Second blog post of 2009, and it’s Dec 30. The nice thing about doing only 2 posts per year is that I can be almost certain that no one is reading my blog.
I’ve been rather down lately, so this will be a bit of an internal journal. No need to go into the details, but this period of waiting, mixed with some uncertainties and lots of questions for God, has left me with little emotional energy to spare. However, God has also peppered this time with many and true blessings. One recently is the renewed appetite He has put in me for His Word.
In case you were wondering (though I know you weren’t), the title of this post is blatantly stolen from Tom Olbricht’s autobiography, Hearing God’s Voice: My Life with Scripture in the Churches of Christ. Olbricht’s hermeneutical journey has deeply shaped my own thought, but that’s not the point of this post. Be thankful – you narrowly escaped quite an esoteric rant.
Challenged by Jared King and the Renovatus church, I picked up my old habit of memorizing Scripture. I decided to start with 1 Peter. We’ll see how far I get into the book. To date, I’ve only made it 16 verses into chapter 1. But those 16 verses are a constant companion with me each day. I have the whole chapter printed out in my pocket, ready for a moment’s lull in whatever I’m doing. I lay awake at night with its cadence resounding in my brain. Each emotion I feel during the day seems to resonate with one phrase or another. On a fairly constant basis I’ve been challenged to look beyond the (often negative) thoughts and feelings of the moment… far beyond… to the “revelation of Jesus Christ,” the time when He brings the salvation and grace to which all of history has been pointing. Here’s a little bit more of what I mean.
1 Peter 1:13 “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
How often I’m reminded, of late, when I am placing my hope in something in the near future. Most of it, for me at this juncture, is related to the hope of eventually emerging from this preparation phase and getting to the actual moving-overseas phase. Wow, how small that hope looks when measured against the true hope of Christ’s amazing reappearance! The more I’ve fixed my hope “completely” on the right target the last several days, the more I am beginning to be filled with “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). And it feels good.
1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
“Various trials” sums up how I feel with an ambiguity that fits my mood exactly. I’m kind of beyond the point of caring what the details are of these various trials. They all run together. How pleasant it is, for a while, to look beyond them to a much brighter scene ahead. Note that I say “look beyond,” not ignore. Peter is very clear that these trials are part of God’s work in me, for the testing and proof of my faith. And I am well aware that my faith is being tested and refined, like gold in a furnace. I am intensely cognizant of God at work in me. It gives me great hope to hear, multiple times a day, His goals in all this: “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I’m using to saying those words in reference to God; but if I understand right, this indicates that, some day, He’ll be saying these things to me. What a thought.
There’s plenty more I could say. Let this summary suffice: God’s Word, making its way from my pocket to my heart, is shaping me once again in inexpressible ways, and for that I give great thanks.