Friday, April 23, 2010

To Love Our God...

The two breakthroughs both developed simultaneously and were somewhat linked to each other, so I can't say which happened first or if one caused the other. Instead, both were causes and stimulants for what followed after.

One of these breakthroughs was a gift of love. Jesus revealed Himself to me in such a mighty, intimate, tender, breathtaking way that I fell in love with Him. Of course, I had always loved Jesus in a childish, "Jesus loves me" way. But now, I fell IN LOVE with Him, complete with stomach jiggles and a sparkle in my eye and heavy, pulsing breathing and an intense desire to be with Him, contemplate Him, and know Him more. (If you scroll through my xanga archives, you can see a post expressing this, though it was written months after this first happened. I kept half-expecting the emotions would fade and the strong feelings would go away, but they did nothing but increase.)

This pure, fervent, strong love stole upon my heart and captured me. I cannot describe it as anything other than a gift, because it was all initiated by Him. He courted me and won my heart as no earthly lover has ever done with a mortal maiden, and I was pleased to discover myself vanquished by such an inimitable Treasure.

It was especially precious because I had just walked away from a human love that God asked me to give up for His sake. How it hurt to give up that person no one can know who has not walked through the same thing. How long it hurt, too, and how often the wound opened freshly upon some remembrance, some contact, some association--I was not prepared for, though I endeavored to keep all this well concealed.

Thus it was that, loving Jesus, I began to feel that it had indeed been worthwhile and needful for me to follow God in surrender to not go right back to the mission field. If I had missed this--oh, that would be unthinkable.

And the Master Professor smiled as He saw His pupil beginning to learn and understand His ways.

Keep Reading: ...The Reason We Live
Previous Post: Pursuit of God
First Post: Tutored Under the Master Professor

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pursuit of God

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1-2

“O God, thou art my God: early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Psalm 63:1

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2

At the beginning of my return from Spain, one thing was very clear. I was not to "push" my way forward or manipulate circumstances so that I could go back as soon as possible. Indeed, I felt quite forbidden to even go on mission trips. God closed the door to one fun-sounding mission opportunity after another, from accompanying my sister to Mexico to visiting the Philippines with our church to going to Nepal with a Nepalese friend of mine who invited me to go with her for a month. It was SO hard to turn down all these things and say, "I'm not going," not only because I really wanted to go, but also because no one would understand it. They would think I was losing my heart for missions or something. How could they see that I was flying in the face of my own desire?

All I knew was that the door to go back was closed for now. I realized God had other things in mind that were more important to work on. It was not pursuit of a life-calling to missions, it was something else. God had the answer, and in pursuing Him, all would eventually become clear. Clinging to all the light I had, I started a Word document called "Pursuit of God."

I wrote the first entry in the car on the 6-hour drive home from the airport. It said,

I have several goals for this new period of my life. First, I hope to become supremely obedient to God. I want obedience to be a priority, where I don’t delay, I don’t question, and I don’t try to get out of doing what I know God wants me to do. I have been failing in this area too much lately, and I see my heart as very hard and unpliable and unyielded to God’s will.

Second, in looking at my life right now, I see that there really isn’t anything worthwhile that I’m really good at. Sure I have skills…sure I’m good at things, but in terms of an overarching skill that defines me, that I can say, “I do this, and I’ve studied it, and I know how to do it, and I’m really good at it,” I can’t point to anything. Look at my degree—I majored in communications, yet I don’t know that I could get a job at a newspaper and be a reporter (or get into any field in communications, for that matter). If there was one thing I wish I could say I was really good at, it would be leading people to Christ. I want to excel in it. I want to become experienced, an expert, a fisher of men. I want to study it, pursue it, and become very, very good at it, so that after I die, people will look back at my life and say, “You know, there was one main thing about Rebekah: she was always leading people to Christ, and she was good at it, too.”

To do that, it brings me to the third goal: I want to pray. I want to pray, not just wimpy prayers, but mighty, faith-filled prayers that connect with God. I want to pray, not just short prayers, but be able to spend hours on my knees with God. I want to pray, not once in a while when I think about it, but every day, as a matter of habit and discipline. I want to pray, not just to see my needs met and my requests answered, but to draw closer to God and communicate with him and learn His heart. I want to pray, not starting off well for a month and then slacking off, but continuing faithful in prayer as something that will characterize the rest of my life.

God is saying, “Get more of me! Want more of me! Fight for more of me! There is SO much more to me! Pursue me! Desire me! Push through obstacles to get to me!”

I didn't know it at the time, but two key breakthroughs were to appear in the coming months.

Keep Reading: To Love Our God...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tutored Under the Master Professor

Where I was, where He led me, and perhaps an inkling of where I'm going.

Part 1. Following the Lamb wherever He leads
It all started back when God did the unthinkable. I had just returned from Spain, excited to go back and throw my life into God's service there, and He shut the door.

"I want you to die to your desire to go to the mission field," He said.

"What?" I responded, taken aback. "You can't mean that."

"Yes. In fact, I want you to move back home, be there for your brothers and sisters, and work so that you can contribute to providing for the needs of the family."

"I can't believe you would do this to me, God," I protested. "When your word says the laborers are few, and I'm over here waving my hand in the air, saying, 'Pick me! Pick me!'---what's up with that, Lord?"

"Nevertheless, I'm asking you to give that up. Will you place it in my hands, trust me with it, and die even to this?"

I gulped. Being a missionary was the only thing I had ever wanted to do. And working, being Miss Career Woman, was the last thing I ever wanted to do. How could God take my most precious, most treasured desire and say, "Thanks, but no thanks"? It made no sense.

God reminded me that I claimed I would die for the cause of Christ. "If you are you willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for my sake, then shouldn't you be willing to make a much smaller one?" And with this and many other persuasions, He gently led me to the place where I was willing to sacrifice even this. With tears, I laid it on the altar where it could be consumed by God's holy flame. I released it.

Thus it was that I found myself, in the summer of 2008, a college graduate in my 20s, still living in my parents' house, teaching three piano students, and feeling like the whole world would look on my life as a sad waste of potential.

Far from it... God had many things in mind, which I had yet to discover.

This is the first post in this series.
Next Post: Pursuit of God