The gentle power of God’s pursuit

God’s pursuit of a human is a wonder.

Yesterday, God pursued me.

He had to.

I’d woken for several mornings with a numb heart. I didn’t want to feel too much, to have my heart stretched by His great Presence. Nothing was “wrong.” I simply wanted to stay cocooned in a tight chrysalis of control and predictability. I didn’t want my days rocked by eternity. I didn’t want to see myself as part of something bigger. I wanted my cocoon to be IT, cozy and snug. Nothing else fit—and I didn’t want it to.

But here’s the rub—the truth. If I want my tight little cocoon, I have to let go of ALL the things that don’t fit, like fullness and joy and inexplicable peace. Like amazement and wonder. I can’t have “control” AND fullness of life. My chrysalis tightens, and my focus narrows, my heart squeezes, and my vision tunnels. MY to-do list magnifies and lengthens.

After only a few days of a numbed heart, I sensed this narrowing, but rather than open myself to God’s gentle knockings, I avoided. I read a book; I checked e-mails—again; I worked—past quitting time. All fine things, except when they’re used as a substitute, as anesthetic to numb myself to God’s touch.

But yesterday God used “little” things to break through my shell. Son Jake had a dentist appointment in the morning, so I had to delay emails and writing assignments. We went to the dental office and learned our appointment was delayed, so we had some extra time together—REAL time, not like the working-on-homework-together time we’ve had so much of recently.

Of course, Jake, being Jake, asked questions I couldn’t answer out of myself. I had to silently cry out for help.

Then I had an interaction with an employee at a store—a good interaction, though nothing “big”—and in it was this reminder: if I want to spread Christ’s love to others, I have to be open to it myself. I have to be a receiver FIRST and ALWAYS.

My chrysalis was cracking; bits were flaking off.

I dropped Jake off at school, and there was silence. My phone was quiet. The radio was off.

I reached to turn the radio on—and stopped. Into the stillness came this thought: If I didn’t allow God to break my cocoon, it would only get smaller, and what could fill it then? It wouldn’t have room for Him. It could only be filled with ME, with a me that would have to shrink to fit, a me that would become smaller and more self-focused by the day.

Ugh.

The last remnants of chrysalis shattered.

And my heart took a deep, deep breath.

 

Oh, Lord, help us to open our hearts to You. We know this is not a painless process. Your presence draws up deep hurts done to us and reveals our own hurtful ways. Your presence expands our hearts so we can sympathize with others. That, too, is painful. Yet with Your presence there is fullness of joy! There is LIFE. (Psalm 16:11)

Africa devos, cont.: BIG and small

Aunt Josephine (right) and Suzanne (left) spend their days taking care of babies and toddlers. It probably doesn't feel very significant many days--but it IS. Thank you, dear ladies, for your selfless, redemptive work.

Aunt Josephine (right) and Suzanne (left) spend their days taking care of babies and toddlers. It probably doesn’t feel very significant many days–but it IS. Thank you, dear ladies, for your selfless, redemptive work.

On page 101 of K from K, Katie writes this: “Every day, we have a choice. We can stay nestled in our safe comfortable places. … Or we can take a risk, do something to help someone else, make a person smile, change someone’s world.”

God has used Katie to touch the lives of many, many people. We see this as ‘bigger.’ But no less of a calling is when God calls us to meet the needs of ONE! We see this example in Scripture. The shepherd went out in search of the one lost lamb. The widow swept her house top-to-bottom looking for the one lost coin. The angels rejoice over one lost sinner who turns to God. Do you feel overwhelmed by stories like Katie’s? Do you feel like there is no way you could do something like that? Are your “dreams” smaller? Maybe you’re supposed to care for “one.” Your life—with all its moments—has been planned for YOU, with your gifts and background in mind. Lean into the God who planned not only your life but YOU—and He will lead you into your BIG “calling” one step at a time.

Questions for thought/discussion:

  1. What do you think is “big” to God? Where does “big” start?
  2. Read Matthew 25:21, 23. How does that relate?
  3. On page 181 Katie hints at the fact that often this life of hers is not easy. Sometimes she may not even feel like it’s very fulfilling. It can be very tedious and repetitive. WE see redemption written all over Katie’s story, but sometimes she may wonder if she’s doing any good. Redemption doesn’t always “feel” purposeful or good. It’s often messy. Sometimes it feels like we are spinning our wheels. Ask God for glimpses of the bigger picture, for patience and endurance to continue till you catch a glimpse. Continue in the good work. Read page 204.
  4. Could it be that every moment has something “big” in it—we just miss it b/c we’re looking through the wrong eyes? He created every moment for a purpose, not just the ones we consider “big.” How is God using you now?