A stirring stick
The journey you travel - what does it look like for you today? Some of us have been on a dead-end journey for a while, kind of just going along, but not really getting to anywhere worth all the effort. It is indeed hard to correct a course when it has been going along for quite some time, even when it is not getting us to where we want to be, isn't it? It is like we get way too comfortable just plodding along on that journey - not really satisfied, but comfortable because we 'know' the course well. When we say 'yes' to Jesus, we find ourselves making some immediate course corrections, and others come along the way that we didn't even know we'd be asked to make, but we make them. The first ones may be a little easier than the latter - maybe because we are experiencing God's grace and redeeming power in a very special way at that point in our lives. When the latter course corrections have to come, we may not be as excited about them because they will be a little harder, getting at a little deeper stuff in our character that we have buried, denied, or even not really know was there. Those are the hard corrections, but they are also some of the most rewarding.
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God. (I Peter 1:18-19)
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God - that pretty well sums it up, doesn't it? This 'deep consciousness' isn't just instantaneous in our lives. Conscious appreciation of all that God asks of us and how he works in our lives is kind of a 'learned thing'. You have to keep exposing yourself to it and then eventually it kind of 'sticks'. I watched a show the other night that was a little 'gross' in terms of what this African tribe does to stay well nourished in the barrenness of the desert. They actually 'blood-let' their cattle and mix that blood with the cow's milk and then drink it. While it absolutely made me gag to even think of such a thing, I observed something quite interesting. They took a stick and stirred the cow's blood vigorously for a good few minutes. During that time, the 'solid parts' of the blood began to congeal and stick to the sides of that stick. That congealed part was good food for the dogs, but it wasn't what they consumed. They consumed what was left - the 'purer' parts of the blood. The stick and stirring did something - it brought together the stuff that wasn't needed and then it could easily be removed from the mixture.
In many ways, the consciousness we maintain in our journey with God is kind of like having a big stick constantly 'stirring up' the stuff in us that doesn't belong and needs to be removed from the 'mixture' in our lives. As we think upon his scriptures, enjoying quiet time in his presence, and then talk with him about the things he is showing us, the stick is stirring and the 'not so good parts' of our lives are beginning to cling together. In time, because of our continual consciousness of him and his presence, we can actually see the things being 'removed' from our lives that don't really serve any good purpose for our journey. The stirring of our lives is oftentimes something we resist - we don't like things being 'disrupted'. I have said this before, but it bears repeating - God disturbs our present because he is preparing us for our future. Out of chaos he brings order. We may not know what needs to be removed from our lives, but along the way, God stirs and stirs. In time, those things we have held onto for so long begin to 'hold onto' his 'stirring stick' and then at the point when he knows the things we need to let go of are firmly attached to the 'stirring stick', he takes them away and we are left with nothing but the best. It is hard to be 'stirred', but considering what happens when we are, I think the stirring process is kind of neat! Just sayin!