Friday, April 1, 2011

Not so unlike an Israelite

I have been studying the Old Testament, partly because it is what I have been teaching to my Sunday school class.... partly because I love the history and the way I can identify with the ones who have walked before.

I read chapter 6 of that book and Ann is honest and silently I am relieved that she is human and that she forgets too. Even the one who wrote the book on it forgets to count and suddenly I realize I'm too hard on myself, expect too much, and essentially set myself up for failure.
"I am a wandering Israelite who sees the flame in the sky above, the pillar, the smoke from the mountain, the earth open up and give way, and still I forget."
How many times do I read those stories and laugh at their stupidity, at how many times they screw up, time and time again they forget that He always comes through. But then I stop and and I think about myself and at how many times I do the same thing. I forget every day, I fail to live the yes, and I live the no, yet I criticize the Israelites for the very thing I am so good at doing myself. They lived under reminders, a cloud during the day and a flame at night, and yet, still, they forgot.

So I keep reading. I read of her chasing the moon and smile because I have my own "chasing the moon experiences." Slowly my mind traces back over those "chasing the moon" experiences and suddenly I feel a smidgen of that desire for Him that has been covered by dark and all of a sudden a spark of light is seen.
"Eucharisteo is everywhere and I want to see eucharisteo everywhere and I want to remember how badly I really want to see it."
And that has been my prayer as of late, that I would remember how badly I want Him, how badly I need Him. That I would want to want Him.

My attention is drawn back to the fact that we live in a sin-cursed world and in sin-cursed bodies that need reminding. And sometimes the only way to remember is to fall.
"Pain is everywhere, and wherever the pain there can be everywhere grace, and yes Jesus, I am struggling and I get turned around but I think I know, at least, in part, what I want. If I had never run, if I had never fallen, and here, I am not sure I would have known with blazing clarity. I may not know all that it means, but this is what I want."
And the cycle will be endless, because we are just like the Israelites, and history always repeats itself. That is why we cling to faith because faith is not something that we did but it is something that we live. It's not a thing to put in the past, its a thing to cling to in the present. 
"Faith is not a one-in-the-past action, but faith is always a way of seeing, a seeking for God in everything."
We must look and we must seek because we only find what we are looking for when we seek. And to find Him we cannot seek merely with our eyes, no, to find Him we must seek with all our heart, all our mind, and with all our soul. For it is not enough to just gaze upon Him, we must empty ourselves of all that is meaningless and allow Him to make us whole.

* I wrote about chapter 5 here
* All quotes come from Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Ch 6

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