Salvation, independence and a deep grief….

Isaiah 30:15 “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.  Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me – the very thing that you have been unwilling to do” (The Message) 

In the past I have loved this verse – in other versions it speaks of in “repentance and rest is salvation, in quietness and trust is strength”.  I loved the fact that it spoke of strength and salvation and quietness and trust until suddenly this scripture, as phrased by Eugene Petersen took on a new meaning for me.  This morning I read a devotional by Rob Stegmann which spoke of the fact that God was grieved by man’s wickedness  and his heart was filled with pain (Genesis 6:6).  (Rob’s writing can be read here : http://robstegmann.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/broken-heart)

Then I reflected back to Isaiah 30:15 and had to (painfully) acknowledge that my hard fought for independence, the pride I had in having managed my life thus far was actually an idol.  It was a silly effort to save me.  It was something that bought God’s heart pain and my refusal to acknowledge that actually, this was and is something that I am struggling to relinquish and give over to him, deepens that pain.   Especially in a season where I am being asked to rest in God and trust a process – a process that is filled with risk and feels totally out of control.   Despite this being confirmed over and over and over again by different people in different parts of the country, of my world, who have no connection to each other – I kept saying yes, BUT… resting is one thing – but aren’t we called to active rest. Aren’t I supposed to be looking at options, you know actively committing our days to God and pressing into things while we wait for him to open or shut doors?  Things don’t just happen.  God honours our intentions and our actions not sitting around reading all day – and my rent doesn’t get paid by my perception of resting.   Yes, if I look at the motives and my heart intentions, I am challenged.

Actively resting in God means that when I want to say:

“Yes, but practically what does that look like?” the answer is:

  • Whose story is this?  Yours or MINE?
  • Are you on MY team or am I on yours as a resource?
  • You trust me with your soul and its eternal being – and yet you can’t trust me with the here and now detail?

You have forgotten I AM THE PRIZE – your “practical what does that look like” means to remember that you practically see ME.  Not the need, not the unknown. Me.  Your independence separates you from me.  You can’t hear a voice you are not willing to listen to.  Seek me with ALL your heart and then you will find me.   When you come looking for me, and want it more than anything else, I will make sure you won’t be disappointed (Jer 29:13 – The Message).

I have caused God deep pain.  Me.  Alexa.  The woman seeking to take on injustice and find ways of helping people see that they matter.  I have caused God pain.   Yet in the midst of this Isaiah (30:18) states:

“BUT God’s not finished.  He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.  He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.  God takes the time to do everything right.  Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones” 

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