He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9
Monday, August 20, 2012
The Great Pursuit
When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD."
I remember as a young christian reading this book and thinking, " I can't imagine what that's like, to have to chase and pursue someone after they have turned their back on you"
It didn't make sense. It didn't seem fair. Why would God ask Hosea to do such a thing? I begin to read more. God chose this man to be a living illustration of His love for his chosen people. That was such a "good" and heart warming story back then as I read it. I remember journaling about it more after reading the book 'Redeeming Love' by Francine Rivers. I was excited about this love! I would have never imagined the Lord would years later ask me to do the same thing. Why?! Because He displays such love upon me everyday.
I once read that our hearts are an idol factory, constantly exchanging one idol for another. Man, how I AGREE!!! Everyday, I play the harlot in some form. I'm constantly having to examine my heart and ask "whom is it today will I serve".
As a urban youth worker, I have found myself having to ask that question a lot. Having to examine closely the log that is in my own eye as I notice the speak that is in a lot of the kids we minister to. Ministry, has been so difficult the past couple of months. I know I've said that before, but this time it's serious. So serious in fact I, for the first time, told my husband I was ready to move and be done. I found myself, wanting to give up, ready to pack up, and move as far away as we could. it just seems, we keep getting hit, blow, after blow, after blow. The weight of the ministry and burden I feel for the kids and other personal issues was just too much for me to handle at one time.
After ministering to people for so long sometimes you expect things to be different, you don't expect neighbors to turn on you, or girls you disciple lie on you or to you. You don't expect parents whom your loved with every imperfect ounce of your being to tell you in so many words, they don't want to talk to with you anymore.
You don't expect to get stole from, you don't expect to be slandered or gossip about. People whom you have once considered family
now have become distant associates.
God quickly reminded me of his pursuit of me.....
Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."- Hosea 3:1
Even in the midst of heartache, betrayal, pain and embarrassment, God calls me to pursue my neighbor ( and their kids) as HE has ALWAYS from eternity pass pursued me in my foolishness. This is the gospel! This is what it means to forgive seventy times seven. God humbled me and is still doing so. I'm called to live out this faith I so desperately claim I believe in all the time,it's funny how life's difficulties is when I have the BEST opportunity to do so. Am I good at it? heck no, I suck! This has been the most draining couple of months ever, yet it has also been the most rewarding. Pursing others, especially your "enemies" (or non) is at the heart of Jesus message. I'm left venerable, I've had to confess so much sin to the kids I minister to. I'm sure I'm not finish.
I've had to swallow so much pride and realize that people liking me, loving me and thinking I'm great is NOT what I'm here for, that is NOT the task that I've been called to. I'm here to make His name great! WE've been called here to protect the name of the Lord and not our own reputations.
I'm learning how to die y'all! Die to my own rights, die to my controlling ways, I'm learning how to untangle myself from the lie that successful ministry means that things are "going well", growing in numbers and having many kids and adults "like" me.
I'm so thankful Jesus came to save the sinner! I'm so thankful that Jesus came to set the captives free! Praise God that message ain't just for my neighbor but that also includes ME!!
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
The God I know and serve is relentless! May we all by HIS grace be as He in our love towards one another.
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