The God Who Brings Us to Himself
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
I wake up on Wednesday mornings and join a discreet group of ladies that gather in a quiet room. Armed with a Bible, journal, and pen, we’re not flashy, just hungry for the Word of God. Anytime the Spirit of the Lord is invited to usher in, to teach, to illuminate, to breakthrough, and to lead, transformation occurs. In all reality, that’s been the power and significance of the church from the beginning. To come together to read, to commune, and to pray.
I must admit, to simply be present during COVID-19 feels brave.
It's a strange thing to feel courage in the midst of fear. Maybe because it doesn’t feel particularly mighty at the moment, just plain awkward. We’re all charting through the unknown. Navigating life during a global pandemic. Meeting new faces that can only partly be seen. Talking through fabric. Trying to get a sense of someone, all while socially distancing.
For me, being in this particular study feels like starting over. We're Immersing ourselves in: Beginnings. Reading through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in eight weeks. Something inside me whispers that I need to go back and start at the beginning. To nestle in and pay attention ... to remind myself that God moves His plan forward through thick and thin. Through brokenness and pain. Through the sound of His voice.
After a long day, I am utterly exhausted. The inspiration and fellowship that my soul soaked up in the morning with the women, is a dry sponge by nightfall. The pendulum of our countenance never ceases to amaze me. Weariness tugs toward the temptations of instant gratification. Instead of reading, why not tv? I lay back in bed and fight off notions of false comfort for the Story of Old. I choose my Bible. Not every night, but tonight, I choose life.
It doesn’t take long to settle in, to allow familiar names to rise and fall in my mind as I recollect their narrative told through The Ancient of Days. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Rebekah. Each of them a glorious mess, some more devastating than others. They struggled, made colossal mistakes, and yet I resonate with each of them in one way or another. Somehow, God manages to use their human experience and tell a larger story about Himself. And the big picture of God's redemption and restoration is exactly what I need right now. To reflect on God through His lens. To re-learn and re-teach myself that He has a larger plan ... and I play a human role in His story.
To re-know and re-remember and re-tell myself that He sees me and knows me.
To Abram, God declares that "I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans ..." (Genesis 15:7). To the Israelites, He pronounces, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God." (Exodus 20:2). And to His people, He explains that "I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself." (Exodus 19:4).
I stop and stare. Those words pouring over my Spirit like living water. He has brought me out. He has lifted me and carried me back into Himself a thousand times. Because He treasures me. His instructions in this life are for my good. Because He loves me and calls me His own. How easy is it for me to forget this truth in the chaos of my day?
I don’t know what Red Sea problem you find yourself up against these days. The fact is, the enemy seems to be in front of us and behind us in insurmountable ways. But Moses and Miriam's legacy calls us to keep our eyes focused on Him. While you're living your story, don't forget the narrative of God's whole story.
Keep in mind that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob moves from grace to grace from the beginning of time. God still propels His Gospel forward through people who hold on to faith through thick and thin, through brokenness and pain, through the power of the Holy Spirit. From the beginning, He has attempted to make a home amidst His people. Now, that home resides deep within our hearts through faith in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:17).
It is true that Jesus accomplished what no human being ever could: a perfect life sacrificed in love so we could have complete union with God. No tabernacle, custom, or law required anymore. Jesus turned the Old into New by grace through faith through His atonement and resurrection.
What is so remarkable about starting over from the beginning is God's absolute faithful patience and persistence in regard to bringing people to Himself. What the patriarchs journeyed through, not only reminds me of what I long for ... the day of redemption and God's rule made complete, but God's goodness through it all. Yes, there will come a time when there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more sin, devastation, and despair. But we are not there yet. We are in the here and now ... the raw, complicated, present reality of sojourners that stand in the tension of believing without seeing. Trusting in God's goodness when some days don't feel good. Holding onto an eternal perspective when temporal realities claw and bark and bite.
So, re-orient yourself to the Story that never grows old because it is the one story that breathes light and life and love. Root yourself and establish your identity in the God who calls you out and brings you back home over-and-over-and-over again.