Wednesday, April 21, 2010

God and Myself

Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.
Ephesians 5:14
Over the past few weeks, I've immersed myself in planning a talk for our upcoming women's retreat. God has planned the entire weekend, I'm certain. After praying for our church one day in my bedroom, I stood up and immediately saw steps...then footsteps...and each step connoted movement in a specific direction. In a moment He gave me a vision containing the topics for the four sessions:
Step In...To Relationship With Me
Step Away...From Sin
Step Out...Of Comfort
Step Up...To Serve
The theme of the weekend will be to live life "In Step...With God"
Interestingly, the Lord also gave me three names of women to speak. There was only one talk that I wasn't sure about. However, a friend that was organizing the retreat said that perhaps she could give the talk, "Step Away...From Sin." My response? Yes, that would be wonderful. Why don't you begin praying and planning.
Several days later, however, a strange feeling began to overtake me. "Robin, YOU are supposed to give the talk about stepping away from sin." Me, Lord? Yes.
I began to have a gnawing inside that lets me know the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do something. I knew God was asking me to do this. But, honestly, I did not want to! This was not a topic I would ever choose to speak on, given the choice. The more time that passed, the more I realized God was asking this of me.
"Well Lord, if you really want me to do this, then you will have to let my friend know that she is not supposed to do it. I certainly don't want to call her and say, 'I think I'm supposed to do it instead of you.'" Even as I prayed that, I almost hoped that God was telling my friend that she was to give the talk. Perhaps I wasn't hearing God correctly?!?
Surprise, surprise. When I spoke to my friend and asked her how her preparation was coming, guess what she said, "I've been praying, but I think there is someone else that's supposed to give this talk. God's telling me no." Yes, Lord. I've heard you.
As I said, the last few weeks, I've been pouring over scripture, praying, searching, listening to sermons, and reading many books about the vast subject of sin. In all of the talks I've given, I've never studied this much before sharing. God's presence has been evident, and as I've studied an overwhelming sense of grief, sadness, loss, and pain has affected me as I've reflected on sin. Literally, I've wept tears.
The message God has given me for Saturday is heavy and uncomfortable. Praying for a different direction has led to an answer that the heaviness is what God desires. How we scoff at sin and mock our God! Therefore, I step forward with fear and trepidation to share what God has laid on my heart. Unapologetically, however, I must deliver it in obedience to the holy God we serve.
This morning, I read this prayer out of the Valley of Vision. I pray we will pray it for ourselves.
God and Myself
Thy understanding is unsearchable and infinite,
Thy arm cannot be stayed,
Thy agency extends through limitless space,
All works hang on they care,
With thee time is a present now.
Holy is thy wisdom, power, mercy, ways, works.
How can I stand before thee
with my numberless and aggravated offences?
I have often loved darkness,
observed lying vanities,
forsaken thy given mercies,
trampled underfoot thy beloved Son,
mocked thy providences,
flattered thee with my lips,
broken thy covenant.
It is of thy compassion that I am not consumed.
Lead me to repentance, and save me from despair;
Let me come to thee renouncing, condemning, loathing myself,
but hoping in the grace that flows even to the chief of sinners.
At the cross may I contemplate the evil of sin, and abhor it,
look on him whom I pierced,
as one slain for me, and by me.
May I never despise his death by fearing its efficacy for my salvation.
And whatever cross I am required to bear,
let me see him carrying a heavier.
Teach me in health to think of sickness,
in the brightest hours to be ready for darkness;
in life prepare me for death.
Thus may my soul rest in thee, O immortal and transcendent one,
revealed as thou art in the Person and work of thy Son,
the friend of sinners.
(page 39)
Friends, if you know God's mercy and compassion, would you please remember me in prayer Saturday morning. My desire is to be God's vessel and only speak words that are from Him.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

Know that I pray for you and for God's hand to be visibly at work. Can't wait to hear all about it!