderstood part of life. It is not a great sleep but a great awakening. It is that moment when we awake, rub our eyes, and see things at last the way God has seen them all along.”

I love that excerpt from Ken Gire’s book “Moments with the Savior”. He references Luke 16:19-31; the amazing story of the rich man and the beggar named Lazarus who both die and experience the afterlife that God awarded each of them as they deserved. God sees our lives, hearts and circumstances from a completely different viewpoint than we do. He always sees with eternal perspective and we are limited by the physical; choosing often to live by what we can see and feel. I believe, however, that learning to train our minds to think with eternal perspective is one of the big steps toward maturity in our relationship with God.

Reflect on what you would view differently in your life if you chose to see things from God’s eternal perspective instead of your own limited one. Imagine all of the things that we allow to consume our thinking and heart that will not matter AT ALL when we are standing face to face with the King of Kings. That is the great awakening. Here is what I envision as being important at that moment:
• Did I love the Lord above all other people and things
• Did I love my family unconditionally
• Were my friends and acquaintances drawn closer to or pushed away from Jesus as a result of their interactions with me
• Did I read and know God’s Word or did I treat it casually and with little significance on how I lived my life
• Did I view sin and righteousness the same way that God does

I think that upon my awakening, those are the things I will care about. I doubt I will be thinking about my job, my possessions or even my activities except how they relate to the above list.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

I think it’s important to realize that according to this verse I am prone to see things a bit out of focus…a poor reflection. Upon my death, my reawakening, so to speak, I will know fully and will be known completely. I realize that due to God’s holiness and perfection, no matter how I live, I will still experience an awakening. I also believe that if I live with an eternal perspective while I’m here my awakening experience will not be one of shock but more of a sharpening of an already held view.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Standing In The Surf

1 Peter 5:10 says, “ 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Every single one of us has circumstances or periods of time in our lives that seem to redefine who we are. I’ve experienced a few during the past five years. This time period of constant change led me to the beach one day in my thoughts. I pictured myself standing on the shoreline, right at the edge with a strong tide rushing toward me. One second I was on top of the packed sand, staring out at the horizon, and the next moment, buffeted by a large wave I started losing my balance as the sand underneath my feet began shifting. It wasn’t the secure packed sand it appeared to be, and by the next wave, my feet were completely covered and I was ankle deep in sand and water. Moments before, a distinct imprint of my foot was emblazoned on that sandy strip, now it was completely gone. So is life. One minute we’re doing well, happy, and hitting our stride and the next day we are knocked down and wondering what happened. God desires to use those times of uncertainly to draw us to him.

As I’m standing in the surf
The tide rushes in
Washing over my footprints
That just moments ago
Were clearly embedded and molded to form
Defining part of me
The remains of what was once distinct
Is now shifting
Changing as each new wave
Washes over it
A faint image of what once was
As I stand looking out
I wonder
What waves are headed my way?
Can I handle this
Constant redefining of who I am?

Our Father allows us to suffer for a little while, knowing that during that time of ambiguity we make choices; will we walk away or toward him? The day I wrote the poem above, I was faced with a choice, I had not yet determined which way I was going to walk. It is a recorded moment of my indecision.

Since that day, I have stood on that imaginary shoreline again and again. Each time I find the earth under my feet shifting, I have to make the choice to allow God to restore my heart and life; and so far he has every time.