I'm often trying to tie together loose ends. I always like to be learning something. . . but, when you are struggling through different issues, spending time at different places in the Word and working on things in many areas of your life, it can be hard to come up with the main thing God is trying to teach you. This week, it's about seeing.
Pastor Jon has recently challenged us to join his new Bible reading plan. He is doing 3 chapters a day and 5 on Sundays. What makes it interesting is his suggestion to do one morning reading, one mid-day and one evening chapter. This helps God's Word to permeate your day. For me, it is also creating greater levels of intimacy as I interact with His Word and His truth throughout the day! He's also blogging about almost every chapter, so you can pop on by to his blog and read his (much deeper than mine) thoughts and challenges!
I started a bit later than he did, so I had to jump into chapter 35 to get caught up. I had just finished the first 15 chapters, so I just have to add a chapter here or there from 15-35 to read what I missed. . .although I'm pretty familiar with Genesis after doing Beth Moore's The Patriarchs (which I HIGHLY recommend. . .and I was in. . but that's for another story).
Can I tell you. . I am LOVING Genesis. The stories are so captivating! The action / adventure / romance and intrigue always get me. And. . .I have to say that I agree with Pastor Jon and usually pretty much don't like Jacob at all! (although some of my greatest lessons have come from him!)
The last few days, we have been in Genesis 37-46 which recount the stories of Joseph going to Egypt. Today, I finished early (I read WAY ahead yesterday because I just couldn't put it down!) so I went back to read Genesis 17. This is where the multiple lessons came crashing together.
Enter Hagar. A maidservant (already not my favorite life), GIVEN to her mistress' husband to have sex with (lovely, huh) who then gets upset with her mistress (duh), the mistress then decides to abuse her (uh, Sarai, wasn't this your idea to begin with?). She runs away.
Can you imagine the pain that Hagar has gone through? My heart aches for this woman. She must feel so used, so thrown away. . .so. . unseen.
Then, the angel of the Lord enters the scene and comforts her. He gives his blessing and sends her back on her way. Her response? "I have now seen the ONE who SEES ME."
Does that make your heart skip a beat? THE ONE WHO SEES ME. He has never forgotten. No matter if I am paying attention that day or not. . .he has not stopped paying attention to me. How precious is our Lord?!
That reminded me of Joseph's journey. He had his fair share of highs and lows. Being a prideful little brat. Being sold by his brothers. Being a slave. Given a chance. Being wrongfully accused. Being thrown in jail. Given a chance to rise up. Given a change to interpret dreams. Being forgotten. and finally, Given a chance to rise in power in Egypt only to confront the very same men who once sold him.
No matter what he went through, God was present. You get the sense that Joseph realized that. You get the sense that Joseph developed intimacy in the hard times instead of a bitter and cold heart. You get that he felt the eyes of the Lord upon him in the good and the bad. When finally given the chance for revenge. . .his comment was that it was the LORD who had sent him to Egypt and for the brothers not to blame themselves.
The One who sees me. How can I remember that this week? How can I live in greater intimacy? I want to continue to surrender all to my Lord. To surrender my plans, my dreams, my loved ones, my hopes for the future, my security, my gifts and talents, my time. . .all to HIM I long to surrender so that I LIVE int he truth that he is the ONE who sees me and in HIM will I place my trust.
Tonight, I had a great visual. I had talked to my friend, Kim on the way home. She was getting ready to head out the door to present the Uganda opportunity to her church leadership. I knew I wouldn't be able to think of anything else so I headed out running. I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's "My Surrender" and praying for her words, her peace and mostly of her surrender to whatever God's will was (knowing how much of her heart's desire is to go on this trip) and was praying the same things for myself. I suddenly realized. . .Kim is doing this same thing on her drive to the church. We live MANY states away. . and today about 80 degrees!. . .but tonight, we sat in the throne room shoulder to shoulder lifting our sacrifices to our King. To the ONE who sees us and cares about every little thing.
**ps: sorry this was so long. . I just can't help but record for history what Jesus is teaching me! And. . .I'm pretty long winded! hehe