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Thursday, November 1, 2012

don't just do something, stand there

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
            “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
               in quietness and trust is your strength,
                     but you would have none of it.

                                  Isaiah 30:15
I made a realization not too long ago, and the more I think about it, the more significant it seems to be.  It involves a shift deep within me, one that has to do with the age-old tension between doing and being.  For most of my life--and even more so, honestly, in my Christian life--I have constantly felt the pressure to try and make things happen.   It is a mode of operation (a way of thinking and believing) that is very subtle, and seems noble and right at first glance, but one that is incredibly deceptive, and has an enormous effect on how you go about living your life--particularly your life with God.  At its heart, it says: "Everything is up to me." 

But recently I have noticed a change, one that has shifted me from the pressure of doing to the freedom of being.  A realization that I do not have to make things happen, in fact I cannot make anything of true value happen, that is all up to God.  He is the One in charge of salvation and growth and transformation, not me.  He is the One that causes the heart to change, the seed to grow.  

What I have noticed is that when I finally let go of the need to make things happen, somehow mysteriously (and miraculously) things just begin to.  Things just come to be.  These days I often find myself looking around in amazement and surprise at the fruitfulness and the beauty springing up all around me (and deep within me) and ask myself, "How did that happen?"   It is simply extraordinary.

So what are we to do?  Sit idly by and never do anything?  Not at all.  What we are to do is to try and learn the lesson God was teaching Israel in Isaiah 30.  You see, Israel was the same way we are.  In fact, as Isaiah 30 unfolds they are under attack, their world filled with fear and chaos.  But instead of turning to God--the One who knows them best and loves them most, the One who longs to save them--they panic, they take matters into their own hands, and they run off in another direction altogether, trying to insure and/or secure their salvation.  In fact, they turn to Egypt (of all people) and beg Pharaoh to come to their rescue.  Because when it came right down to it, when they were desperate for something or someone to set their world right again, their true beliefs came out.  Instead of turning to God, they try to make things happen for themselves. 

So God comes to them and reminds them of what life with Him is really all about.  Your salvation will be found in returning and rest.  Don't try to take matters into your own hands, don't carry out plans that are not mine (Isaiah 30:1).  Turn back to me: once, twice, and always again.  For when you turn (or return) to Me, you will find rest, because I am the Sovereign God, the only One that can truly save you, the only One worthy of your trust.  Find rest in Me, trust quietly in Me, for I am in control.  So a shift is required, in them...and in us.  A shift very much like my own.  A shift from trying to make things happen, to turning constantly to God and trusting Him to work and to act.  A shift that helps us begin to understand that the significant elements of life with our God are not do this and do that, but returning and rest, quietness and trust.  Those are the bricks to build our spiritual house (lives) out of.  Because when you turn constantly to me, I will be the One to make things happen...like you never imagined. 

So don't just do something, stand there.


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