Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Divine Dialogue #1

(NB: For my time today spent reflecting on God--which actually exceeded my time online!--I did a few things.  I listened to the Bible on CD in the car, which was narrated by James Earl Jones: WIN!  And I spent quite a bit of time imagining what would happen if I had a dialogue with God.  I wrote it in my prayer journal, and I'm going to share it here.  I encourage you to write your own divine dialogue, whether to share or to keep private. It was awesome!  My part in the dialogue is in normal font, and God's is in bold.)

Divine Dialogue #1:  What should I do for Lent?

It’s Ash Wednesday. Lord, what would you like me to do for Lent?

My child, I wish for you to rest in me.  Abide in me.  Take comfort in me.

But...but...how can I when I don’t know where you are?  Are you Protestant?  Are you Catholic? I'm really stressing about all of that right now.  I just don't know where you are and how you want me to follow you.  

I AM that I AM.  I defy human description.  You will not categorize me, but you must trust me.  Child, I invited all who are weary and heavy-laden to come to me, and to take my easy and light yoke.

That sounds good, Lord...but...

But?

But I am too fearful.  My heart IS weary, but I feel like I have to find out every truth and have every answer before I can take my rest in you.

Reflect on that thought, child.  Does it come from Me?  Do I ask for perfect knowledge?

Seems that way sometimes.  You know, Peter’s admonition to always have an answer for the hope that is within you.  

Yes, let’s take Peter as the prime example.  When I called him to be my apostle, did he know anything about me?

Just that you said to follow him.  And you did something miraculous with fish, I think.

And even after spending quite a bit of time with me, even after truly saying that I was the Christ, did he not try to talk me out of my sacrifice which would rightly save him and all mankind?

Yes, he did, and you said, “Get behind me, Satan,” to him.  That was probably a little discouraging.


It came as a shock to him, to be sure.  He realized he did not fully know me or my great design.  And what about when he suggested that he build tabernacles for me and Moses and Elijah at my transfiguration?  What happened?

Hang on, let me remind myself [searches Biblegateway.com].  Okay, after he said that--actually, WHILE he was saying it, a voice from the cloud that covered everyone said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased.  Listen to Him!”

That’s right.  I told them after that that the Son of Man must be killed and would be raised from the dead on the third day.

Seems pretty clear...

Yes, but did they know it? Did they understand that “clear” word which I had spoken?

No.  They even saw the empty tomb but didn’t grasp its significance because they had never understood what you and the scriptures before you meant.

And don’t forget about Peter not knowing what the vision of the animals lowered down from heaven meant, until I illuminated it for him. Or when he began to believe--wrongly--that to be a true Christian one had to be circumcised to belong to the faith.

I guess there were lots of things Peter didn’t know or understand until You opened his eyes and heart to receive the truth.

Yes, dear one.  That is precisely how I work.  I communicate to the people I made in so many ways:  through my living and active Word, through the Holy Spirit, through circumstances, people, places, and things.  I use everything to achieve my end. 

And is that end to glorify your triune self forever, as John Piper is always talking about?

Yes; but my glory is my essence, and my essence is love. To glorify myself is to show my love to everyone in the hope that all my creations, made in my image, will allow themselves to be drawn up into my love forever.  

That’s different than what I supposed it to mean when I heard about the sovereignity and glory of God.

How can you possibly imagine a glorious sovereign who IS love itself?  The only sovereigns you can call to mind are from fallen history.  All are impaired by the stain of original sin and seek their glory in selfish ways.  You have no paradigm for a sovereign whose glory is not bad, vain, or selfish.

Good point, God...if I may be so bold as to compliment you on your obvious greatness which I just now realized.

[good-humored laughter] My own daughter, didn’t I tell you to boldly approach the throne of mercy?  Haven’t I made a point of using the weak to confound the strong and wise?  If only you would spend MORE time listening to me and my pre-eminent wisdom.  I AM truth Himself.  In me falsehood can’t exist.  And as we’ve discussed, I specialize in revealing truths about myself to your cloudy minds in the right ways at the right times. 

Yes, about that: why can’t we just know all the truth at once?  Wouldn’t it save us from costly errors and time wasted?

Who are you to declare time wasted?  I am the Lord for whom time is but a tool, a medium that I can bend to my good pleasure.

Yes, of course, sorry.  But still, I just wish I could know everything I need to know at once.  I hate to be wrong about something so important as you.

What in all of my creation knows everything all at once?  Even angels long to look into matters beyond their ken, like the incarnation of myself, my Son.  You might as well demand that everything be “born” as a fully grown being.  You have no interest, I take it, in growth as a phenomenon?

No! I do!  I love babies! I’d be sad if my children just materialized as fully-formed adults.

Even my beloved Son, when he took on human form, humbled himself to grow not only physically but in knowledge.  He was not born knowing everything.

I guess you like journeys, then.

I do have a fondness for them.  Recall, if you will, that I have sent many people out on journeys.  Exiles, wanderings, flights, sojourns, pilgrimages: these are my stock and trade.  See what examples I will call forth to you now.

