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Monday, September 26, 2011

Give me space!

I run for dear life to God, I'll never live to regret it.  Do what you do so well:
      get me out of this mess and up on my feet. Put your ear to the ground and listen, give me space for salvation.  Be a guest room where I can retreat;
      you said your door was always open! You're my salvation—my vast, granite fortress. 
(Psalm 71:1-3)

One of the things that I find amazing in scripture is just how many times we have the idea of "running to", "seeking", "hiding within", etc., as we examine the various responses we have toward the safety of God.  We run to him - hoping to find the answers we need.  We seek him out - because we cannot possibly find any other source like him.  We hide within the shelter of his wing - knowing that our enemies cannot possibly overtake us when we are that close to his heart.  Our psalmist reminds us that we will never live to regret these steps we take toward God!

Well, the simple truth is that we often run to God, seek his shelter, and look for him to hold us near when we are in trouble!  It is a natural response to "run to" what gives us security and safety.  Here, we find the honesty of our psalmist - he is in a mess!  Probably a man-made mess, at that!  He has fallen - why else would he have to ask God to put him back up on his feet again?  The fact is, we also find ourselves in some pretty awkward places - man-made messes that leave us fallen and in the mire of our sin.  Just like the psalmist, we call out for God to "fix" what we cannot.

That is what the psalmist is counting on - that God will fix what he cannot.  There are times when we just don't have the answers to our challenges.  We continue to fall into the same sin over and over again.  We feel defeated and like we just cannot get back on our feet.  I call this being in the mully grubs.  It is the state where we feel hopeless, depressed, and all alone in our issues. I think that is where the psalmist finds himself.

The next words tell us much about how we "get out" of the mully grubs - we ask God to pull us out!  To give us space for salvation.  When we use the term today, "Give me some space," we are really saying we need time to see something worked out.  Our psalmist says he wants God to give him space for salvation - I think he is asking God to give him mercy when he falls, pick him up again, dust him off, and let him set out again on the course God has designed for him.  

We all know that we will fall, don't we?  Sometimes I am amazed at how many Christians actually think that "salvation" implies walking "right" 100% of the time!  Guess what?  If we could do that, we'd be in heaven right now - because we would have reached perfection!  Until that time, we will fall!  Until that time, we will need God to "give us space" for salvation!

It is important to recognize that God "gives us space", but we should never take that "space" for granted - as though it were a license to live however we wanted.  In this "space" God gives us, he is transforming us little-by-little into the men and women he desires for us to become.  He is "working out" our salvation by "working out" our sin!  It is kind of like what we do when we re-model a house.  We begin with the demolition work (working out the old) and then we install the new stuff (seeing the transformation of the old into the beauty of the new).  

So, today you will need a little "space" for salvation to be worked out in your life.  Don't despair!  The good news is that God gives us that "space" and we ARE being transformed.  The demolition of the old may take a while and the construction of the new may seem like an unending task - but the work is underway!  You are a new creation in Christ Jesus - old things have passed away and all things have become new!