Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace"

If we...
... never needed to be healed --- would we ever know Him as our Healer?
... never needed to be comforted --- would we ever know Him as our Comforter?
... never needed to be rescued --- would we ever know Him as our Savior?
... never felt lost --- would we ever know Him as our Shepherd?
... never felt scared --- would we ever know Him as our Protector?
... never felt exposed and in danger --- would we ever know Him as our Rampart?
... never felt weak --- would we ever know Him as our Strong Tower?
... never felt our neediness --- would we ever know Him as our Provider?
... never felt the rawness of our humanness --- would we ever know Him as our GOD?
... never felt a hunger in our souls --- would we ever know Him as our Bread of Life?
... never felt the deceit and trickery of this world -- we we ever know Him as the Truth?

We're back home on Mockingbird Road, been here for 4 days now and life feels like a dream. On our last day in Nairobi, i purposed in my heart to indulge in the thoughts of "we're going home today". Silly i suppose, but i knew full well, it would be a long, long time before i'd be able to have another day like this one. I keep diligently coaching myself with encouragements like --- "donna, no where on this earth is really 'home', not Mockingbird Road, not Kenya, not anywhere this side of Heaven"... That is real truth. But just because my head knows something doesn't mean my heart will feel it.
And so on Tuesday last, i embraced the feelings of "i'm headed 'home' tonight".

If i... never felt homesick --- would i ever know Him as my one true Home.

A bit jet-lagged and wrestling with a head cold --- i'm nesting in blankets with chicken noodle soup and orange juice as close companions.
What better time to choose the verse for this month! Last year i memorized Acts 4:29 at the urging of our pastor --- "Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servant to speak your words with great boldness." It's been a great verse to roll through my heart and soul over the past few months of trying to put into words what God is whispering to my heart.

If i never felt at a loss for words --- would i ever know Him as the complete Word.

The day after we returned home, someone i love very, very much got some challenging news. A new, unexpected chapter is in her "life book" --- she is about to see and feel God in deeper ways than ever before. Out of sincere respect for her, i will not share details --- but i will state --  my February verse will be spoken back to our Abba --- each and every day for her --- for this whole chapter in her life.
Acts 4:30 says --- "Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
It's important to note, "your" is referring to the Lord. Here's the fullness of the two verses 29 and 30 all together.
"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30

If i never felt helpless --- would i ever know you fully as my Abba?

I type out the fullness of both verses for the purpose of keeping them in context. How beautiful it is to realize -- God does not ask us to do anything alone or independent of Him. Instead He reminds us in these verses that HE will enable us, His servants, to speak His word. Then He will stretch out HIS hand to heal --- through the holy name of Jesus. God may choose to do this through us or He may choose to do this independent of us. God can certainly work independent of us --- we can never work independent of Him ---- for HE IS GOD.
Our responsibility in all this ---- to speak His words with great boldness. We are to speak because He will enable us to do so. We are also to share of the "signs and wonders".
"It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me." Daniel 4:2
Daniel did it ---- we should as well.

If i never needed a sign or wonder --- would i ever know You as the Most High God?

The people of Israel were given many signs and wonders, and yet they seemed predisposed to forget what they had seen and experienced.
---- Much like me --- oh God please forgive me for those times i carelessly forget your great signs and wonders in my own life.

If i never needed to be reminded --- would i ever realize His great faithfulness?

The apostles were given charge to perform signs and wonders, as were Steven (Acts 6:8), and Barnabas and Paul (Acts 14:3).
i believe God has a storehouse full of them ---- are some of them perhaps already labeled with your name?
I'm praying and asking for one very specific sign and wonder to be labeled with my dear loved ones name. She is a beautiful soul in my life --- a gift from God.

If we never felt the prick of disease or sickness ---- would we ever really know you as the Giver of Life?

This bowl of chicken noodle soup and this soft warm blanket are to my stuffy head and achy body ----- what YOU are to my heart and soul Lord. A deep comfort and place of rest. And so we want MORE of you ---- can you blame us?
You Lord --- have hopelessly spoiled us ----
now nothing will do ---- but more of You.

If we never knew our great need of You ---- would we ever feel the peace that comes with your prescence.
If we never knew the depth of our unworthiness --- would we ever feel the flow of your Grace.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."Matthew 11:28-30 (Message)

Photos taken by Steve in Kenya

©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

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