Bellies to Fill

I have always loved Rich Mullins, but this song has really been on my heart the past few days.  A few superficial mentions:

  • Nice shorts, Rich. Seriously?
  • I love that 12-string.
  • Did you see that little boy at 2:14?
  • Who walks and plays guitar at the same time?
  • I love the Thai part at the beginning.

Less superficial mentions:

  • I want to go to Burkina Faso and meet Joseph.
  • He has really made my life richer in ways I cannot express.
  • Are you sponsoring a child through Compassion International?
  • The idea of missions both terrifies and stirs my heart. It always has.
  • “There’s many bellies to fill and many hearts to free.”

If I Hadn’t…

If I hadn’t left the Church in 2001…

  • I would not have learned to study Scripture (as opposed to simply reading Scripture);
  • I would not have learned to defend my faith;
  • I would not have drawn on the musical and doctrinal strength of hymns;
  • I would not have joined Tweb–which means I would never have made a few poor choices, but also means I would never have connected with those friends who appeal to my inner theology geek, or stumbled upon the phrase, “the theology of music”;
  • I would not have fought with Jenny;
  • I would not have forgiven and been forgiven by Jenny;
  • I would not have become such sister-friends with Colette;
  • I would not have known Jack, except as an acquaintance;
  • I would not have grown confident enough to say, “I have forgiven him;”
  • I would not have written that novel, or those poems, or those songs, or those letters, or those blogs.

The list is endless. There are so many things in my life that would be different today if I’d settled myself and not questioned my faith. I won’t lie to you: Some of the results are not as wonderful as those listed above. To be honest, some of the results still shadow my heart.

But I no longer regret that time in my life. I see it more every day, that even in my richest folly, I was in the hands of a sovereign, gracious, faithful Lord, who knew exactly what evils my choices would result in. And somehow, those evils that were conceived in my own frustration, my own sin, Christ has birthed into passions and ministries and relationships that I never would have known if I’d “just believed.”

So would my life have been better if I’d not failed? Perhaps. But perhaps I would have made other choices, worse choices, irreparable choices. Who knows? Only God knows. And only God still knows what good He may accomplish through my life. But I do not regret–I do not mourn–the choices I made yesterday.

There is a Redeemer. So yes–repent of your sin; turn from your folly; bring your contrite heart before the forgiving Savior. But trust in Christ. Trust in His ability to restore what the worm has eaten. Trust in His desire and purpose to do just that.

Passive & Submissive

What’s the difference?

More specifically, what’s the difference for a Christian?

passive: receptive to outside impressions or influences; lacking in energy or will; induced by an outside agency.

submit: to yield to governance or authority; to yield oneself to the authority or will of another; to permit oneself to be subjected to something; to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.

Desires & Purpose

So what do I desire? And how will I achieve it?

I’m thinking about this as of late. I don’t know the answers. We live in a world that says we should have everything we want, whenever we want it, and running over people is acceptable as long as it serves some purpose. Be assertive, the world says; know what you want, put your boots on, and go get it. But is that how a Christian should live? Is that how a follower of Christ should pursue her desires? I don’t think so.

Rich Mullins spoke of these issues:

The more we pursue what we think we want, the more it eludes us. Or, we get what we think we want, and we find out we didn’t really want it in the first place. Everything that we go after will disappoint us. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of advantage in being terrifically assertive. We do not find happiness by being assertive. The Scriptures don’t teach us to be assertive. The Scriptures teach us–and this is remarkable–the Scriptures teach us to be submissive.

Christ would have us serve. We may be here for a purpose, but we are not here to serve ourselves. It is so easy (for me!) to confuse the two. I get to thinking that this “purpose”–whatever it may be–is that “greater good” that justifies pursuit “by any means.” It’s not. For a follower of Christ, purpose can only come to fruition within the parameters of obedience to and fellowship with Christ our King. It is His purpose that calls to our hearts.

We know that He has a purpose for each one of our lives, but the moment we stop looking to Him to define that purpose, we have set up a throne for some other lord–some lesser lord–to reign in our hearts, our relationships, our actions, our choices, and even our ministries.

So know your desires. Know your heart. Make a plan. But never forget that the heart is deceitful above all things. Never forget that any purpose you pursue that pulls you away from your Savior is not worth the price of achieving.  If your desires and purpose is not God-inspired and God-fulfilled, then it will fade like the morning mist.

And please, help me to remember.

Have a blessed weekend, folks! And on a personal note, please keep my mother in your prayers this weekend; she is quite unwell. Next week, I promise we’ll do something fun (of course…I get to define “fun”…).

Pax Domini!