Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learning to Believe

He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put 
their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3

I love this scripture. It communicates that God gave me a new song—a new story to share; because of this new song, many will grow in trusting the LORD. This is my heart’s desire. 

Birthday flowers

My new song is a long song; it has many verses. Some have yet to be written. A few are hard to share.

Verse 1        Salvation              fall, 1966                                                                Verse 2        Identity                winter, 2000                                                         Verse 3        Self-hatred                    winter, 2004 (I don’t like typing that word.)         Verse 4        Consecrated         summer, 2008                                                
Verse 5        VOW aware          spring, 2012                                                 
Verse 6        Desired                winter, 2013                                                        Verse 7        Believing              summer, 2013 (I title this verse in faith.)

Learning to believe—this is where I am living right now.

You ask, didn’t that happen in the fall of ’66?  Yes and no.

The night, the time, the place, the people are etched in my mind. I knelt in the upstairs bedroom and responded to Jesus’ invitation. My friend Shirley witnessed and rejoiced understanding  more than me the significance of my simple prayer. Later that evening she invited me to participate in my first small group Bible study. Thank you, Shirley.

It made sense; Christianity is more than religion, it is a friendship with God. Those first weeks I floated. Prayer made sense; I was having a conversation with a God who was listening. I wanted to learn more; I found new friends who were also interested in Bible study. Life was good.

But I didn’t leave me behind. My personal baggage—my past, my joys, my sorrows, my experiences, my insecurities—all of my humanity came with me; they defined me. Jesus never promised to transform my flesh. The line of baggage was long; I squinted to see the end.
Unpacking the first bags was encouraging; I liked what I found. The first bag held my heart for God. Church, Sunday school, youth group had always filled my Sundays. This new place seemed natural.

In the second bag I found my friendliness. Recruiting my first Bible study was also natural. God was encouraging me to be who He created me to be.

As I continued to unpack, God began entrusting me with some of the harder stuff—like my insecurities. Often I felt not good enough. That ugly untruth plagued me for many years.

As I journeyed, I needed to peer into more and more of the bags. The truth packed in those bags always seemed to relate to the previous lessons and confronted me with deeper wisdom—if only I would believe.  

Some of the bags brought ah-ha moments; others led to tears. Accepting and believing their story was always a step forward on my journey.

Some could be unpacked quickly; most could not. The heavy truths needed pondering, explanation and understanding. I persevered.

What I’m learning:
1.   I need to give everything to God for Him to use as He chooses. Sometimes His choice is that I share it. I need to obey.
2.   I need to trust God with the bags He wants me to unpack…even the order in which I unpack them.
3.   With each unpacked bag, I need to rest; breathe; thank God for entrusting me with this truth; I need to smile.

Roses are more fragrant as they open.

I wonder, have you identified the verses of your new song?

Many of the posts I will write this summer can be captured under the theme, Learning to Believe. I’ll be vulnerable. Will you join me?

“…because I have heard of your faith …I do not cease to give thanks for you remembering you in my prayers, that …God…may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,…”           
 Ephesians 1:15-19

“Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed,”              
 Lamentations 3:22

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