Monday, August 29, 2011

When God Asks the Question: Where Are You?

There are things I know.
There are things I forget.
There are things I need to remember.
And so, so often those things I need to remember
are the very things I oh-so-conveniently forget.
This is one of them:
God sees me.
No matter where I am,
no matter what I am doing,
no matter how I am feeling,
God sees me.

But God is not forcefully invasive,
God does not pound me over the head,
God does not shake me to break me.
God, the omipotent, omnipresent One,
God who is beyond my understanding,
beyond my ability to conceptualize,
beyond me -
this One comes to the garden in the evening,
gently looking under leaves and branches,
and calls out in a soft and loving voice,
"Where are you?" 

"Where are you?"

From the earliest pages of our scriptures,
God seeks us out.
Yet God pays us the immense privilege of respecting
our boundaries,
our choices,
our very selves,
because...God waits for us to answer.
It's as simple - and as complicated - as that.
Simple because...God desires a relationship,
a real, honest, open relationship with us.
Complicated because...we're not at all sure we're
ready for that.
So we hide.
We stitch ourselves a handy-dandy little coat of fig leaves
and we hide ourselves away.
Ashamed, embarrassed, angry, lonely, fearful -
whatever emotional stew we are cooking in at any given moment - 
we convince ourselves that God couldn't possibly
want us in the middle of that mess.
So we withdraw.
We learn to numb ourselves.
We shut the doors of our hearts and we stand aloof.
And all the time,
God whispers,
"Where are you?
Where are you?" 

And all the time, 
the only answer God wants is:
"Here I am, Lord. Here I am."
Here I am.
In the middle of my mood,
in the middle of my sin,
in the middle of my fear.

So today, today, Lord - here I am.
Tired, worried, uncertain, longing for you.
Working my way through hurt feelings, wounded pride, 
ugly jealousies and insecurities, doubts
that creep in and around and threaten to undo me.
Wondering if you're there, wondering if you hear me,
wondering if you see me, wondering if I am enough.
Here I am.
"Everyone needs compassion, 
love that's never failing. 
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness, 
the kindness of a Savior. 
The hope of nations."
I sing it from the bottom of my heart this morning,
deeply thankful that you invite me to be with you,
no matter what shape I'm in,
no matter how messed up I am,
no matter what.

With heartfelt thanks to Pastor Don Johnson, Bob Gross and the worship team, our small group friends who call me to honesty and openness. 
Yesterday's worship service was wonderfully rich, 
and I look forward to every single sermon in this new series: 
"When God Asks the Questions."
Joining today with Michelle DeRusha at Graceful for her weekly invitation to, "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday," and with Jen at FindingHeaven and the solideogloria sisterhood and also with that trio of talented ladies who invite us to share Scripture and a Snapshot each week: