Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Awe Factor

I finished reading Job today. I have been trying to read the entire Bible in a year for a very long time, as long as I can remember.
And in my old age of thirty-something, I have come to the realization that not everything in life needs to work exactly like I plan. In fact, nothing will go as I plan, and just because I miss one day of my reading plan, or two, or 50, doesn't mean I can't still continue on through the Bible.

So, yes. I am behind on my reading plan, but I finished Job today nonetheless. Which was a huge success for me. I usually give up somewhere around Job (I like to go chronoligically rather than front to back, and Job comes after the first 11 chapters of Genesis, so you can see I don't make it very far).

I get to Job, and I get depressed. Who really wants to read a story about a man who loses all his family, all his belongings, and his health, all because Satan had something to prove to God... AND, here's the part I have trouble with... God LET Satan use Job to prove Himself instead!

But this time, I loved Job. I really did.

Even all the speeches from his friends, and his speeches, long and drawn out as they were, have so much in them.

But today as I finished, I felt the writer of Job should have done a better job at brining home the fantastic conclusion. Instead, there is just a paragraph, after all that talking, that is basically summed up in, "And he lived happily ever after."

Maybe it's the writer in me, but I want a big fanfare of resolution.

As I finished I sat in my little blue rocking chair that does not match my bedroom in anyway, and pondered God.

The last part of the book, God describes himself sarcastically to Job. Job defends himself up to this point, all along the way, saying, "I am innocent! Put me on trial and I will prove my innocence! I don't deserve this. What have I done to be treated so unfairly by You, God?" (not exactly his words, but rather the Amy Mykytiuk reader's digest version).

God stays silent throughout Job'scomplaining (which I totally understand and have no judgement toward Job for that), but finally in the end speaks out in sarcasm.
Summed up, God says, "Oh, that's right, I forgot. You were there when everything was created. You control everything. I completely forgot, you are omnipotent, omniscient, all-powerful, and equal to me."

Now that's not what He really says, but that's sort of his message. He's sarcastically reminding Job of who HE is.

This is my favorite question God poses to Job.

"Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep?" Job 38:16

I think I love it because I truly imagine the deep of the sea to be an unreachable place. I never really imagined God strolling along the sea floor, where the undiscovered creatures roam. That's an unfathomable place.

I can imagine him in the universe, because that is sort of where we place him and heaven, out there in space somewhere. But the utter dark, cold, crushing depths of the sea?

Sunday, the pastor spoke about losing that awe factor for certain things in our life, after we have become too familiar with them. I have always felt that way about God.

I was born into a Christian family and attended church from the crib. I was always taught about who He is, and who Jesus is, and how Jesus died and rose again. The story of the Resurrection, though it is precious to me, never held that awe factor for me. It was too familiar. I do not feel that feeling of impossibility, like I would if a dead man sat up out of his coffin at his own funeral and began to speak. But I always wanted to be in awe of the miracle.

When God is finished telling Job exactly who He is, Job says,

"Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth." Job 40:4

Job, gasped and covered his mouth. He had no response, no defense, nothing to say for himself. He didn't say, "Ya, ya. I know you did all that creation stuff and everything, but I don't deserve this!" (Imagine that in your most whiny voice ever).

He was awe struck. He was silenced by who God is.

I finished the story and wondered what it would take to silence me, to make me gasp at the wonder of who God is.

And then I realized. He's already done it. It's those times that He puts me on the edge of that cliff, my heels hanging off the edge and my body weight falling to my despair. Nothing can save me. I can't regain control of my life and save myself. I can only feel my body begin to fall as I wait for Him to rescue me.

It's when He puts me in those places that I have no where to go, no answer, and no salvation apart from Him, that I find the awe factor. It's when He stretches out His hand and rescues me in that completely hopeless and impossible situation, that I find myself gasp. When I know that the only way I could have made it through that "thing", is by His very hand, that I find awe.

