Turn Turn Turn (Bible Week…Day 3)

Go figure.  A week ago I posted about waiting.  And for two days I have heard about people who did…and did not…wait on God.

Israel was impatient for a king, so God concedes and the prophet Samuel anoints Saul as king.  Saul was impatient for battle and went on without God and lost his crown…and his mind.  I think I’m getting the picture.

Then there’s Ecclesiastes and even Song of Solomon. “A wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.”  “I adjure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, do not awaken love until it pleases.”

And the Byrds, “To everything (turn turn turn) there is a season (turn turn turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven…”

Okay, we didn’t listen to the song.  But wouldn’t it be great if we did?

We do watch at least one movie a day.  It adds to the reading.  Today it was the movie David.  I thought you might like to join in the fun.  About 7 minutes in, you can see a depiction of the rather pithy (and rainy) scene I referenced above.

Samuel:  Saul!  What are you doing?

Saul:  I am making a sacrifice…You were not here to speak on my behalf.

Samuel:  You were told to wait.

Saul:  I had to do something.

That’s all you get.  No more spoilers.  I just had to laugh at how obvious it was…God definitely wants me to learn about His timing.

Still the Beginning (Bible Week…Day 2)

I think the biggest revelation from the five books we have covered so far is that we don’t have to be perfect.  Not just we as individuals, but we as a community aren’t always going to get it right.  It’s fun to criticize the Israelites and how whiney they are in the wilderness; it’s pithy to recognize that we aren’t much different from them.  What is beautiful to me is that though an entire generation did not enter the promised land, though the following generation was cursed to wander around with them and bear the burden of their sin, God still brought the Messiah through these people to bless all nations of the earth.

The other thing that stands out so clearly is how many people are affected by one person’s sin.  Abram lies about Sarah and brings disease on Pharoh’s house.  Sarah gets impatient waiting for the son God promised to her and has Abram impregnate her servant Hagar, from whom Ishmael is born.  Ishmael becomes a nation because of God’s love, but Hagar and Ishmael bear the burden of Sarah’s impatience.  The list goes on…and on and on and on…it doesn’t seem fair to me. 

But then Jesus, the sinless God-man, dies on a cross.  He becomes sin for us.  He died for the sins I have committed, and the sins committed against me.  He died so that we could love one another truly.  And somehow His love and His sacrifice works…not only for us to one day enter eternety with Him, but to change how we live today, to release us from this mess we’ve all made from the things we do to one another. 

Tonight the students are reading Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.  I’ve been in and out this weekend due to other commitments and errands, but I’m okay with that.  I have been blessed recently to be able to study the Bible in large chunks like we did this weekend.  I am looking forward to (and a little nervous about) delving in tomorrow for a full day.  So it is still, really, the beginning.

In the Beginning (Bible Week…Day 1)

This week we have a speaker coming to lead our Discipleship Training School through reading the entire Bible in a week, Saturday to Saturday, sun-up to sun-down.

Our staff are so excited that we’re closing down the office and base functions for a week so we can attend with them.

This last week or two on base has been a little crazy.  I feel like God is stirring things up (and allowing things to be stirred) so that a lot of junk is at the surface and He can deal with it as we experience scripture in such an intense way.  I just pray that we are not distracted, but are able to bring these things before the Lord and be open to what He is doing.

I’m going to try and post here as often as possible. I feel like I’m going on a road trip or something.

Today we begin at the beginning…

 

Genesis.

Waiting

After two of the busiest weeks of the year, followed by another week that did not slow down, I feel like I should update you on the 12 girls who descended upon our base for Discipleship Training School (they’re amazing), about the vision strategy meeting where God placed the same issues on each of our hearts (Community begins at home.  With relationship.  Who knew?), about the teams that will be going to Israel, Ethiopia, and Asia this year…but in the middle of rehashing all the details of an update, I realize that if I am bored writing it, my readers will be bored reading it.  And I do not want to bore anyone.  So…that’s your update (for now)…

12 girls for the DTS = amazing

Community begins at home, and we’re working on that this year.  Again.  😉

Israel, Ethiopia, Asia, and who knows where else.

As for me and my heart…

…I have come to the conclusion that I am learning to wait on the Lord.  A week and a half ago I got to teach a little girl to dance in the Spirit…which was basically teaching her how to wait and let Him take the lead.

