Wednesday, June 20, 2007

return - again and again

Aren’t we humans funny creatures? God offers love, strength, and salvation, and what do we typically do? WE RUN FROM HIM. Sometimes we even run as far away as we possibly can.

I have thought about our tendency to run from God on numerous occasions - usually while I am in full flight! I was reminded recently in a Devotional from Richard Rohr where he asks, did you notice God had to close the ark to keep the animals and the humans from running away from their salvation?

Earlier this year I spoke at our church regarding Isaiah 30:15-18:
13 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.

16 You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.'
Therefore you will flee!
You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.'
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill."

18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

This is an often quoted passage and a favorite amongst contemplative people, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” We tend to leave out the part about but you would have none of it.” I had to chuckle when I was preparing my talk for church. Here is this nice little passage about quietness and rest and then BAM - rejection! God is offering the Israelites salvation and strength, but they reject it, and he knows that they are going to “flee.”

The good news is, God knows us, and our salvation isn’t up to us. He knows our propensity to rely on our own strength instead of his, and “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you” Do we get the picture? God is NOT like some jilted lover who "goes postal” because we reject him. He is the exact opposite. God is so gracious and compassionate. He "longs" for us to return to him. We may say no to God a hundred times a day, and yet, AND YET, he still longs for us to trust him and rises in compassion as soon as we turn the slightest bit in his direction.

learning to pray: Our part is to discover and practice the prayer(s), or the spiritual disciplines that will help us to return to God again and again. It doesn't have to be something major that takes a lot of time - simply return, simply remember. The key is who God is: He is waiting with open arms, longing for us to return to him.

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