Posts Tagged ‘trust’

when God works

August 19, 2010
going through the ditch

image courtesy trucktrend.com

God is sovereign.  He decides to intervene in a situation based on his own will.  He alone knows the ultimate results of any action and he alone is in the position to choose action or inaction.  But it seems there are two things that influence the likelihood of his intervention.

No Plan B – God is more likely to act when the situation is otherwise impossible. As Gideon went out to his famous battle with the Midianites and Amelekites, God said:

The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.” – Judges 7:2

God wasn’t willing to join the battle until Gideon reduced the size of his army from 22,000 to 300, making it unwinnable in any natural sense.  God does not want to share credit for the victory.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 say that God curses the man who trusts in man’s strength – either his own or someone else’s – but blesses the one who trusts in the Lord.  God acts when our hope is in him and him alone.

It’s His Choice – God is more likely to act when we submit to his sovereignty.  This includes submitting to the possibility that he may choose to not act.  The three Hebrew boys being thrown in to the fiery furnace testified to Nebuchadnezzar:

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. – Daniel 3:17-18

They put their fate completely in God’s hands.  “We know you can save us, now we’ll find out if you will save us.”

Jesus said it like this: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

My hands are off the wheel.  I trust your driving.  If you drive me into a ditch, I trust it’s the ditch I need to go through to get to the road I need to be on.

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intimate worship

November 2, 2009

Intimacy has been a big topic in my mind for several years, even as I’ve experienced a dearth of it.  I’ve been thinking about what it is, what it isn’t, what what promotes it, and what constrains it.

I feel somehow hyper-sensitive to intimacy because of its vacuum in my own life.  I notice it in places where I’m sure I’d have passed it by before.  Some of those places are perhaps what you’d expect, in otherwise casual friendships that take brief excursions to the deep places of the heart.  Other instances surprise me more, for example: the somehow amazing intimate heart-touch in praying for someone whom I otherwise little know.

One place intimacy has surfaced unexpected has been in worship teams.  I think it exists to a degree in any sort of performing entity – rock bands or theatre groups for example – but somehow even more so when the objective is to provide music that leads people to the presence of God.  Though it may extend to practices and hang-out times after a gig, the main place I notice it is in the actual act of worship.

Friendship is generally a precursor to intimacy and in the past I’ve been part of teams that remained together for years.  In that situation it seems reasonable that the relationships involved could grow intimate over the span of time.  But the place it has popped up unexpected has been in relatively impromptu teams of experienced worship musicians who’ve come together for a particular need.  It amazes me when I get a sense of intimacy with people whose lives I’m not otherwise especially connected to.

Here are some things I see in such teams that contribute to the sense of intimacy:

  • common purpose
  • trust
  • forgiveness (acknowledgment that we’re all imperfect)
  • communication that is felt more than voiced
  • openness and willingness to speak the truth when it needs to be said
  • playfulness
  • give and take
  • respect
  • vulnerability

I would assert that the Kingdom of God is a place of great intimacy.  But churches – because of political struggles, personal agendas and fears – are generally the antithesis of intimate.

Somehow a team of people who have individually spent years honing their musical skills; who have individually spent years seeking God in their own lives, can come together for a few hours and experience a Kingdom-of-God intimacy that other believers hunger for.

Jesus established the dual relationship orientation that defines us: love God more than anything else, then love everyone else the same as yourself.  In worship – the act of expressing our love of God – there is also a place of sharing the love for each other.

I relish that intimacy.  Just now as I describe it I long to experience it again.