Hmmm...Abraham out of Ur; the Israelites out of Egypt; the Babylonian exile; Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem and then fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod; Jesus travelling all over the region of Judea; the walk to Golgotha itself; Jesus in disguise on the road to Emmaus, opening the eyes of his travellers; Paul on the road to Damascus and his subsequent sojourn in Arabia; his later missionary journeys.

All good examples, my dear, yet only a fractional sampling and rather limited to Bible times.  You know little as yet about the lives of many saints. 

Saints...you mean the Catholic ones?

I mean all that I have called who have answered.  I mean more than you can know.  They are my children.  I have no step-children, no illegitimate children.  I have children who enter into my embrace, however reluctantly and slowly, and children who refuse me and will not come near me.  

So Lord, when you tell me to enter into your rest...well, could you be a little more specific?  I want to make sure I’m doing it right. 

Feed the hungry.  Clothe the naked.  Help the orphan and widow.  Be charitable.  These are all specific ways to love your neighbor as yourself, which is the second greatest commandment I have given.  And the first greatest commandment is to love me with everything I give you.  Spend time with me.  

Like reading my Bible, you mean?

Always a good place to start, but by no means the only place to hear my voice.

That sounds heretical!  Oops, I think I just called YOU a heretic. Sorry, Lord.

You are silly.  But I knew that already.

Please go on.  Where else can I hear your voice?

What did David do?  I dearly love his soul for resembling my heart in many ways.

Well, he wrote a lot of songs and poems.

Yes, and I have given you a gift for writing, too.  Make use of it. What else did he do?

He meditated on your word all the time and delighted in your law.  He called to mind your mighty deeps and miracles.  He spoke to you no matter his mood or circumstances.

Yes! He was my friend.  He did not think of me only as a God powerful enough to smite him (though I am and he knew it).  He loved me and desired to spend time with me.  When he sinned and was brought to realize and repent of it, he was most grieved by how his sin offended me.  He was sorry for hurting (and killing) others, but it was the injury that he dealt to me that stung him most.  You don’t have to be perfect to be my friend, you know.  Some of my favorite people were outrageously prideful and wicked before being fully sanctified.  Some were sanctified kicking and screaming.  I believe you heard of my dear Teresa of Avila, who once shook her fist at me after being thrown from her donkey into the mud, and told me that if this was how I treated my friends it was no wonder that I had so many enemies!  I had a chuckle at that...and so did she, eventually.

Be like David, then?  Minus the murder and adultery, I take it?

Good idea.  Best to steer clear of those.

Right.  I’ll write to you and about you.  I’ll read your word.

Yes, and don’t forget to recall my mighty deeds and the strength of my arm to save.  Think of how I have saved and everyday continue to save you from yourself.  Ponder what I’ve done for you and hope steadfastly for what I have yet to do.

Yes, Lord, you have done so much in my life.

Don’t stop there, though.  Follow the lives of others in my house.  There are books upon books of saints.  You know some already, of course.  You’ve read about Corrie ten Boom and her family.  You’ve read about David Wilkerson.  You’ve read Pascal and Augustine.  But that is only scratching the surface.  The saints who have been written about constitute only a tiny, tiny portion of all the lives I’ve beautified and sanctified.  Remember when John said that if everything Jesus did were recorded, all the books in the world wouldn’t be enough to contain the records fully?

Yes, although I thought that was just exaggeration.  I mean, how much can anyone do in 33 years?

What if he was referring to things done outside of what’s recorded in scripture?  You know, all of history past, present, and future?  All the lives changed forever by His sacrifice?

Oh, duh.  Didn’t think of it like that.

I know.  That’s why I just enlightened you.

Thanks.  Okay, read up on the saints, too.

And martyrs.  Don’t forget them!  Little one, you are very fearful still.  You must immerse yourself in the stories of those past and present who were or are persecuted for my sake, yet rejoiced to remain faithful.  Great is their reward in Heaven; one small part of that reward being their continual recognition and reverence by you on earth.

I don’t know if I could be a martyr, Lord.  I’d like to think that I would have the courage to stand for you, but I’m already such a coward about it.

Small one, the word “martyr” means “witness.”  Not all I call are meant to witness with their torture and death, but all are called to be witnesses of some kind.  Fear not; I will strengthen you. 

Okay, Lord, I think I know what you’d like me to do for Lent, and always, probably.

You’re catching on, my dear child.  Listen to me.  Abide in me.  Love me.  Let me embrace you.  Let me love you without you trying to quantify, subdivide, or encapsulate me.  It cannot be done.  Yes, I have chosen to make my home in physical places, but they do not limit me.  I AM and I want you to BE.  


Thank you, Lord.  I think this is going to be the best Lenten journey yet!

4 comments:

  1. LOVE this!!! I just posted a link on my wall about a Mormon woman finding greater faith in God through looking many places to find truth. I know that theologically not all Christians agree, but I think that we can learn from each other. You are a woman of faith who I most heartily admire. Thank you for sharing this!

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  2. Thanks for sharing - I love the bits of humor that makes this so real. =)

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