Thursday, July 30, 2009

Love covers a multitude of sins

It's funny when these things come to you. Sometimes we sit up late at night with our leather-bound journal and our peppermint tea latte straining to have some inkling of creative inspiration or tap into some God-whispered mystery, when all the while God wishes to speak to us in his way and on his watch. Such was the occasion today when I was sitting in introduction to worship music class and mid-lecture, I found my mind drifting to God's love.

In this season at Bible College, I have had some rather large hurdles with health that, quite frankly, make me think at times that it might be best to take time off from school and simply rest up, get better, and come back when I'm healthy. But that's making a lot of assumptions. That's assuming everything goes according to plan, that everything in this plan will be safe, and that in the end, everything will work out the way I foresaw.

What, then, about relationships? Do these usually go according to plan? There's actually a lot in relationship that probably will not go according to plan. There's the chance you could get hurt--a big chance, actually. What if you are married and then, a year into marriage, much like C.S. Lewis's story, you find your spouse has an incurable disease about which neither of you knew. Obviously, this will dramatically change your lives. In a similar way, God chose to enter into relationship with humanity, even at the great risk of being hurt, and hurt deeply at that. But what is love's response to the sin that we willfully brought into our world? The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. But can the cure for all of our greatest trials and pains really be distilled down to this love of which the Bible speaks?

Oftentimes in life, the temptation is to look at the peripheral, those things which seem to be most pressing and those directly at hand. Let's go back to the newly-married couple. Perhaps the introduction of this disease into their lives makes things hard--very hard. What would one think if the couple separated in order to allow one partner to heal from the disease before coming back to the marriage--all this in order to prevent any tainting of the marriage? I would hope one finds the idea as rediculous as do I. The healthy response for the couple would seem to work through this new and unexpected trial together, letting their love for each other grow, flourish, and ultimately carry them through their hardship, and on the other side of it all, posessing a stronger and more perfect love than ever before.

Isn't it much the same in our relationship with God? At least in my life, it is often tempting when I realize something needs fixing in my life to tell God, "Ok, I'm going to go work on this and then come back to you. Is that cool?", when in real-time, this isn't the reality of relationships. When things get tough in life, God's perfect love expands to exceed the trial's demands. Of this I am convinced: God wants our trials to make us fall back into his arms of love rather than drive us further into ourselves and striving, self-effort, self-help, and self-promotion. In our trials, God is desiring for us to catch a complete glimpse of his perfect love and grace. Oftentimes, it takes such trial to get us to this point. This is why, for me personally, I don't believe that simply packing up to work on the peripherall of my health is the main issue at hand. I believe the Lord is showing me something more profound--calling to the deeper places in my heart. He is asking me to trust him in faith and let his love cover everything--all pains, all ailments--and alllow his perfect love to be made complete in my life. This is truly one of God's greatest graces of which I have yet known.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The adventure continues..

Wow, I can't believe it. I officially have a blog! It has taken a while to get started but it's up and running and that's all that counts. And it's my goal to keep all those I care about, my family and friends, updated on what is going on in my journey.
This "maiden voyage" post finds me in Sydney, Australia, just stepping into my second semester at the Hillsong International Leadership College. The first semester has been quite the journey, and I hope to dedicate a full posting or two to to more fully document it. As I begin this next semester, I am mindful of God's provision in getting me here and keeping me here and I find it vital that I give Him praise for his faithfulness.
In order to best explain this, I must briefly recap my time here thus far. During my time here in Bible College with Hillsong, I have run into several health problems which unfortunately climaxed while beginning my studies in Australia. This has limited what I have been able to do in my time here. However, God has provided for me in amazing ways. After my loving family and friends back home have contributed in prayer and even financial support for my time here, I have been able to step into my second semester here at Hillsong. And after wondering which direction was in store for next semester and provision, God surprised me yet again with an amazing group of friends from my home church, Maranatha Baptist in Logan, Utah, who spent a great amount of time in prayer interceeding for me. During this time, I felt great breakthrough in my situation and also in direction for my future time with Hillsong. Then about a week later, a financial gift from an anonymous source simply turned up in my home mail box in Utah. This gift more than doubled what I had pledged to give to our "Heart for the House" offering at Hillsong--a financial gift meant to pour into our church's ministry for reaching people worldwide with the gospel and sharing Christ's love. Oftentimes, this goal is accomplished through meeting the practical needs of food and shelter of those in third world countries or providing disaster relief for people caught in tragedies such as the devastating flooding in Fiji.
So, this is what blew me away: Just that day I had prayed for God to provide a way for me to be in college if that's where he wanted me to stay. (At this point, I was considering taking time away from college to get my health settled before continuing.) My mom then called me literally right as I finished praying and gave me news about this financial provision which had just come through. I was just blown away by God showing me that he had not forgotten this act of faith and that he was wanting to provide for my time in Bible College here in Australia and take care of me.
So, the adventure continues this next semester and I take it day by day, seeking the Mana from heaven daily, and receiving the provision I need for each day. And do you know what I'm discovering? It's not always comfortable in the process, but it's an exciting place to live from and it's teaching me trust the Lord more fully. I'm excited to see where the Lord takes me this semester as I seek him day by day. And he's teaching me more and more to seek his face and not his hand to change my circumstances or bring what I think I need. I am realizing more and more that we are transformed in his presence and in his presence is fullness of joy and the joy of the Lord is truly our strength! Out of this place of intimacy, we find true fullfillment and provision.