Though my last post said it had been a long time since the last post, I believe I shall have to redefine the term. It's been about 5 years since my last post. A lot of water has passed under the bridge. My life has changed. My world has changed. The changes have ended up for the better, but changes are rarely fun in the event. We typically only appreciate changes after the fact, even good ones.
The one thing that hasn't changed is God. We can and do call His three parts by so many names: God, Father, Abba, Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim, Adonai, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Daddy, Savior, Redeemer, Yeshua, Son of God, The Trinity, El Shaddai, El Roi, and so many more. God is mighty. He forgives. He went through the ordeal for a life and painful death on earth for me. Had I been the only one in need of his grace, he still would have done so. He would, and did, do the same for you.
I've been a Christian for most of my life, but I am a spiritual infant in so many ways. I spent so long avoiding my own issues (the plank in my own eye) and being judgmental about others (pointing out the speck of wood in other people's eyes) that I spared very little time for growing in Him. I was so full of self-loathing that I felt unworthy of God's grace and didn't want to call His attention down on me. On the surface, that is so ridiculous for two reasons. One: God sees and knows everything. Two: God has already forgiven me. God is Love. I am now beginning a slow journey to peace in God. He has always been there, holding out his arms for me to fall into. My vision is just now clearing enough to see it.
A few weeks back, we were blessed to be able to attend a Chris Tomlin concert. For those who don't know, Chris is a gifted Christian musician. In the middle of the concert, the music stopped and they introduced a man named Louie Giglio. Louie is a Christian minister at a church in Atlanta. He spoke about three of the parables in the new testament: the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, and the parable of the prodigal son. These are parables that most Christians know well and have heard lessons on all of our lives. However, Louie brought to light a new way (for me) to look at these. Louie said that these parables are most important in what we see God doing in them. In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd is the stand-in for God. The woman in the story of the lost coin and the father in the story of the prodigal son do the same. In all three cases, the stand-in for God is blessed with many blessings other than what has been lost to them. The woman, though she has lost one coin, still has 9 more. The shepherd has 99 sheep in addition to the lost one. The father has his older son and his fortune in addition to the lost (or prodigal) son. However, in all of these cases, the stand-in for God is searching earnestly and waiting anxiously for the lost one. This can be a new way for many of us to look at both the old and new testaments of the Bible. Though God already has the "good" people, he is still anxiously waiting for me to accept His help. God is so good!
I've always looked at the laws and requirements of the old testament and thought how glad I am that I was not an old testament Jew. I mean, can you imagine the onerous nature of keeping up with all of the laws and sacrifices? On first inspection, one might ask why an Almighty God would force His followers to follow all these tedious laws and sacrifice for so many things. However, when I look at things in this new light, I don't see God forcing His people to follow these seemingly petty rules for His own benefit. He had them go through these things for their benefit. These were God reaching for us, and yet wanting us to come to him freely. Each of the tasks required of them were a means of having them think about Him. As designed, the sacrifices required the Israelites to remember their Holy Father and should have made them think on His power, mercy and grace. The restrictions should have drawn their thoughts to Him instead of selfishly thinking of their own desires. These are early examples of God going out of His way to have us spend time with Him. He was not trying to "take all the fun out of life," but to expose them to the much greater joy of His presence.
We belong to Him. We are His. We were His from the beginning, but he bought us again at the horrible cost of sending His Son to be a sacrifice in our stead. We are not worthy, but through Him. Know that you are precious to Him, and that should give you perspective any time you suffer a bout of self-loathing. I know it helps me to know that He loved me that much. If the Creator of everything loves me that much, who am I to hate myself?