I am alot like Job, declaring what it is I deserve. But I love Job's confession in the end, and it is my prayer when I become too big for my britches too.

"I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Hear, now,  and I will speak; I will ask You, and you instruct me.
I have heard of  You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."
Job 42:2-6

What makes you stand in awe of who God is? Job 38-42 will definitely give you something to think about.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My St. Patrick's Day

I had a great day, but by 11AM I told my Beloved I was going to do a blog about the funny things I saw today. We had too many big laughs first thing this morning.

To start the day off, my Beloved officiated at a sweet little wedding in town. The bride and groom wanted to elope and have a small ceremony with just their parents. We were honored that she asked Jay to be the officiating minister.

The bride had been a youth in the church we served in a while back, and she and Jay had bonded over a game of hacky- sack. Now she is a young adult, spending her first evening as a Mrs.! Yay!

As we tried to get ready for our day, we had a multitude of slightly humorous, mostly time constraining, events happen with our kids. The toilet overflowed and little Noisemaker didn't seem in too much of a hurry to let us know water was dumping out onto the bathroom floor. The little girl had to go potty at the last minute, and she loves to sit and play, a long time. I forgot to bring my slip for my dress, leaving me to duck tape and safety pin some sort of acceptable undergarment under my dress, hoping for the best. It was a rough start to an important day.

On our way to the sweet little St. Paddy's Day wedding, we had some really good laughs together. Just outside of the city, we saw a raccoon on the road. I know, that's no big deal, but this one was hilarious!

If I had had a camera with me, I would have made my Beloved stop, late or not, and take a picture so I could share it with you, even on a busy highway!

At first we thought it was a cat, because you don't really see raccoons in the daytime around here.

It was completely frozen in the middle of the left lane of traffic. It's back was arched up way high, one paw was firmly planted on the asphalt while the other one was up in the air. It stood as still as a stone statue, staring at the ground. We never saw it move!

It was the funniest thing. I really think a couple of teenagers found a taxidermy raccoon in their great-grandpa's attic and decided to stick in the middle of the road to see what happened!

But, a few hours later on our way home, the raccoon was gone. Maybe he just got really scared and tried to look really mean and ferocious to all the giant metal cars speeding around him at 70 miles per hour. I don't know.

Just a few miles down the road, in downtown, we found ourselves cracking up again.

We passed a cute little donut shop. I notice these things. I'm pregnant and hungry almost constantly, and the more fatty, sugary, higher in calories, fried and unhealthy it is, the more I want it.

As we came closer to the donut shop I began to read the small print on their sign. They advertised donuts, biscuits, pastries, kolaches... AND TACOS!

Yes, that is just what I always wanted! A donut store where I could pick up a dozen long johns AND a yummy taco!

If you don't find this post funny, I'm sorry. It just brightened my sunny little day a little more!

We made our way downtown to the sweet little wedding. My Beloved officiated a beautiful little ceremony. He talked about God's plan was for love and marriage and their marriage, my marriage, and all marriage, is a good thing.

He talked about faith, hope and love. As married people we need to have faith in ourselves to be a good spouse, to have faith in each other, and to have faith in God. We need to have hope for when the going gets tough. We need hope to make it through the tough times in marriage, because there will be tough times.

And lastly, love, the greatest of these! Love for each other, but more importantly, love for God.

I watched the bride carefully, in her vintage lace dress with a sweet green ribbon sash. She was beautiful, and the tough little girl I knew, beamed with love for her red-headed groom. His smile could not have gotten any bigger as he stood next to his beautiful bride.

I fought back the tears, remembering all the faith, hope and love my Beloved have shared over the last almost 12 years. He has had faith in me when no one else did. When life seemed too difficult, we held on to hope in our Almighty Father... together. Most of all, even when we did not like each other, we held on to the love that was sparked so long ago.

I would love to share pictures with you, but the couple still has not told all of their extended family and friends that they got married today! Tonight, they enjoy their secret, as husband and wife.