Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ruts and Other Mercies

It only seems to be during times of falling, that I know the deep truth of God's greatness.

When I am strong, self confident and rising above circumstances, I start to slip. Self confidence leads to self righteousness, which leads to a decline in the amount of time I spend relying, until I stumble, tumble, and after a suitable amount of time applied to self hatred, I awaken to the marvelous realization that God Himself has let me fall flat on my virtual face.

Mercy.

The rut is the safety of self, the sitting down in routines of serving me and even calling it living for Him, justifying it with wise words, yet the heart knows the rut and warnings ring to waken slipping self.

The post fall state though is one of surprise. Peace is here. Wisdom says so gently "Self reliance is a deep rut, where He is not. You have fallen though, and here is grace." And so I'm swept up again, surprised by the unexpected.
It's in these moments that I'm gentled too. Critical heart is silenced in the face of His mercy. Who is self to judge and berate another after this Gift.
Softness invades, quietens, makes new.

Dear Savior Jesus,
What can I say? Words do not do justice to your gift of mercy and grace. It's only when I'm utterly helpless and disgusted with who I am, that I realize Who You are, and how foolish I ever am to think that I can do anything on my own.
You are the "I Am" and I feel so thankful just to sit quietly close to You, restored.

9 comments:

Belinda said...

Ang, your honesty hits home right where it needs to.

Thank you so much for the words you laid on the page, reminding us of our folly and his matchless grace.

Susan said...

Ang, you've been reading my mail again... :)

Night Owl said...

It's amazing that you both posted comments at exactly the same time, Belinda and Susan.
This stuff happens to other people too...? The... "suitable amount of time applied to self hatred"? I thought it was abnormal to hate oneself... Don't most people like themselves? Or at least most of the time? (That's what we learned in Psychology...)
I try to rely on God, but I still fall into this awful trap... more often than I'd like to admit...
I don't mean that I like that this happens to others (because I certainly don't wish this upon any other), but it's sort of nice to know that I have company, people who've been there and have compassion... Sometimes it gets lonely around here...
Thanks Angcat

Belinda said...

Dear Night Owl,
Yes, Susan noticed that we both posted our comments at exactly the same time!

I don't know for sure what is normal--to hate oneself or to like oneself. I would hazard a guess though, that most people spend a fair amount of time hating themselves at some time in their lives.

The reason I believe that is true is that I am convinced that there is one whose agenda is to kill and destroy everything that God made. When we hate ourselves we agree with him and his lies, rather than the truth of God, which is that we are made in his image and that we are of such value to him that he sent his own son to die in our place. I choose to believe that and because I do, I cannot stay in self hatred for long.

Angcat said...

Yes Belinda and Night Owl,
I agree completely with what you both said. I think my rendition of self hatred was a poor attempt at attempting to redeem myself, taking the punishment on myself, punishing me for my failings. Then remembering, it's already been done (He was wounded for our transgressions..Is.53) That's what I can't fathom. He did it all, already. I know this, yet sometimes it's so fresh and I'm so thankful all over again.
God Bless you..
And I never noticed the same time of your postings. That is so neat!
Love Angcat

Night Owl said...

Oh, okay... A few more questions though:
Isn't it completely unfair that Jesus has to take on all of our punishment?
Do I deserve that? I don't think so...
Would He be upset if we punished ourselves because of what He did for us already? Is it like being ungrateful?
Thanks for your replies. :)

Night Owl said...

I realize that was a bit stupid now. I sound too proud to accept what He did for us.

Angcat said...

Hi Night Owl,
Now I'm being a Night Owl too. :-)
That was not a stupid comment you made. It was a human one.
It IS completely unfair that Jesus had to take on all our sins.
It makes me think of a song "He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to take my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song Amazing Grace, Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay."

And another thing that a friend of mine summarized so beautifully the other day. She's been reading Andrew Murray and this helped her gel these thoughts.
In the Old Testament times, God made a covenant with His people. He gave the law. They had to keep it if they wanted His blessing. Disobedience brought punishment. They couldn't keep the law, so the system of sacrifice was set up, and the archtype of what Jesus would ultimately do was set in place.
Then God made a new covenant because we broke our half...except in the new one, He meets the requirement of both sides.
He gives the law we must obey, we break the law, a sacrifice is required, so he provides His Son. He says "You can't do this, so I'm going to provide everything you need. My Name is on both sides of the agreement. Jesus dies (and yes, conquers death by rising again), and all we are required to do is BELIEVE.
And that isn't a one time decision, it's what Bible teacher Beth Moore calls present active participle believing, it's active in the now, continually.
God did meet the requirements of the law, fulfilled them and we just accept and believe.
No it's not fair, but it sure is a good deal
It shatters me, and makes me run to Him like a little kid. "Thank You, Thank You" I cry in gratitude.
Once we go to that place and keep looking at Him in all circumstances, all of life flows out of that, us looking at Him, not our circumstances.
This is a long ramble, but I hope it helps. It helped me the other night when my friend Carolyn said it to me.
God bless you Night Owl on your journey toward Him.
Love Angcat

Night Owl said...

:) Night Owls like company. :)
It feels wonderful that God signed both sides of the contract - like everything is taken care of for us. :)
Thanks for sharing that with me. :)
Love Night Owl