Sunday, January 9, 2011

Faithless, frail and weak

I admit it. I'm a self talker. I talk to myself all the time. I'm usually in my car when it happens. I practice conversations I'm planning to have. I give how-to talks on various subjects (to my windshield). I pray that the people who see me talking (to myself) in traffic all think that I have one of those cool built-in cell phones that all the new cars have. You know, the hands-free things that you can just say "Call John Doe" and it dials the number & puts you on speaker phone. I always hope that, but then realize that I'm driving an 8 year old mini van, so I'm probably not fooling anyone. Oh well, maybe they think I'm singing along to the radio. That really IS the case many times and maybe it's equally dorky to be seen doing that, but at least we all know that we've all done it at one time or another, right?

So anyway, the other day during one of those 'conversations' (can you really call it a conversation when there's only 1 person involved?), I was practicing the way I give my testimony. In my attempt to explain God to my windshield (and the imaginary audience in my head), I was trying to come up with a word to explain why God is so, well... amazing. The only word I could come up with was 'faithful'. It really all boils down to that, doesn't it? What other word describes his greatness & awesomeness?

Think about it.

He made the world & humans. The very first humans He created lasted a very short time before they screwed up big time. He could've said "Ya know what? These 2 didn't work out very well. Let me grab this big cosmic eraser & start over." But He didn't.

And then those very same screwed up humans went & procreated. They had to. Gotta populate the whole world & all. And two of their first couple of kids were constantly in a battle. One of them even killed the other one. Come on. All of us parents have seen sibling rivalry. But killing each other? Wow. At that point, He could've grabbed for the eraser still. I mean, there were only a couple generations of people on the Earth at that point. He still had time to wipe them all out & start over. But He didn't.

Fast forward a few years to the Israelites. They were in captivity for years. They were slaves to some pretty bad dudes. After a hundred tries to convince the Pharoah to let them go, God pulls out all the stops & throws some really nasty stuff at the country & the Pharoah finally relents & says "Make Him stop this! I'll let them go if God will stop with all the plagues." Moses picks up his staff & hollers for the Israelites to high tail it out of there. They run out of town before the Pharoah changes his mind & sends an army after them. God splits a sea down the middle & lets the Israelites through on dry land before closing up the gap & drowning the army chasing after them. They wander through the desert heading to the promised land for 40 years. God provides them with food, leadership, protection. And when the going gets rough, rather than trusting God to take care of everything (hello? He just split an ocean down the middle...He can take care of things!), they build idols to worship & pray to. After all that God has done for them, they basically spit in his face & stomp their feet & focus their affections on a chunk of gold or rock. About this time, as a parent, I would've reached down & smacked my kid for acting like this. But does God? No!

I could tell you story after story. Throughout the Bible there are stories like this. Over & over & over & over, God's people mess up. Over and over, God is faithful to them regardless. And life today is just like that.

I was reminded today while reading a caringbridge website for a local coach who was seriously injured in a car wreck in November how faithful God is. The coach's daughter commented about something that made me smile & sigh a happy sort of contented sigh. This is what she said:
I vaguely remember learning about involutary systems in the body--the things our brain takes care of without our help. Our heart beats, we breathe, our lungs inflate, our wounds heal, we fight infection. Who among us get credit for this work? Each day we arise to a world in which our God has laid a bounty of health before us. He does it so consistently that we rarely notice.

Our immortal, invisible God works silently and invisibly to sustain us every day. Praise to an extraordinary God who works in wondrously ordinary ways. We have seen His work and we rejoice!
As I read her words, I was reminded how faithful He is to all of us. Day after day after day, we wake up. We breathe. We stand & walk to the kitchen & fix a meal. Our hearts beat. Our brain functions & we speak. In our health & physical well being alone, He is AMAZING, but it goes so far beyond that. In Job 38, God asks Job to remind Him "Were you there when I created the foundations of the earth? Who was it that told the waves how far they could come & told the moon where to stand in the sky?" (paraphrase mine) None of us can take credit for such huge things, but few of us think to stand before Him daily & praise Him for being so very faithful to us...for giving us breath, for allowing our hearts to beat again today, for giving us legs that walk & arms that reach, for letting us live to see another day at all!

God made us. He created each one of us in such a SPECIAL way. We are unique down to our fingerprints & the number of hairs on our head & the specific DNA that only our body contains. Have we thanked Him for even THAT lately?

Have we thanked Him for anything lately? Have we praised Him for life, for family, for freedoms that we take for granted? For homes to live in? Food to eat? The basic necessities of life? The luxuries we all live in & partake of? For the phones we talk on and computers were stare at til our eyes hurt? For soft beds to sleep in and clean water to drink? Probably not....because we forget about the very basic things we all take for granted.

And yet still He sent His only son to live & walk among us, to suffer and die a brutal, grotesque, horrid death IN OUR PLACE. He ALLOWED His child to lay down on a cross & ALLOWED men...the very ones He created...to drill giant spikes into his wrists & feet. For us. So that we could have a relationship with Him. He LET His son take on the literal weight of the world.

And yet we mock Him. We live a half-hearted relationship with Him. We read our Bibles when it's convenient....or push it under a stack of magazines when a friend comes over. We spend more time listening to music & watching movies & TV shows and surfing the internet and reading novels and talking to friends than we spend praying and pressing our hearts up to His. We go to church and yawn through the sermon because it's dragging on too long. We whine about memorizing Scriptures, the very words we need to know best. We treat our relationship with Him so poorly while it is supposed to be something more like a marriage. How many of our spouses would stick around if we treated them with such contempt?

And yet, day after day, He is faithful to us. He is faithful to a faithless people who treat Him like dirt much of the time. We screw up, He forgives us. We call to Him & He is there. We beg for help & He gives it. We beg for freedom from our chains and He releases us.

Because He loves us with a love so great none of us could ever even begin to tip toe close to the edge of understanding it. A love that should make us fall our our faces with every breath and praise Him.

He is so faithful to us even when we are faithless and arrogant.

Our worship pastor at church has written a song that shakes me to the core every time we sing it. The lyrics to "Forever Faithful" are below. Read it and then find a way to praise Him & be grateful to Him. For everything. Every day. He is faithful!

Let the song of faithfulness rise up from these
You have blessed
Let every strain of praise be Yours
Forever faithful and sure

Let the tale of providence ring out loud
a song of Him You sent
Every praise is Yours alone
Forever faithful and strong

Weʼve no worth, no payment we could make
Nothing deserving of Thy grace
We are faithless, frail and weak
But time after time we have seen
Youʼre forever faithful

Let the sound of thanks arise, lives set free by Your sacrifice
Every song we sing for You
Forever faithful and true

Weʼve no worth, no payment we could make
Nothing deserving of Thy grace
We are faithless, frail and weak
But time after time we have seen
Youʼre forever faithful

1 comment:

Amber @ Striving For 31 said...

So funny that you posted this... we sang "Great is They Faithfulness" yesterday and I was thinking of these things during worship.