Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stages of life

I'm fascinated as I read the bible. I'm fascinated as I watch the narrative unfold in its stories. Often, as I read, as I watch the story develop, it's clear that God has stepped off the stage. The story of David is one I just finished reading, but there are others, stories of lives unfolding before our eyes. I watch as God steps back to let the characters of the story make decisions, take action and live out their lives. And, at times God seems to be nowhere in sight.

Then, when all the choices are made, God comes back on stage to commentary the deeds of the story we have been reading.

I think he often does that in my life. Seldom does he call from heaven to tell me, "Stop that! What are you doing? What are you thinking?" In fact he's never done that for me! Instead, I have his word and from his word and the work of his Spirit in my life, I live out my play, stage by stage, act by act. There are times when I know God is there, on stage with me, but at other times he seems to step back....he allows me to stand or fall, to make decisions and then he returns and we talk about the choices I made.

I remember vividly, as I read the end of Luke, while Jesus is being mocked and tortured Peter denies three times he even knew Jesus. Then the cock crows and Jesus turns and looks at Peter. Peter catches Jesus' look, and runs away weeping. Later, after the resurrection, Jesus and Peter deal with this as Jesus asks, "Peter, do you love me?"

There are stages in each of our lives. Stages and times when we put on masks and pretend to be someone we aren't. Pretend to do the right thing when we don't. The world watches as we act out our little play, but then God comes on stage and we talk about the fraud I have been. The lie I have tried to hide. The deeds I have done.

Each of us lives out our own little play. Each of us experiences a time when God has left the building and we are left alone to our own choices, but soon, when the curtain opens for the next act, God steps on stage and the truth comes out. How can we think that our masks hide anything? Everyone else is wearing a mask, everyone knows we wear one too. Why not surprise the audience and be who you really are, be honest and trust God for the results? I see a few, but there are more behind them, who are taking off the masks and living their lives for all to see. How wonderful it would be to hear God say, as he comes on the stage of your life and the curtain rises for the final act, "Well done...."

(To read David's story read 2 Samuel 11-12.)


Dave said...

When I think of my stages I think of this:
Proverbs 20:24 The steps of a person are ordained by the Lord — so how can anyone understand his own way?
Proverbs 16:9 A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.
Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember what I accomplished in antiquity!
Truly I am God, I have no peer;
I am God, and there is none like me,

10 who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred,
who says, ‘My plan will be realized,
I will accomplish what I desire,’

11 who summons an eagle from the east,from a distant land, one who carries out my plan.
Yes, I have decreed,
yes, I will bring it to pass;
I have formulated a plan,
yes, I will carry it out.

I realize when I look back, that GOD was there the whole time. I am not plagued by what I could have done better, I do my best and I continue to walk.
This post/discussion reminds me of Jonathan Edwards resolutions;
56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

When it looks like evil is winning,
Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.

Recently I have thought that I must be in one of those mid-life crisis's. I don't have enough time to accomplish what I feel GOD wants me to do. At fourty-one I want to go to seminary. I don't want to wait, I dont want to spend anymore time doing anything else but ready myself for this goal.

If life is a stage, I am not alone. I have the indwelling of the HOLY SPIRIT. I have GODs dictates that guide my steps. I know what GOD wants from me, the fact that GOD does love me. The fact that HE allows me to partake in HIS glory by spreading the word of HIS gospel, leading, teaching and learning about HIM through the scriptures. I know what HE wants, the question is, do I return to my slavery of sin or respond to the truth and give account for the hope that is in me. My next step, is knowing that sin leads to carnage in my life. Do I return to the muck or do I follow the truth. The Truth leads to a hardship but also a closeness to GOD. In those moments of a clear heart and open eyes I don't struggle with a choice but I struggle with understanding.
Do I focus on my failures or get up and refocus on GOD?

My point is this, I dont for a second believe I am on the stage alone, when I fall its because I loose my focus on HIM. Trying to follow HIS steps I look to my own and stumble. Do I get angry and upset at something I could not do without 'supernaturally' following GOD? Yes. (I am male and I am human) Are there consiquencies, yes. Do I get back up and try again, yes. Does GOD love me any less, no.

In case you were wondering, do I confess and repent my sins? Yes. I dont want to sin. I will confess and repent as long as my eyes are open to see my sin. I pray that GOD continues to open my eyes to my sin, so that I may be aware of them, to turn from them, and give them to HIM. The day I believe I have not sinned I know my eyes are no longer open.

This life is a walk in what we believe. The awareness of my sins shows me everyday of my need for GOD and his grace and mercy.

When GOD says "well done..." its not because we havent fallen down but that we get back up and brush ourselves off. We continue the walk to our goal, HIM.

Thank You Mike for your post. Your walk with GOD has always been an inspiration to me.


Mike Messerli said...

Great words, Dave. Do know that I am not saying God ever leaves us, he doesn't, but "it seems" at times that he is silent in our story as we make choices. I hope that was not too confusing as I wrote my thoughts. Thanks again, Dave, great thoughts from you for sure.

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John Hoverson, said...

Hi Mike,
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you ministering to me via this blog. Often I look to see what you have posted and am inspired to keep on keeping on. Sometimes in my little niche in the carrying out of the great commission, I lose focus, think that I'm alone,(Elijah syndrome), and want to throw the towel in. God bless you, keep you and cause His face to shine on you...Num. 6:24-26. Please keep up the good work. I've told many of my brothers in Christ to check you out. John