Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Honesty

September 21st, 2009

Today, I was praying and God wasn't giving me any answers. I'm not the most patient person but I was feeling so low. I needed an answer... even if it was just, “I'm listening, child.” Finally, I cried out in frustration, “God, where are you?!”
“Are you being honest with Me?”
I stopped short. No, I was not being completely honest and forthright.
There are some things in my heart that I am ashamed to admit to God. There are some motives that are so evil and selfish that I cannot bear the thought of Him seeing them. And what of the thoughts in my mind I have that are so fearful... and the lust that I battle with and sometimes lose to?
I, who am a child of God. When did I forget His power? When did I begin to battle in my weakness? When did I begin to love sin more than purity? What must God think of me?
But He has seen. My Master is Truth and He sees all of my heart. It makes no difference if I try to cover it with fig leaves.
There is such a shame when you realize you didn't have to fall. When you realize that you were the one who dropped the sword and looked away from God. That it was you, not Him that let the handclasp loosen. There is not a single justification that would stand the test of God's scrutiny. No excuse that would allow me to shrug off the blame. Not one! I stand before God with nothing but God's love to cover me. And I am trembling in disgrace and regret.

But get this, God loves a penitent heart. Today, I remembered what it is like when in God's will and care. And I came back. Sometimes, when I'm praying it's like I can do nothing but fall on my face at His feet and ask Him to forgive me. I do not get reborn or saved again. I had not fallen from grace. But I had lost something I hold very dear: my fellowship with God... the place where I can look into His face and not feel ashamed because there are no secrets between us. The place where I feel at rest and ready for what comes because He will carry the load. The place of joy and love.
It is so precious being friends with God, because it is not all fuzzy and warm. God is such a perfect mixture of power and grace, anger and peace, justice and love. There is much more to Him than that, but you, my friend, will have to discover it for yourself... If you wish to.
Sometimes, when I write, I don't want to be honest with you, the readers. I don't want you to know how I am sometimes. I don't want to you know how I get so angry at my little sister that I yell angry words at her. When I snap at my brother for being such an idiot. The times I flirt with a guy that catches my interest (for the record, I don't believe all flirting is wrong... but I believe it is when done without a basis of a serious relationship). When I think self righteously, “Thank goodness I'm not that person!” The moments I do not take each individual seriously and pass them without thought as I hurry on my way through life. When pride keeps me from doing something that would bless and encourage someone. When I see Mom's tired face and turn and walk the other way. When I say things that sound so spiritual and good... and feel that lift of pride in my heart that God would use me.
I look at these faults and many others and I don't want the world outside my home to know they exist. But the struggles, as well as the victories are what makes me who I am. No, I am not perfect but God is and I can pray towards that. Sometimes I despair of ever being the Christian God wants me to be. That I should be with His power, grace and love!
But there are two ways to all things: the devil's way or God's way. I could despair and give up. Or, I could give it up to God and say, “Here. I don't know what to do with it. But You do.”
I don't know how to be a better person. I don't know how to stop forgetting. I don't know how to be a great impact on this world. But I do know this: giving it up to God brings the greatest joy and peace I have ever experienced... and it gets better every day. And I wish more people could experience it.

Yesterday, I stayed at home with my spots (if I was yellow and my spots black, you could mistake me for a leopard. :-P ;-)) while the others were at a church and a potluck. I was seated comfortably on the couch, reading Louis L'Amour when suddenly, someone knocked at the door. Whoever in the world? I wondered, scurrying to answer it. It turned out to be a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the men is the brother of the former owner of our place. He is in his 80's and just a bit senile, which made the visit all the more interesting. We talked small talk for the first bit, then, the other man (who was probably in his 40's) began talking about the literature they had brought.
I find this group difficult to argue with. In fact, impossible. I find they think completely different than I do, therefore the arguments I could think of have no effect. Besides, I didn't really want to argue. So I listened without agreeing or disagreeing. But all the while I was praying for wisdom. I knew God had sent those men to our door and I knew He wanted me to learn something or share something. But I had no idea what it was.
So I waited.
I can't even remember how the subject turned from their literature to where the older man, Louis, was born. But turn it did and we were suddenly talking about being born in Hungary and surviving the first world war while your father served six years on the front. The horrors that made his hands shake and his eyes turn bleak with remembering, even after all these years.
This went on for several minutes... then, the other man shifted uncomfortably and blurted out, “That's why the prophecies in scripture about the coming Kingdom of God are so important! They are all coming true. The great wars and earthly conflict.” (Forgive me, sir, for not quoting you exactly.) He went on for a few minutes as I stood there and listened, then God showed me what I was so speak.
“But to be ready for God's Kingdom, much must happen in our hearts. We must embrace His love, holiness and goodness.”
“But the Kingdom! We must prepare ourselves for the Kingdom!”
Not long after that he told me that he and Louis were not getting paid for spreading the word about the prophecies. How they were doing their good deeds through this.
I asked, “But sir, are you bringing people hope? Are you bringing them God's love?” I watched the look in the man's eyes and then, I saw it. Perhaps God did not want me to tell this man anything. Maybe He simply wanted me to look in this man's eyes and see the pain and frustration of knowing it is not enough. That in spite of his good intentions, he is without hope.
His heart wants so badly to do what is right. And he believes that he is doing what is right... in fact, he believes it so much that it has gone a little to his head. I feel for him. I can't imagine being in his position. The dedication. The many hours spent spreading what his organization tells him is right. All in vain.
I pray that the man will have seen God through me. After they left, I felt so sad because I know I can never do enough to make a difference. Then, it was like God cupped my chin with His hand and forced me to look at Him, “All things are possible with God.”
All things...
My friend Abigail wrote this: “Faith is expecting God to accomplish miracles through insignificant me with my five loaves and two fishes.”
Expecting miracles is making me continue to lift this man in prayer. Will you join me?

