Thursday, March 6, 2014

Call Me Mary

If one is familiar with common Christian "speak," she will understand me when I say I tend to be a Martha, and if one isn't, this references a story in the New Testament when Jesus enters the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha.  Mary sat at Jesus' feet soaking in his presence and his words of wisdom while Martha flustered about the house laboring in ways she felt would please their guest.  Martha eventually became perturbed with Mary for not helping and actually went so far to tattle to Jesus, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!"  A demand to which Jesus responded, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her."  I'm guessing that Martha was figuratively floored by Jesus' response, but did she join Mary at Jesus' feet upon learning it was truly what he desired over her busy, tireless labor?  The Bible does not reveal this detail, so we are left speculating.  Likely. this is one of the scenarios depicted in God's Word at which we scoff at the characters and think things like, "Why wouldn't they obey, or how stupid can they be to continueuselessly on the same path given their experience?"  I can recall countless times as a child in Sunday School having these thoughts that continued even into adulthood when considering the Israelites' behavior in light of the obvious evidence of God's faithful provision and benevolence toward them.  I think back to the Old Testament scene where the Israelites are waiting impatiently for Moses to return after God had recently delivered them from slavery in Egypt, and they quickly resorted to creating a false God to worship because they're concerned about Moses' delay and wanted to seek some form of comfort, and in there great wisdom with the recent memory of the faithful care provided by the God of their forefather's fresh in their minds, all they could figure to do was gather every one's gold to melt down and form into the image of a cow and worship it,  I'm sorry but, from my perspective, that seems downright idiotic, and that's what I mean, when we encounter these stories, sometimes we think, "I'd never be that stupid to forget so quickly what the one true God had faithfully accomplished on my behalf in his infinite power and turn to something as ridiculous as that for comfort and support, but here I am this morning after months that have turned into years without writing, finally blogging where the spirit has led me during my morning time at Jesus' feet, because I finally got my hind end out of bed this morning in time to do it after many, many mornings of rebelliously, snuggling into the covers seeking the temporary comforts of sleep instead of getting up to find superior comfort at the feet of Jesus.  Mind you, while I was actively refusing to sit at the feet of Jesus, I was just as actively seeking out opportunities to serve him, so yeah, full on, Martha!  At one point, probably, at least, a year ago, I was brought to task by a woman approaching me at a church we were visiting, telling me she had been led to pray for me despite us being strangers and to give me a Bible , so I received the Bible she held out, but its message of, "Cori, get back into my word!" I filed somewhere other than my heart and continued (despite my clear awareness of this not being God's first attempt to direct me back into the habitual and prayerful study of his word.  In fact, even at this point, I was in awe of his love, patience, and mercy as he pursued me despite my stubborn and pointless refusal to submit to his guidance.)finding whatever temporary comfort I could in sleep each day leaning heavily on the crutch of my disability because no one's going to question that.  I mean, whose going to tell me that I can't sleep in ridiculously late on a daily basis when I confess that I'm just hiding from the struggle I face when I get out of bed?  So, anyway, not only was I embodying the often scoffed at characteristics of Martha, I was carrying on a pretty decent Israelite simultaneously.  Yes, this girl's got talent in the impersonating Biblical failures!

Well, this morning I woke up as usual as my husband prepared for work.  I laid in bed until he left with plans to dose off soon after, but this morning, I couldn't shake the need to be at my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ's feet, and I blame it solely on the stupid, major life decisions Tim and I have been forced to make recently regarding our finances.  My soul needed some comfort that only Jesus can give, so I found myself in prayerful study at the kitchen table, once again, being floored by God's persistence after me in spite of my orneriness.  I just cracked her open and started reading not knowing of a better way to begin after so long, and I found myself in Isaiah 30 and read through 32, but let's look at the first words God had to say to me and consider how amazingly appropriate they are in light of recent confessions, Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine...who go down to Egypt (a reference to the Israelites deliverence from slavery there causing me to ask myself, "from where have I been delivered that I continue to visit in hopes of gaining some comfort)...who look for help to Pharoah's (sleep's, in my case) protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge, so here I am again scoffing at the Iraelites returning to a place of slavery hoping to find some comfort there when all long the awesome God who faithfully and powerfully delivered them from that place was available with all the comfort in they could need and more if they'd chosen to patiently sit at his feet in his presence, but scripture goes on to reveal God's much more merciful heart on their behavior and mine, "Yet, the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion...blessed are all who wait for him!"

There's always GOOD NEWS!  The truth that everyone resists about the Christian faith is that we all totally suck, or in the much more appropriate words of scripture, "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23.  Most people hear that first part and turn and run, but if you stick around, you'd hear the rest of the verse containing the GOOD NEWS, "and are justified freely by his grace."  In summary, we all totally suck, me and yes, even you, but upon acknowledging that and confessing our belief who the Bible teaches Jesus is, our record is cleared before God no matter what's on it whether it be murder or habitually sleeping in despite God's prodding to spend time with him, and that moment, then, is when you are delivered from slavery from whatever suckerific thing(s) that were holding you back from being the person God intended you to be, and let's make it our goal to remember from where and how we were delivered and not return to seeking comfort in the things that once enslaved us.  Let's learn from the Israelites and Martha's failures and discover for ourselves what happens when we choose what is better, and hopefully, later generations will be able to look at the example of our experiences and learn from our spiritual successes rather than our failures.  Its good to be back!

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