Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Great Exchange

It has been a while since I have blogged because I frankly have been struggling with who I am and where I am and what I am supposed to be doing, and it is very difficult to write in the midst of a battle. It all started with a trip to a marriage conference with my wife, and as God is prone to do, He addressed way more than my marriage. He plunged into the depths of me and brought up what was there and I was none too proud of it all. In fact it made me mad because I thought all of that stuff was “under the blood of Jesus” and gone and forgotten. He quickly showed me how it was still affecting the way I act and think and respond to others (including my wife), and that even though Jesus had paid the price for its removal I had simply hidden it all away instead of allowing Him to take it away. In fact, I was lying to myself thinking it was gone when it manifested itself every day in the way I acted and lived. I then spent some time in sheer drudgery and in even more anger because I began to rehash through all of my old stuff, but I forgot that God is found in conversations and not in mere introspection, so that opened the door for the accuser to come in and just hammer me. Finally, God got my attention and gently reminded me that He is often found in the conversations of life, in the face-to-face interactions with others that I so rarely enter into and even more rarely seek out. He began to show me that if I would simply listen to what He has to say, that His truth was more than adequate to set me free. Even deeper than that was the fact that the truth was found in the seeking itself; that is, in my simply being present with Him and before Him, I am being transformed. In other words, I don’t have to work to be perfect anymore. I can actually be honest before Him and give Him all of my failure and heartache and loss and allow Him to give me Himself. WOW! It’s no wonder it is called “the great exchange!” So, that is the point today. I had to learn that God doesn’t want me to clean up before I can approach Him. Rather, He saw me off in the distance dirty and stinking and covered in pig filth, and He ran to me. And before I could even explain what had happened and what I had done, He was looking at me and saying, “Bring the best clothes, put the ring on his finger, and let’s have a big party! My boy is home!” THAT is God. That is how He responds to me right in the midst of my garbage. And that is how He responds to you, too.

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