Sunday, June 2, 2019

Knock, Knock, Who's There?

I am kind of a 'silent' person at times. My BFF will query me just to be sure I am doing okay. Because I know she is concerned for not only my emotional well-being, but my total well-being, I appreciate these little 'check-ins' from time to time. She knows I can get deep into thought, ruminating over things that have been giving me concern from time to time. Sometimes I let her know all is well - I just needed to be still for a while - to regroup and renew a little. I think God knows we need these times of stillness to just regroup - spiritually, emotionally, and physically. They are times when we find ourselves emptied of what doesn't really matter and filled with what does!

Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, and also obedience. You hear the prayer in it all. (Psalm 65:1-2)

The "prayer in it all" is the key because we come to understand God hears both our silence and our spoken word. We can never forget the third thing he "hears" - our obedience. Silence is the absence of sound or noise - when there is a "perfect stillness" we call that an absence of motion. We often don't think we have made a connection with God unless we are able to experience the noise or movement of that connection (like when we cry out loud or lift our hearts in worship). Yet, silence is actually a form of praise! Even in the quietness of waiting in his presence, we praise our God. It is a difficult thing to do sometimes, but when we actually do stop long enough to simply admire him, we connect with him in new ways! I wonder if we were to stop long enough to simply admire each other if we'd connect on a deeper level with each other?

Our obedience is also praise to God. We rarely equate obedience to praise - but God does! Obedience is submission to the control of another - who better to have in control of our lives than Jesus? God's control is sometimes more rewarding when we just "hush" long enough to enjoy it! God hears the "prayer" in it all - even in silence, prayers are lifted in ways our words cannot possibly lift them. It is important to remember that prayers are more than words that are spoken. God knows us intimately and he connects with us even in the moments of silence we allow to come between us. Maybe this is because this is where he is best able to see the submissiveness of our hearts!

We all arrive at your doorstep sooner or later, loaded with guilt, our sins too much for us— but you get rid of them once and for all. (Psalm 65:2-3)

We all "arrive" at his doorstep - no one is exempt. Some of us come to his doorstep willingly - others kicking and screaming. Still others come before him with the awful emptiness of not ever knowing him! The fact is that no one is exempt from that "arrival"! We are drawn to his doorstep - through his love. That "doorstep" is a destination with a purpose - but the journey is unique to each individual that comes. It is "sooner or later" that we all arrive - I think we'd do much better if we'd listen to his invitation SOONER! We'd save ourselves a tons of issues, loads of guilt, and a boat-load of disappointments if we'd come to him sooner! We arrive "loaded" down - carrying more than any one person was ever meant to carry. We are loaded down, burdened under the weight of our guilt, sins too much for us to handle.

We don't even "arrive" in good shape! How would you feel if every time the Fed Ex or UPS driver came to your door the package was dented, dinged, or somehow damaged? You'd probably dread opening the door to see what you'd received! Not Jesus! We come to him with our full load of blame and condemnation, probably not fully aware of all the violations in our conduct, but sensing the associated guilt of those 'missed steps' all the while. We were never meant to bear the guilt of our sin on our own - the cross did that for us. We are just meant to lay that guilt down, walking away free in his presence. We knock. Jesus answers the door! Completely, thoroughly, and without a trace of evidence that our sin ever existed, he embraces us! Too bad that we struggle with "memory disease" - remembering all that he has already forgotten in his love and grace toward us! We arrive in pretty miserable shape - he "re-shapes" our miserable state through the gentleness of his touch!

If you think your silence is not praise - think again. If you think your obedience doesn't matter - rethink that one, too. If you think you are "too far gone" for anyone to love and accept you - you'd definitely better think again! Jesus envelops our silence, relishes in our obedience, and welcomes us into his graces in spite of 'how' we arrive at his door. We are truly a blessed people! Just sayin!

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