Can you drop a comment about how God has been working in your life lately? Or if you have a prayer request you would like me to pray about? Perhaps God has shown you something that I have missed. Will you share it with me and other readers? Or if you would like it to be private, you can drop me an email by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom of this post.
God bless you (even if you don't leave a comment. LOL! :-D).

10 comments:

bekah said...

Great article!!

Ray said...

Interesting viewpoint! You state that the work that we do was “all in vain” we merely obey the direct command from Gods son Jesus Christ who stated at (Matthew 28:19-20) . . .Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded YOU. And, look! I am with YOU all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”
Also the first century Christians copied this as you can read at (Acts 5:42) . . .”And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus”. Your viewpoint about the kingdom is relevant, though god’s kingdom is a government already set up in the heavens shortly to take over mans affairs, please read in your Bible Daniel chapter 2 verses 44. Feel free to contact me with any questions at royalmandotry@gmail.com have a great day!

DelightinginHim said...

If I have ever read such a convicting post, this is it. I do those things too, my flesh sins daily. And it grieves me. I do not understand why I choose that over God's goodness. Being honest is hard and humbling, thank you for that! I have come to realize that the first step is being honest with ourselves and I need to start there. And come back to the arms of God, yes, even if it is a daily thing.


Have had those visits from JW before and you're right about arguing with them. But I think you did the right thing. I know his past must hold a lot of pain for him and I pray he finds the love and hope in the lord.

Naomi said...

Thanks for the comments! :) I appreciate feedback. It's interesting to see who is reading this blog. :)

Ray, I assume you're JW? All of the things you listed from those verses are good things. But if they take the place of our relationship with God (i.e. we start depending on works instead of faith to save us), that is when it is in vain. If they do not take the place of our faith, then I believe preaching God's word and gathering disciples/believers are good things. This doesn't just go for JW's but for all religious groups. :)

Jaclynn, thanks so much for your thoughts. You always encourage me! ::hugs::

Samantha R. said...

This really touched my heart. Made me think of how God was really convicting me about grace. And how I often don't extend that same grace towards my fellow men. If God can forgive me and give me grace each day, why can't I do the same for those around me. How dare I be "holier-than-thou"....
that really convicted me!
How often I become self-righteous in my thinking and actions... *shudders*

And then God has also been teaching me about faith and hope.
He gave me Hebrews 11 last week.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

All these instances of faith gave me such faith myself... to keep hoping and believing and trusting in my Savior.

Hebrews 12 and 13 were wonderful too!


"My friend Abigail wrote this: “Faith is expecting God to accomplish miracles through insignificant me with my five loaves and two fishes.”

Expecting miracles is making me continue to lift this man in prayer. Will you join me?"

I love what Abigail said; so true! and yes, I'll join you in prayer for this man.

*hugs*
Keep running the race set before you!

Rachel Sokolik said...

Thanks, Naomi, for sharing from your heart. I needed to read this post today.... oh, how I needed to read it! Thank you for being willing to share what God wants you to, even though it undoubtedly was painful to write. I love you!♥

Nathan said...

Hello Naomi;
I found your blog when I visited Cheri Cross' "Joyful Handmaiden" blog.

I found your insight into the JW incident helpful, especially since they frustrate me, and lately we've had a lot of them coming by, (I guess I have a few lessons to learn about that, so the Lord keeps bringing them back). I appreciate your patience with them and I see that you took the high road.
I am of the conviction that whatever we do on our own initiative is doomed and when we wait on the Lord and do what He tells us we are on the right path. I feel like the JWs, and for that matter anyone who whips up the crowd to do things on their own steam, are totally barking up the wrong tree. Bless you for being obedient and seeing the human side of them.

Nathan

Naomi said...

Hi Nathan. Thanks so much for your kind words! I am blessed that you were blessed. :) That sounds cliche but it's very true.

I'll be praying that God will show you what He wants you to learn. As it is, I'd say you're well on your way as you're searching and seeking for His way. God bless you. :)

Ray said...

True faith is not passive belief; it is backed up by action. The Bible writer James explained: “Faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.” (James 2:17)
Jesus urged his followers to have the kind of faith that would move them to action: “My Father is glorified in this, that you keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples.” (John 15:8) Later, Jesus’ half brother James wrote: “Become doers of the word, and not hearers only.” (James 1:22) How, though, can we know what to do? By word and example, Jesus indicated what we need to do to please God.
While on earth, Jesus worked hard to promote Kingdom interests and to glorify his Father’s name. (John 17:4-8) In what way? Many people may call to mind Jesus’ miracles of healing the sick and the crippled. But Matthew’s Gospel makes clear the principal way: “Jesus set out on a tour of all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom.” Notably, Jesus did not limit his ministry to speaking casually to a few friends and acquaintances or to those he came in contact with locally. He exerted himself vigorously, using whatever means were available to him to visit people “throughout the whole of Galilee.”—Matthew 4:23, 24; 9:35.
Jesus directed his followers to share in the disciple-making work as well. Indeed, he provided a perfect example for them to imitate. (1 Peter 2:21) Jesus told his faithful disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matthew 28:19, 20.

Singing Pilgrim said...

Naomi, my reaction when I read this was just this:

I love Naomi! I love her, I love her!

Yes, we're internet strangers, but we're also sisters. I know what this feels like. And I love you.