Thursday, February 19, 2009
So Long Self. Waking Up the Sleeper.
I love this song by MercyMe. I hope you give it a listen! It capitalizes in a fun way how I am feeling this morning.
Do you ever just have a moment of pure spiritual clarity? God just opens your eyes in a new way for a fresh look at the world and how He is working. He reminds you of the enemy that would thwart His work. He invites you to join Him in a new way.
A life time ago, or so it seems, Robin and I married and moved to downtown Portland (if you are from ME, picture Cumberland Ave. on the Maine Med. end with Grant St. running parallel), ME. We lived in a very rough neighborhood complete with drug addicts and dealers, satanists, prostitutes and more. It was like a foreign country in some ways. Robin had just graduated Bible College and I was still finishing up Bible College. We lived on minimum wage (or close to it). But we were young and living on love and living with Jesus and life was GOOD!
When you are in the city, ministry opportunities ooze in on you. People are hurting, needy and desparate. But more than that, they are not afraid to admit it and not ashamed to ask for help. There are soup kitchens and people desparate enough to listen to you tell them what Jesus can do for them. There are prayer needs all around you and a walk down the street isn't considered without a prayer time first!
You can't help but see the world as it is. The darkness is so dark you can't miss it. But in keeping, the Light is so Light, it is blinding. When God works the contrast is so great, it is like He is the flame and you are the moth.
Then we moved to the burbs... and then the country... I have nothing against either of them and we are still there now. But somehow I forgot how dark the darkness was and the God's Light only seemed like a flicker. Did I work for God? Well yes, I tried and God moved and things happened. But it has been dimmer. I have dwindled with it.
I do think "self", "myself" has gotten in the way of a clear vision. Robin and I have had talks over the years about that time in Portland. We have reminisced about our prayer group there and the nights of pulling out guitars and praising God with our Christian neighbors and guys from Robin's YMCA Bible Study. We have talked about how to get "back there" in our hearts, to recreate that. I have often wondered if maybe I was like the Isrealites looking for Solomon's temple. Maybe I just needed to remember that ministry in the country is different.
So yeah, I fell asleep. Self took the front burner...slowly...over time.
Looking back I see it clearly. The veil is again lifted. I am starting to see the darkness as dark, the Light is shining bright. It was there all along. Somehow I had just put on spiritual sunglasses and I had fallen asleep. Looking back it was as though I was tethered. But I am awake now and am breaking free of the tethers!
I am trying to say "so long self"! I am trying to join God at His work. I was reminded last night thanks to dear friends who never fail to point me Godward, that Satan wasn't stupid enough to fall asleep...just me. Forgive me Lord, and thank you for waking me up!
"Awake oh sleeper and rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you." Eph 5:14