Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

All these people were still living by faith when they died.
They did not receive the things promised;
they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

People who say such things show that they are looking
for a country of their own.
If they had been thinking of the country they had left,
they would have had opportunity to return.
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11: 13-16
(NIV)

The above is a favorite section of scripture, one that gives me great hope. Just this week, during sofa time, I watched an inspiring interview with Anne Graham Lotz where she talked about her new book, The Magnificent Obsession. Anne used the above verses when reminding us Abraham did not receive his entire promise from God on this side of Eternity... yes, he received the "child of promise" but the remainder was for a time to come.

She also reminded us of another important fact about Abraham which we often miss... the journey brought Abraham his greatest gift... to know God. As Abraham walked with God (and not perfectly, mind you) then God became his Magnificent Obsession... and he became known as a friend of God. Can you imagine such a thing?

The journey... not perfect... not easy... but the journey itself was part of that which God would use to give Abraham His best gift.

When my husband and I were young, we did everything the world said was necessary for success... education, hard work, etc. If anyone had told me at that time that we would reach this age (him being much older, really... honest) and living on a fixed income and both of us with health issues... I would have scoffed and laughed. Certainly God would not allow such to happen. But He did.

I loved talking to Sally (Clarkson) at Stephanie's home, just the two of us with heads close together chatting... as everyone else watched Bleak House. We knew the hours were few and precious to share "in person". We talked about trials and tribulations and how God permits such in our lives to bring us closer to Him. Not a popular theology in these modern times but Truth still... Biblical Truth.

Sometimes I get frustrated at my limitations and I cry out to God when I wake up during the night with chronic pain that does not leave. There are times I want to stomp my feet and act like a brat when I really, really can't understand why I have an income that does not cover gas and groceries because we did everything right, didn't we?

But I think of these verses and my chat with Sally and how God understands it is adversity that keeps us closer to Him as we cling to the Book for answers. Human nature is such that we seek Him when we need Him most. I am convinced when we look back at our life, we will see the very trials that gave us the most frustration to be the blessings that brought us closest to Him.

As Elisha asks for his servant's eyes to be opened, I wonder if I would be surprised to have my spiritual eyes opened and see God at work in the midst of it all.

I wouldn't ask for trials and tribulations but I love what they have done in my life as I have developed patience, faith, trust, empathy, and an anticipation which has come from wondering what He will do next... who He will use in my life... and how He meets every need. It is truly remarkable. He does "prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemy".

I have learned that the greatest gift I can give myself is that of an eternal perspective on life. If this was all there is then I would be the the most frustrated of humanity. But I'm just passing through, a sojourner on the path to the city whose Builder and Architect is God.

While here I want to accomplish that for which He has placed me on earth to do and walk the path He provides. But the real rewards may not come this side of that City... except the most wonderful of rewards... getting to know the One who became Abraham's Magnificent Obsession. I could ask no less.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

10 comments:

Raquel said...

I have found in life that if you are living for God and doing his work, everything does NOT go "according to schedule" Satan hates us and this world belongs to him - I would not want to stay here anyway. I would much rather go on to the world God has waiting for me. So cheer up my sister - you ARE doing something right - living for God! Much love - Raquel XO

matty said...

Brenda,

What a thought provoking post! You are God's messenger many, many times! How kind of you to remind us that we are working toward a greater City beyond.

You are my inspiration!

Warmly,

Matty

Happy Hermit (Happilyhiddenhermit@gmail.com) said...

Some people it seems journey a path unaware of it's creator and of its purpose. You seem to have awoken to it. It is beautiful. THank you for sharing.

carla said...

Your post today got me to thinking and I've linked today's post to you.

http://carlahoag.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/through-it-all/

Anonymous said...

Amen Brenda. Thank you. I'm going to bookmark your post today to come back to.

I often remind myself of something a friend once said -"if your Bible is falling apart your life isn't"
:-)

God bless,
Kelly Lynn in Texas

Connie said...

I came across a statement the other day that goes like this -
It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It give us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.
I'm going through a trial at this time and I am so thankful for your encouraging post.

The Thrifty Countrywoman said...

I heard this quote from someone this week, "If your road is smooth and easy, you're probably walking along with Satan" Meaning he doesn't have to work to hard to turn you away from God.

Jane

Shirley said...

Hi Brenda - Beautifully written post! I appreciate so much your thoughts and "ponderings". I am so glad that a trouble-free eternity is waiting for us in Heaven. See you there :) God bless, Shirley in Washington

scrappy quilter said...

Wonderful post as always. Hugs..

Jonell said...

You touched my heart just now Brenda, as I slowly read your post;I intend to do the same again to soak it in and "use" it. As I read I found myself thinking ahead..wanting to share your words with someone else..anyone who might need it and listen..and "use it"..thank you!