Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Isn't it wonderful how those little computers in our pocket come to life so easily? My two year old knows how to work my iphone. Amazing. He knows just how to press that button at the bottom and then slide his sticky fingers across the face of it to open it up. And it can do anything we want it to. As the saying goes, "there's an app for that!" Better still is that when it runs low on juice all we have to do is plug it into a wall somewhere.
So why is it that I often forget that little detail? Why is it that I allow the amazing computer in my pocket to come into such a low state of functioning that I might as well not even have it? Sometimes I think I need a sign taped to my bathroom mirror that says, HEY SAMI--CHARGE YOUR PHONE!!!!! Anyone out there relate?!
The truth is sometimes I think God is trying to communicate a similar message to my life: HEY SAMI--CHARGE YOUR SPIRIT!!!!
Holy cow, life is hard! There are those times when everything within me is calling out, each cell in my body screaming the duress I feel when caught in the impossible. It comes out as a wail in the bottom of my gut, wordless but wrenching. Only the wordlessness can encompass the difficulty of the situation I find myself in. Ugh doesn't even come close.
I know you've been there.
Haven't we all felt trapped at one time or another? When I feel trapped my mind immediately goes to that place where I feel the need to be cut free. And when I am in that place I forget. I forget that there is a Tower of Strength and Comfort I can plug myself into.
Why is it I forget God made me to be overcomer, victor in the midst of strife, living memorial of His power to sustain? Why do I forget that Jesus not only walks on the storm like it's a carpet, but invites me to? Why do I allow the amazing spirit God made and placed in me to come into such a low state of functioning that I might as well not even have it?
I'm not trying to be morose or a downer. I'm just trying to articulate that place that especially needs what only God can give. Because I believe so powerfully that accessing the power of God in our lives is a simple as plugging our phones into the wall. Really.
It's not even a whole verse in the Bible, it's a phrase in a verse in the Bible. But it has the Power of God to change everything for us. It's the last part of Romans 4:20: "but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God." It's tucked away in the story of how Abraham became the father of many nations, especially God's people, even though everything about his life said he wasn't the father of anything. But what this little verse is telling us is that a Divine Exchange happens every time we extend ourselves (step out of default mode and consciously step into something else) in the direction of God. As we step out towards God, God infuses us with everything we need to be and do what He is calling us to be and to do.
Two words. Glory. Faith.
As we give glory to God, we grow strong in our faith. The Greek word for glory is doxa. It means dignity, glory, honour, praise, worship. (See http://concordances.org/strongs/greek/1391.htm.) As we give God dignity, glory, honour, praise, and worship something significance happens to us. Within us. I swear I can even feel the stuff of my body changing when I worship God. It's that simple--praise and worship. For me it means that I open up my mouth and really sing. From the stuff of who I am I belt it out. I sing as if no one else is in the room and God is the only one who can hear. And then I lift my hands. Sometimes I dance. I find the song whose lyrics scratch the itch I can't seem to reach; I download it onto my phone; I stick the CD into my car. On my worst days I just say the words, "I praise God for . . . ." And then I fill in the blank with whatever my eyes land on first. I don't even have to mean the words I say. I just have to say them. The saying of them leads me into the meaning them.
The trouble is most of us think we have to feel like worshipping to actually worship God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's why it's called the "sacrifice of praise." Because there are days we want to do anything but worship God. But when we actually open our mouths and let worship and praise come out of it, when we literally lift our hands, when me open our ears and listen to it wafting on the airwaves, the chemistry of our brains changes. We open up a door where God is able to step into our reality and begin making it His.
Which leads us to the second word. Faith. The Greek word for faith is pistis. It means faith, belief, trust, confidence, fidelity, faithfulness. (See http://concordances.org/strongs/greek/4102.htm.) As we praise and worship God, our faith is changed. It grows stronger. Our believing grows stronger. Our trust grows stronger. Our confidence . . . grows stronger. Our ability to stick with something, for others to count on us . . . grows stronger. I don't know anyone who doesn't want that. Often we think we just need to try harder. But trying harder is not the answer. One of my favorite sayings from my psychology days goes something like "insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results." It is not in us to produce something other than what we are. But it is in us to connect to Someone who can make us more of what we are supposed to be.
What I love about God is that He supplies within us the very thing He responds to the most. When we believe Him, He moves. When we trust Him, He shows up. When we rest the need of our lives in His capable Hands, His Hand become capable in our lives. Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Like so many I am in a place in my life where I no longer have the resources to see myself through. I need Something beyond myself to help me get where I need to be. It didn't used to be like that. I used to be able to drag up from within the dregs of my motivation, energy, and intellect what was needed to get through. That is no longer true. The challenges are bigger than me. But I am absolutely convinced that my God is far superior to any challenge I face. But I cannot connect to God's power if I refuse to connect to God.
So when I plug in my phone tonight, I'm going to remember another plug in I need to make. Because I want my life to be power packed.