Saturday, April 30, 2011

Point of no return

I'll run the course you lay out for me
      if you'll just show me how.
I long to obey your commandments!
      Renew my life with your goodness.
(Psalm 119:32, 40)

Renewal or revival is really a process of bringing something back to life again - it has been withered under the weight of time, pressures of experience, or dismay of disappointment.  With revival comes a "re-infusion" of freshness and the possibilities of something new coming forth.  I have been guilty of neglecting my houseplants for a period of time, only to realize it once I see the leaves limply hanging in protest to my neglect!  In the only way they know how to communicate with me, they are drawing attention to show me their need - for that which will bring them revival - water!  God expects us to be as transparent with him - calling out to him with our need for revival.

Revival involves us sharing our plans with God and allowing him access to the things we think we have "lined up" as the next steps with our life.  Through his Word, he exposes direction to us - we are free to accept or reject it.  Through his Word, he also exposes where we have accepted / adopted mis-direction in our lives and what it is that we can do to correct that course.  

When I have learned things through the years in my various educational pursuits, I have appreciated that there are certain principles that apply when a certain outcome is desired.  For example, you must heat a substance to a certain point and have just the right mixture of "fuel" in order to have combustion.  There is a certain sense of safety in knowing what "principles" apply in a situation.  Knowledge of those "principles" help me to avoid disastrous missteps.  

The principles we learn in our educational opportunities assist us with life's daily challenges.  Each principle carries at least one condition that must be met in order for the outcome to be positive, or disaster to be averted.  The principles outlined in the Word of God are not any different.  Each principle carries a condition - meeting that condition produces the outcome (either good or bad).  The Word of God can bring revival - it comes when we understand the force of the principles outlined.

There are times when revival (renewal) involves a process of dealing with grief - because some event or circumstance left us with pain.  Each of life's decisions creates a moment of transition - we pass from this state to the next.  For example, we pass from grade school to junior high. This transition may produce a sense of grief - old friends may not be going to the same school next term, teachers we have known for several years are no longer going to be around next year, etc.  The sense of "transitional loss" can be experienced in our emotions, thoughts, and physically.

Yet, each of these transitional moments are an opportunity for growth - the opportunity to develop new strengths, to embrace new ways of thinking, etc.  This is no different in the spiritual sense.  The opportunities of "transition" in our spiritual life are riddled with grief, as well.  We look back at what we had once experienced, sometimes grieving that we are moving on, and then come head-on with what it is that we are being transitioned into.  In those moments of time, we can either panic, looking back, holding onto the past, or plunge ahead.

The plant can suck up the water and be renewed, or it can choose to say it is beyond revival, wither and die.  We can do the same at our points of transition - "suck up" the refreshment of that which is being offered to us, or wallow in the dryness of our past experiences.  What we choose to do with the moments of transition determines our future growth!