Friday, 13 January 2017

When God Reveals Something, How Do We Respond?

I've been reading a book called Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown about  the spiritual journey.   We're all on a journey.     If you're a Christian, then you should be walking with God and moving forward, or at least not going backwards - though that is sometimes very hard to do, right?    Our spiritual life is always changing - growing and bearing fruit, or not growing and gradually dying, even if not obvious at first.  

But, maybe you've been hit hard by some stuff - death, loss, illness, incapacity, rejection, betrayal, toxic relationships, parenting, abuse - the list goes on.    When we're hit hard, we're tempted to retreat within and we often get lost and confused and can't seem to feel or hear God anywhere, in anything we read or hear.  Even interacting with His people can leave us feeling worse, not better.    So, how do we move forward, or just plain old get back up again?  

In Sensible Shoes, the characters are challenged, during a prayer retreat, to connect with God in a deeper, more honest way.    They are all broken and stagnant and stuck and withdrawn in some way, for different reasons, and not sure how to move forward.   One of the key tools presented to them for connecting better and deeper with God is to put themselves in a Bible story or situation or verse and to see what jumps out at them, what annoys them, what hits a nerve, what makes them cry or laugh or get defensive or want to run away.   Those are the places to start again if we're bogged, the places to sit and wait on God, to find out why we're reacting, to be really honest with ourselves and Him, and to then receive from Him.  

We can get so bogged down and negative and depressed and alone in our journey.   But God.   But God is waiting - waiting to speak with us, to give to us, to bless us, to fill us, to heal us, to restore us and so much more.   But, we have to be open to Him.   We have to seek Him and to find Him on that journey, not because He's hiding, but because we are so used to doing it alone and finding our own solutions and trying to clean up our own mess.   

In re-reading through parts of the book, I was inspired to make a word picture, if you like, of what our spiritual journey can be like.    The leader of the retreat takes her participants through a labyrinth, an old-world custom of winding backwards and forwards to a central point, pausing to contemplate and listen to God, to be filled by Him in the centre, and gradually moving on and receiving from Him on the way out.     Partly inspired by that, and partly by a play on words, I wanted to share this word picture with you and hope you can find here a treasure or two to help you on your journey.  

So, as you begin at the starting point, whether you're deliberately waiting on God or whether He interrupts your everyday life in some way, my question is this - 'When God reveals something, how do we respond?'   Let's start there, at the arrow.  

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.   Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart .....
Jer 29:11-13

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