Friday, August 8, 2014

Another nesting season

There are times when God just want to hear from us that we desire him to be close enough to us to actually "feel" his presence - almost like we feel the breath of one so close to us that their every exhale is sensed.  This desire of our hearts sparks something within God's heart which almost demands his immediate response - simply because when our hearts are so eager to connect with him, he cannot help but respond!  Word pictures abound in scripture - allowing us to somehow connect the thought of the words with actual actions we understand.  I think God does this because we need "pictures" - they help to speak into our lives what otherwise would just be words.  I know it is much easier to assemble something when I have both the illustration and the words.  The words alone could get me to the finished product - but those photos or illustrations "speak" to me about how to get it done in a way the words just could not.  Since God knows us so well, it makes sense he makes provision for how it is we best sense him, what we respond to, and where it is we come into our deepest place of learning.

With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.  When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.  I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.  Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.  Let those who fear you turn to me for evidence of your wise guidance.  And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.  (Psalm 119:73-80 MSG)

Since God is the one who formed us, it makes sense he knows how we think, what it takes to bring us to a place of response, and how best we learn - so he will use what he knows about us to create the right "learning environment" for us.  Within that "environment", he will use the "tools" necessary to bring about the response from us he desires.  This might not be the environment we would choose, nor are the tools always the ones we are most familiar with. Yet, both are specifically designed for us - not someone else, but us.  As David cries out, "...breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you...", he is really in a place of waiting upon God to take some particular course of action in his life.  We often find ourselves in this same situation - we know God is there, even that he has designed the place we are at, but we just don't know what he intends for us in that place yet.  In asking God to "breathe" into our lives, we are inviting him to reveal that purpose.

God's wisdom comes like the breath from God's very nostrils - it is "palpable" to a hungry soul!  There is something about waiting which creates expectation, so when the answer finally comes and revelation begins to occur, we almost sense it as we would our own heartbeat!  What is happening is that we are sensing the touch of God in our lives - and he is delighted when we finally do.  What does this "touch" of God actually do for us?  According to our writer, it brings us into the place of trusting God's decisions for our lives and appreciating the differences between what he desires for us (right) and those things he would desire us to stay away from (wrong).  In the place God prepares, we come into this revelation - there is no substitute for it!

Have you ever asked God to "love you" - to hold you so tight that you just could not deny he was in control of your life?  I have!  In fact, I often ask him to to just envelop me in his arms - because I know I am the safest there and near enough his heart to sense what it is he is doing in my life when all around me is in chaos.  Word pictures in scripture refer to God's sheltering "wings":

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. (Psalm 91:4 GW)

Keep your eye on me; hide me under your cool wing feathers from the wicked who are out to get me, from mortal enemies closing in.  (Psalm 17:8-9 MSG)

They are a place of refuge - protection - and insight.  As a young bird is sheltered in the nest, the mother bird covers over these birds with her wingspan.  She almost "tucks them up under" those wings - giving them shelter from the winds that blow, the predators who soar high overhead looking to swoop in on the young, and to provide warmth until they grow their own feathers (giving them the ability to maintain their own body heat).  Apt word picture of how God brings us into "nesting" places in our lives, where we might crawl up under his wings, sheltered from what would harm, but able to grow until we can stand strong and soar high!

What does this place of "refuge" really do for us?  It helps us to live "whole" and "holy".  It brings us into a place of letting go of the things which no longer belong in our lives - things which keep us from making forward progress.  Just as a mother bird preens the tiny birds under her wing, God "preens" us with his tender and attentive care.  He is removing the things which don't belong and seeing to it that "space" is created for the new growth in our lives.  The mother bird will preen out some of those downy feathers in order to make room for the growth of those feathers which will help the baby bird to one day take flight!  God isn't dissimilar in how he works in our lives - those places of refuge may very well be times of "preening" and "removal of stuff which just doesn't belong anymore" - with the end result being to see us become both "whole" and "holy".  Just sayin!

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