Yesterday I got to play my violin in worship.  Twice.  Both times I got feedback on how incredible it was…actually, people have been saying that a lot recently…how my skills are really improving and what not.  I’m thinking to myself, “What I am doing right now is waaaaaay less technical than what I was doing when I picked it back up months ago.”

What I am doing differently…is waiting.  Sometimes on a single note.  F#.  F# again.  Still playing F#.  Suddenly a run comes out of nowhere (that’s like a lick, for those of you who specialize in more fretted stringed instruments.)  Sometimes I wait without playing…or without the violin in my hands at all.  I don’t “hear” the part, so I don’t play…and I realize that it works best with what everyone else is doing.

Not that learning to listen in ensemble is anything new to me.  Not that learning to wait is anything new, either.  Just seems to be where I am right now.  And I am feeling incredibly impatient…like standing there with my violin in my hands, thinking, “Why don’t I have anything to play? [pause pause pause] Ooooooooooh…because I’m not supposed to play right now.”  Then I set down the violin and a moment later realize it’s almost my cue.  I haven’t played some of these songs in months, and last time I played it differently.  How, then, do I know it’s almost my cue?  Must be Jesus.  I pick up the violin and play a scale and the whole room erupts into movement and color and life.

I remember when I started learning to dance with God.  I would wait, with my hands open, and breathe.  Just breathe.  And wait.  Pretty soon my arms would know which way to move and my feet would follow the gentle motion.  Learning to wait while playing in a band with a bunch of rock-n-roll worshipers is a bit more…raucous…to say the least.  Not all worshipers are rock-n-roll, but these guys are!  Learning ensemble with them may just be a miracle for this often soft spoken ballerina, and I’m loving it.

The Beauty of Questions

It all began with a rather raw and vulnerable question for God:

Do you want me bad enough to put me back together? Am I worth the time this takes?

Early last year this question, scrawled in my journal, sent me to explore an exercise my friend Tara (of Anam Cara Ministries) had sent to me.  It is fairly simple…

I come up with three questions: one for God, one for my heart, one for God and my heart.   I take three index cards and write one question per card, then turn the cards over and shuffle them.   Without looking at the questions, I tape them down to a scrap of paper or board.  Now comes the fun part: color!  I paint each card with whatever color or texture I feel like.  While the paint is drying I get to go through magazines and tear out pictures…whatever pictures I have a strong emotional reaction to, consonance or dissonance.  Then I arrange the pictures on the cards and glue my little collages together.

I try to forget about the question and focus on only the color and images while I am working.  The idea is to stay in the question instead of looking for answers.  When I finally get to turn the cards over and see which question goes with which picture, I find that I am learning more about myself and God, about my unspoken hopes and desires, and about faith.  Not every picture is an answer per se, but they do correspond.

The above question which started the whole process resulted in another question:

“Well, what if stuff happens again?”

God: Do you want me bad enough to put me back together?

Extracted from an insurance ad, the words positioned over clouds and beach-grass with a running shoe gave me the uneasy sense that this road would get harder before it got better.  I honestly did not know what to make of it.

Here I am, almost a year later, and I can tell you two things:  stuff happened again, and God wanted me enough to put me back together.

I have 20 little sets of these cards.  Questions from raw, hungry, almost desperate, sometimes timid, fearful, playful, hopeful, raw places in my soul…

…did I make the right choice?

…what if I never get this?  Will you still love me?

…did I let you down?

…what am I missing?

…what do you want to bring out in me this week?

…what  am I hoping for?

…am I worthy of you?

…what do I want?

…what do you want for me, God?

…how do I live well?

The questions are deeply personal, and although I have shared some very general ones, I can look at them and remember the ache,  sometimes confusion, and longing.  This evening I spent assembling the 20 sets of cards from 2010 into a book, and as I look at each collection of cards, the thing that stands out to me most is hope.

The exercise is a discipline of faith, being willing to trust God enough to let the question sit unanswered while I make pretty pictures.  Even asking the questions has taken a good measure of faith.  I have poured out all my doubt, fear, and misgivings into these questions, and without meaning to I have discovered what it means to live in hopeful expectancy.  I wonder if we realize just how interconnected fear and faith truly are.