Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jesus Loves Me

"It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.'" John 4: 6-7

Twice in the past 24 hours has God led me to the passage in John when Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. How interesting because God speaks to me a lot through repetition. The first time I read this story was last night in my bed as I was doing some Bible study.

And then again at church this morning. I may have even snickered when he said to turn to John 4 because isn't that just like God. Last night I sat in my room asking God to speak Truth into my innermost being and to help me to see Him rather than an outcome or answers to my questions.

Reading this story reminded me how much God loves people and that His grace is sufficient for me.

The following notes are taken from an online commentary I like to read, www.enduringword.com.

It was about the sixth hour. This woman came to the well at an unusual hour and alone. Typically women came for water earlier in the day and in groups. Perhaps there was a sudden need or perhaps she was a social outcast.

[In the last couple of days, I was sort of feeling like this woman at the well... like a social outcast with a stigma of divorce placed over my head. Wondering what God's will is for my life.]

Jesus said to her. By tradition, a rabbi would not speak to a woman in public, even his own wife. It was also very unusual for a Jewish person of that time to ask a favor or accept a drink from a Samaritan's cup. Jesus' request genuinely surprised the woman.

How is it that you being a Jew, ask a drink from me. Immediately, the woman was impressed by the friendliness of Jesus. This was probably the first time she had ever heard a kind greeting from a Jewish man.

End of commentary.

What Jesus showed to the Samaritan woman at the well was a case of grace coupled with a dose of mercy. Tradition said that he should not be talking to a Samaritan woman. But God loves people and saw through her physical person and into her heart. Donald Joy says in his book Bonding: Relationships in the Image of God that "we are not likely to keep faith with the words of Jesus unless we study his actions and regard them as commentary on his words." I love that. Joy goes on to say that "Jesus reads hearts and treasures persons... he is amazingly able to focus on the universal value in every situation - the deeper principle behind the laws that have been invented to protect the value."

Jesus loves me. This I know. Lord, I pray that my heart would continue to be wholly devoted to You. I pray that You would give me courage to walk boldly into my destiny that You have already laid out for me. Thank You for your grace and mercy that you poured out for me on the Cross. Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Have Found Myself a Hiding Place

I have found myself a hiding place.
I have found myself a secret space.
In the shelter of Almighty's love.
In the safety of the Savior's arms.

I will run to the hiding place.
I will run to the hiding place.
Draw me ever closer
to look upon Your face.
I will run to the hiding place.

Though my fears may overwhelm me
and troubles may surround.
Though the wind dries up to take me.
My hiding place is already found.

I have found myself a hiding place.
I have found myself a secret space.
In the shelter of Almighty's love.
In the safety of the Savior's arms.

I sometimes have a hard time crying when I feel like I need to. Sure, I can watch the Hallmark channel and bawl my eyes out. Or I can thoroughly embarrass myself and my eyes will well up. But an appropriate time for crying? Nothing.

I remember a time when I knew I needed to have an all out sob session and the tears just wouldn't come. But what did come to my mind was the song I had heard in church... Hiding Place. I'm sure that it was God that brought the words to my mind as I sat in my chair, alone in my house.

I remember sitting with my legs curled up and my arms wrapped around them. I had my eyes closed and my head down and the words to that song just poured out of me. Not as a song but a prayer to God. Knowing that I was safe in His arms. My fears may overwhelm me, but my Hiding Place is already found. As I sat there singing the words to that song, it felt as though the arms around my body were not my own, but His. What an awesome feeling... to just be held when you feel in the depths of despair.

I was just sharing that story with a good friend tonight and I looked online to try and find the song because she had never heard it before. As soon as it started playing, I began to get choked up just remembering how much that song meant to me on that one day long ago. Whatever is happening, I am so thankful that I can always run to my Hiding Place and He will always be there to wrap His arms around me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Do You Want to Get Well?

"When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'"

I was sitting around a table this week talking to some people and they began talking about a woman they all knew who passed away from cancer earlier this year. They talked about how they felt she knew she was sick a lot longer before she let on. But she never went to the doctor. Later on she did finally begin seeing a doctor and specialists but she chose doctors who did little to help her condition.

I did not know this woman personally and I sat and just sort of processed the information. They went on to talk about the fact that she had been in an abusive relationship and had chosen some unhealthy and self destructive ways of coping with that. During that time, her son was murdered and she was not there. She held an incredible amount of guilt over the fact that her son was lost during a time when she was unavailable to help him.

She put off going to the doctor for so long. And when she did go, she didn't see the right people. She continued to smoke, pouring more toxins into her body that would probably only serve to deteriorate her body more quickly. The others around the table pondered the possibility that she was afraid of the test results in seeing a doctor sooner. Or maybe she was living in denial.

As I was sitting at that table taking all of this in, I realized something. I'm not sure if this woman actually wanted to get well. I wondered if she felt like she didn't deserve to be well after what happened to her son and her not being there when it happened. I wondered if she had been abused herself growing up since she married an abuser. I wondered if she felt like somehow she deserved the treatment she received and let herself deteriorate. A natural sort of suicide.

I walk through life and see the same sorts of things all the time. I wonder why some people have the strength to get through difficult circumstances while others never reach out for help. This is especially true when I see people struggling in areas that I have already walked through and God has given victory. Everything inside of me wants to rescue them. But there is only so much I can do. Yes, I can tell my stories and what God has done. But I can't do it for them. They have to want to be well.

And on the flip side, I have to consciously remind myself that God is Savior. Not me. God wants to meet all of our needs. But he also wants us to ask. My pastor said something a couple of weeks ago that I saw so much truth in. He said that sometimes we remove God from the equation because VISA has met it instead. Or because I have tried to step in as savior and meet a need that wasn't my role to meet... and thus robbed God of His glory.

It's really about finding a balance. Sometimes God does want me to step in and do something. And sometimes I am in the way. I am praying for discernment to know the difference.