Monday, May 7, 2012

Secrets

A banner I photographed at Bethany Covenant Church in Mt. Vernon, WA

1 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV1984)

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God

 

 

 

Ecclesiastes 12:14 (NIV1984)

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, 
whether it is good or evil.

Romans 2:16 (NIV1984)

16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, 
as my gospel declares.

 This morning I felt the Lord leading me to read Romans and I got as far as Romans 2:16 before I had to start checking the cross references. The subject of "secrets and secret places" is one that intrigues me. I would like to get to a place of having resolved my hidden issues to the point of my life being an open book. I'd like for the person on the inside and the one on the outside to be truly one and the same. Needless to say I have not yet arrived. My husband says I keep too much to myself and he is right. I've got a lot of trust issues, not with God but with people. I am much more open and transparent than I have been but I still have a very long way to go. I'm not sure why it is important to me to become more open, I think it is part of a journey to freedom and I simply desire to no longer be held captive by old fears, failures, shame, guilt, sins. I suppose its kind of similar to and perhaps even tied to the need to leave a legacy thing. They just seem to be hardwired into who I am - so I have come to accept both as part of God working in my life. Honestly, I could get all wigged out over both but I am growing to be more accepting of myself and how God has chosen to wire and gift me. I have for years endeavored to be faithful to use the gifts and talents that God has given me. Along the way opportunities arise and I find he has given me more. I think most of it simply springs from John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. Abiding in Him, is the place I make a point to live. It is possible to live there because I know that the Lord accepts me just as I am in this moment, with all my flaws and failures. I don't have to hide them from him, he sees and he knows and he simply loves me and continues to work as we journey together. With the Lord, I have no secrets.

I guess that one my problem is with people and the pack mentality of trying to destroy what is unique or different. We don't like people who rock the boat and shake us out of our complacency. We try to surround ourselves with others who are just like us. By doing this in our churches we end up where everyone is comfortable to be surrounded by others just like them self. You get a whole church full of hands, rather than a complete and functioning body.

I recently heard the word intimacy described as "In to me see".  To be known, understood and accepted and I suppose for that to be possible I must make the effort to know, and see, and hear others, and to accept them where they are presently and believe they are capable of making the changes with Gods help to become who he would have them to be.  I must become willing to take down my own walls and allow others to see into me.

Not sure where I'm going with this - guess I'll let it stew for a while and come back to it.  
I started writing this on Saturday morning before I went shopping for art supplies for a painting I'm working on. You can see more about that at my other blog. Its now Monday morning and I have a small window of quiet time to finish this up before I'm off and running. 

So here's the flip side. While I am endeavoring to be open, honest, transparent. There is another side and that is being a safe person for others. There are things that people share with me that it is not my place to share. Am I a person who can be trusted to keep a confidence. I think there are things that we can be working through that really don't need to be on public display. They may become a testimony of Gods grace in our life at some point in the futre but in this moment they are shared only with the Lord and a few very trusted people. I think that "judge nothing before its appointed time" verse comes into play in such situations. God is in the process of shining his life on various place and often we can't even fully understand all that He is doing. We need him to take the blinders off our eyes and to help us see the bigger picture. Often that takes time. My point is don't suffer in darkness and silence alone. Find someone you trust and talk about it.


The other thing I keep in mind is that sometimes the Lord shows us things in our personal quiet time with Him. Often we don't fully understand those visions or dreams or little whips of information. They are often like puzzel pieces and we don't really see how they fit till we find other surrounding parts of the puzzel. I have found it is not always a wise thing to share these kind of thing. People are quick to dismiss a dream or a vision. Just consider how Josephs family responded to the wild dreams that he shares with them. It was a very long journey to the actuality of those dreams. I'm sure that Joseph had days as a slave, and while in prison that he remembered those dreams and thought he must have been nuts yet it seems he never forgot.  

I think there is a difference between how Mary and Zachariah respond to the messages of God that are given to them.  Mary, approaches it with wonder. I don't know how this is possible but is willing to trust and be God's vessel.  
Luke1: 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
  
Zachariah on the other hand is told about the birth of his son John and wants proof because he has become kind of jaded after years and years of praying for a child. For him unbelief and doubt kick in and they don't keep God from accomplishing his purposes Zechariah spends a while being mute.  Luke 1 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? 
I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. 
 I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, 
because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

There are often things that the Lord shows me and kind of like the inspiration for various big art projects I see something but don't totally understand it. The journey from here to there often seems impossible. The question is how will I sit with such revelations. Will I demand that God give me a sign, much like Zechariah or will I be like Mary, who asks "How can this be..." Her question is not one of doubt or unbelief but more of a sense of wonder to try and understand what she is being told.  When God shows us something that He intends to do, we don't need to manipulate circumstances to help God out. God is quite capable on His own to work things out according to his plan and timing. So quite often I take those things and set them aside as, I don't understand this, but for some reason you felt it important for me to have this information ahead of time. I don't know what to make of it but I will leave it in your hands to work out in your time. 


I think there is room for secrets based in the wonder of the God we serve.
Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The secrets that are destructive are the ones that lie covered in shame, guilt, and failure. Those are the secret places that we need to allow the Lord to shine his light of truth upon. We need to allow him to do some house cleaning. Those secrets hold more power over us when kept un-spoken, and hidden away. Those kind of secrets should be shared with a trusted friend, counselor, spiritual advisor. Some how the power of a bully is broken over a victim when the victim finds the courage to speak up and get help. Those kind of secrets create structures in our life that keep us from being able to move forward to be who God would have us become. We protect and hide them away and we become like Gollum in the Lord of the Ring who is mastered by "the precious". It is a secret of sin, shame, guilt, failure that he protects and slowly it destroys him. 

Prayer: 
Dear Lord,
Help us to know the difference between the things you would have us treasure up in our hearts and those things that are secrets of darkness that we must find the courage to allow you to shine the light of truth upon. Help us to trust you and find the courage we need to walk in greater and increasing freedom. Thank you for the things that you show us, even when we don't understand what they may mean. You are able, help us to like Mary treasure up those things and ponder them and simply walk with you day by day. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,”  “May it be to me as you have said.”

 

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