I apologise for no blog yesterday. I sat here and began to write several times and for one reason or another tossed them in the trash. I finally gave up reluctantly deciding that I had nothing to share.
That wasn’t exactly true. The first thing I started to write I previewed and shook my head saying ‘I can’t write that, I’ve written that before. I can’t be there again.’ There are a lot of excuses I could give but that’s what they are – excuses. I was in that same place and if I was going to be honest (as is my intent) that’s what I should have written about.
You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours
It was this chorus that did it. We sang it on Sunday and I meant every word, but it didn’t last long- once I was home and so quickly distracted by things that meant God didn’t have it all at all. So I wrestled yesterday during my prayer and I wrestled with my blog because I have been here before and I wrestled all day with the knowledge that I should have written something (including that sneaking knowledge of what it should have been) and this morning the thought that I would sit here again without the inspiration to write was strong so God and I talked.
I’m not at exactly the same spot. If I was a huge outline of a person waiting to be filled by God then there’s a little more of me filled in than last time. I’m not going to say if it’s a huge chunk or a small patch that’s for God to know and judge. He’s actually just glad I am trying to stay in that place. I’m the one who despairs because I moved, because I am not perfect. He sees me perfect, He sees Jesus and it’s pride and self-reliance and self-righteousness that makes me want to hide my failings, scuff over the outline so no-one can see exactly what’s going on. Transparency is the order of the day with God and with those whom I trust to hold me accountable.
In Joshua 7 we read of how one of the Israelites had kept some shiny bits from Jericho, shiny things that should have been destroyed but that caught Achan’s attention so that he disobeyed God and caused the Israelites to lose the next battle. Joshua and the elders fell on their faces and what does God say? Does He say “Yes you sinners grovel in the dust and despair. I am done with you.” And then send a thunderbolt to destroy them all?
No, He says:
Eternal One: 10 Get up. What are you doing in the dirt?
He tells them how to put it right. That’s what He does for me too; He helps me pinpoint the problem and then tells me how to put it right. The solution is sometimes painful and severe, thanks to Jesus it doesn’t involve the physical destruction of me and my family but because of pride and stuff it sometimes feels like it. I read this account this morning, I also read the story of the Prodigal Father in Luke 15. Ah Jules, I hear you say, it’s the prodigal son. No, actually it’s the prodigal Father and son. Prodigal means lavish, extravagant giving or expenditure. The son wasted his money, the Father wasted His love – according to the elder son anyway. But in terms of the Father’s heart, nothing is wasted when it comes to love.
So God is delighted when I recognise my failures. He is delighted because that makes me realise again that I depend on Him and He delights to lavish His love, His grace, His mercy on me. He delights to clean me up, dress me in fine robes and bring me closer. There’s no shame in falling, the shame comes when I forget I can’t do it and try to make myself right, try to hide the failure and walk on my own.