Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Cold Drink Please, Pt. 2

continued from A Cold Drink Please, Part 1

.....Not needing Christ makes me lukewarm......

Leading up to Uganda, I was desperate for the Lord to provide the impossible as we raised money for our trip.  He did.  I was desperate for the Lord to sustain me and my girls, protect us, keep me strong so I didn’t melt in a puddle of tears resulting from an emotional breakdown because of what I saw and experienced and ruin it for everyone else. 

Overwhelming desperation for Christ to carry me is what I experienced in Uganda.

And then, all of the sudden, I’m home.

Comfortable, safe living, full of schedules and routine.

Smooth roads with driving rules and laws enforced.

Buffered and protected by education, insurance, savings, government.

Abundant and easy access to food, water, health care and the basics of life.

So now, I don’t need Him so desperately anymore. 

I go about my life the only way I know how, but something’s not right.  I’m full.  I’m healthy.  My kids are educated and pursing dreams. 

Yet I’ve never felt more empty.

Post- Uganda, I know a desperation I did not know before.  I have looked despair in the face, seen the dark eyes of hopelessness. 

In my weakness, I have been a vessel for Christ to be love and hope to the fatherless, even if it was for only a few afternoons.  These hands and feet were His and desperate to be empty so they could be His, for one child to remember that, yes, God is good.  To remind even just one abandoned child that Jesus loves them, that He is the Father to the fatherless.  You are not forgotten.

Today, Jesus told me that I am lukewarm. 

I’m lukewarm because I live my life like I don’t need Him

I say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” (Rev. 3:16)  I may not speak so proudly with my mouth, but my actions, as I walk each day, they speak louder than words.  And Jesus says to me that I “ not know that [I am] wretched, miserable, poor, blind naked....” (Rev. 3:17)

It is very clear in the letter to the Laodicean’s, that Jesus is less than pleased with lukewarm-ness.  In fact it disgusts Him.  “I will vomit you out of my mouth”, are not similar words to “Well done good and faithful servant.”  and are not words I want to hear.

The cause of this lukewarm heart and pulse for the kingdom is self-sufficiency.  And it’s a sign one is headed on a collision course with turning away, for these are not new words that Jesus saved for the last book of the Bible.....

The Lord says through Jeremiah, “As a cage is full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit.  Therefore they have become great and grown rich.  They have grown fat, they are sleek; yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; they do not plead the cause of the fatherless; yet they prosper, and the rights of the needy they do not defend. Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord.”  Jer. 5:57-29

And through Moses the Lord says: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God.....lest – when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart becomes proud and you forget the Lord your God.... – then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’” Deut. 8:11-17

Self-sufficiency is a dangerous place to be.  Self-sufficiency leads to apathy toward God and apathy toward the things of His Kingdom.

But I was self-sufficient in my life before I went to Uganda, so why, all of the sudden is it an issue – I’m not doing anything differently?  Why could I walk so closely with the Lord while indulging in North American attitude of pleasure and comfort pre-Uganda, and now, as I walk the same way as before, I stand alone in the wilderness?

Because now I know.

I’ve seen the burden and despair of infinite need yet I live in the ease and comfort of abundance.  This disparaging contraction and the tension it causes, is best explained by Katie Davis, “now that I know, I am responsible.”

Jesus said the same thing.

 “And the servant who knew his master’s will and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few.  For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required;” (Luke 12:47-48)

And now I wonder what I am to do with this contradiction, this new understanding of my time in the wilderness. Jesus does not leave me guessing.  He tells me in Rev. 3:19, “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”

Turn away from, go in the opposite direction, and be zealous, eager, determined about it.  Like Moses who chose to suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

Less self-indulgence, more seeking the Lord and His righteousness – this is the answer.  Eagerly, earnestly, zealously.  Like seeking a cold drink on a hot day, desperate and yearning, seek the Lord.  And all these other things He will provide - like answering my question,

"What now, Lord? What do you want me to do with this life, now that I know?"

“If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”  2 Chron. 7:14

I feel a fast coming on.  Anyone else feeling lukewarm?  Won't you join me.

"As cold water to a weary soul,
so is good news from a far country."
Prov. 25:25


At 14 July 2013 at 03:31 , Blogger Christine said...

As I was reading the verse from 2 Chronicles at the end of your blog post I immediately thought of fasting. Then I read the line right below it, "I feel a fast coming on..."

Maybe the Lord is speaking to me too. Probably not maybe. :-)

I totally get how you feel and I struggle with what to do next or what to change. Maybe for me it isn't a "what to do" or "what to change" right now but first a time of fasting, being still and listening.

I look forward to seeing what the Lord will show us.

Thank you, once again, for sharing your heart.

At 14 July 2013 at 17:56 , Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Christine. Nice to hear from you, and that you understand this struggle. Still waiting here, still listening. But He's faithful. Always faithful. I'll be praying for you.....


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