Sunday, June 12, 2011

To tarry with Him...

So, it's officially summer in Arizona. Yep, that means we, Arizonans, are currently burning to a crispy nothingness! :-D
In addition, regardless of whether I'm in or out of school, life never seems to slow down. While I may shake my fist in frustration and despair with a cry of "Cruel life!" at my ever-growing to-do list and the fullness of life in general (combined with my already terrible habit of procrastination)...I either have to hop on for the ride or sit back and think that I can actually obtain control over my days. What it really comes down is that I'm very easily stressed and I just need to take a chill pill some days. Unfortunately, on many days, speaking to myself objectively and reasonably does not seem to penetrate my heart. *sigh* And that's why I am ever thankful for my dear Jesus. And He surely never wastes my days of stress. I say that because it always seems like it's in those moments when I'm allowing myself to become unnecessarily burdened with life (whether it be actual painful, grievous things or merely the bustle of day-to-day activities) that He brings to surface unexpected internal struggles within me that I didn't even really know (or acknowledge) were there. I don't know quite how to put it into words. It's breaking, but not crippling. It's painful, but so necessary. It always driven me back to the Cross. Even when I cannot understand why He is doing what He is doing in me, or why I have to learn the same old lessons over and over again or why I'm struggling with something that (from the outside looking in) I think is terribly ridiculous, I remember that there is comfort in His embrace.

"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:19)

I once heard a quote by Timothy Keller in which he said, "Sometimes it feels like God is killing us, when He is actually saving us." While it is true that I am righteous and holy in Christ, it is also true that underneath His cloak of righteousness, I'm a wretch. I'm so unlike Him. I'm so indifferent to my sin. There's so much of me that needs to die. I want so much to be purely devoted to Him and desire Him only, but I despise the sin in me that hinders and suffocates.
Yet, He, ever so gently whispering, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit." (Zech 4:6).And, like a child, I receive. Again. And Again. I go to the River of Life. I stretch out my "roots" to drink. Lord, not by my might, nor by my power, but by Thy Spirit.
I read this again this past week and found it so filling to my heart.

The strongest, most mature Christians....are the hungriest for God. It might seems that those who eat most would be least hungry. But that's not the way it works with an inexhaustible fountain, an infinite feast, and a glorious Lord.
When you take your stand on the finished work of God in Christ, and begin to drink at the River of Life and eat the Bread of Heaven, and know that you have found the end of all your longings, you only get hungrier for God. The more satisfaction you experience from God, while still in this world, the greater your desire for the next. For, as C.S. Lewis said, "Our best havings are wantings."
The more deeply you walk with Christ, the hungrier you get for Christ...the most homesick you get for heaven...the more you want "all the fullness of God"...the more you want to be done with sin...the more you want the Bridegroom to come again...the more you want the Church revived and purified with the beauty of Jesus...the more you want a great awakening to God's reality in the cities...the more you want to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ penetrate the darkness of all the unreached peoples of the world...the more you want to see false world views yield to the force of Truth...the more you want to see pain relieved and tears wiped away and death destroyed...the more you long for every wrong to be made right and the justice and grace of God to fill the earth like the waters cover the sea.
If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. God did create you for this. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened. I invite you to turn from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry, and to say with a simple fast: "This much, O God, I want You."
~ John Piper, A Hunger for God

And I hear Him say, "Will you tarry with Me?" Why would I ever dare refuse Him? I love Him oh so dearly...but how much more of Him I do need!

And does Thou hear the silence of my heart, Lord;

Canst Thou count the tears that never reach my eyes?

And these yearnings, which will not fit my words, Lord;

Wilt Thou feed this hidden hunger –

Desire, spawned of the Spirit, which somehow fails to rise?

“Yea, Soul, Eternity has tuned my ear to silence,

My own heart brims with tears now long unshed;

The quiet sanctuary of unspoken reverence

Is my dwelling place of old;

And in the deeps of spirit have I made my bed.”

- Jim Elliot


Nolan said...

To tarry with Him, what a title. :)

When you say that "on many days, speaking to myself objectively and reasonably does not seem to penetrate my heart" I feel like I know this all to well. And what a joy it is to be able to go to Jesus and say "LORD, I can't but you can." To no longer look to self wisdom or strength, and to surrender to His strength in every matter. The cross never ceases to amaze, and in the midst of sin to know that nothing can separate me from approaching God with confidence in Him. What joy it is to truly need the LORD.

It brings example to "Saved by His life" to fully surrender and have no safety net of ourselves, but to fall back on Him, and to take everything to Him. Even when the timing has not yet arrived, to wait in that peace and patience that the LORD provides.

I really like the Tim Keller and Piper quotes that you shared about sanctification and hunger.

May Christ demonstrate His strength in your busy weeks.

Erika said...

Thank you for these words. :-) It means very much to me as I reflect on the wonderful truths that you addressed and emphasized. I thank Him that, even when it hurts, He continues to reveal my deep need for Him alone.