Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Awe and Wonder

Have you ever sung those songs that talk about how great and awesome it is that we can see Jesus face to face? Or how about when you praise him whether good things are happening or not? And what about the ones where we lay all our burdens at his feet?

I love those songs. I really do. Its built up a relationship with God that seems healthy. I rely on him for everything, I get to see Jesus face to face someday, he gives me stuff, and relieves my suffering...So much me me me. I thought these songs were good...but I think that to much of a good thing leads to a bad thing...even in praise and worship.

I've found that the words in most of our worship either brings God down to our level or puts us on the same level as him. Yes, I praise you in the storm...see? I'm praising you right now while my world is crashing down on me. That makes me worthy of being with you, right? Ummm...no. And maybe its just me that this music has led me to this point...but I don't think so. I've heard the argument before from people wanting to stick with just hymns and the "good 'ol stuff", so there may be something to this. There's nothing wrong with this music, but there needs to be a balance.

What seems to be missing is a sense of awe and a feeling of "little-ness" in our worship music. As I heard someone argue once, what about what God has done for us? Yeah, all that music has references to it, but it mostly revolves around that's why we praise him. I want to be reminded on occassion that I'm really not that important. If I don't praise God, then the rocks on the ground will. Yes, my praise blesses his heart if it comes from my heart, but he is God and he can find satisfaction in anything else. He doesn't pursue me because he needs me - simply because he wants me. I want to be reminded of that. I want to sing about that. I want to sing about how big and awesome and fearful he can be. I don't want to sing about how my praise is the greatest gift to God. Yeah, its the greatest gift I can give, but its not that big a deal in light of what he's done for me.

I've been cultivating a casual friendship with God, which has its place. But I've sacrificed the awe and respect that God deserves as GOD in trade for a relationship where I feel on equal footing with him.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What I'm Entitled To

I've been spending the last couple of months in a quagmire of spiritual depression. It's been difficult and hard to handle - I find myself wrestling with God more often than not. Why? Well, its quite simple, really. I'm 24 years old, have a strong desire to be married and raising a family (God-given, I thought), and I'm still single, working in a job that requires me to make it my life.

Something that has been increasingly pressed on me in the last several weeks, though, has been my pride. I didn't think it was pride, at first, but rather a lack of appropriate thankfulness for the things I have been given. I think that stemmed out of a lack of respect and awe for who God REALLY is. So I started trying to thank him for all the things he's given me. That's not always easy to do when your stuck on something you want but it hasn't been given to you yet. It wasn't working - there was something else hidden deeper that was preventing the proper feeling of gratefulness and the good that my God has already done for me...

Last night, I stumbled on it...rather by accident. My pride has led me to a point where I feel that I am ENTITLED to certain things. Where I think I deserve to be given this or that. Well, guess what...I don't. None of us do. We're all the lowest of scum and the only reason we are given any blessings of any sort is because God loves us -
See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
~ Matthew 6:28-34

Now, I am convinced that someday I will be married - simply because I don't think God is so cruel to give a desire this strong and not do something with it. Either he'll temper it and replace it with something else, or he'll provide for it. But in no way should I feel entitled to it or deserving of it. It is a gift - that he will give in his time. I need patience. Patience and trust, that he will fufill the desire according to his plan. Trust that his plans are "to give [me] a future and a hope"...and not plans for disaster.

And an appropriate attitude of thankfulness that God would choose to love such a wretch as me.