Monday, September 5, 2011

Packing Up for Someplace New (Part 2 of 2)

Raising children has a way of shining gorgeous light on God’s blessings in our lives. Despite our daughter Carly’s severe disabilities, we have often been astounded by the ways God has used our greatest challenge for good purposes. I’m a firm believer in focusing on the things we can be grateful for. Even our ministry makes a point of focusing on the amazing evidence we see of God’s presence in the midst of people’s lives.

But here’s the problem: sometimes we can get a little addicted to seeing those tangible expressions of God in our midst. We can even give those blessings so much of our attention that we forget to attach our foremost affections on the Source itself.

In last Monday’s blog, we were reflecting on Rachel’s story in Genesis 29-31. If you haven’t read those chapters or the blog post, it will help to do that right now in bringing today’s reflections into context. There was simply so much to discover that I couldn’t fit it all in one week.

In Rachel’s story, we see a woman who had a desperate dream.

When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children, she became jealous of her sister. “Give me children, or I’ll die!” she exclaimed to Jacob. Genesis 30:1

It’s certainly not a bad thing to have hopes and dreams. Many of our dreams are actually planted in us by God Himself. The problem comes, like in Rachel’s case (e.g., 30:3), when our attachment to the dream competes with our affections for God Himself. If following a dream leads us into sin, then we know we’ve really crossed the line to having a dream become an idol.

What do you want more — God’s blessings or God Himself?

If you don’t see a blessing, are you tempted to do something to create it or do you ever try to replace the longing with something else?

Are the blessings that God is already providing enough for you?

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:13, 15-16

LORD God, please forgive me for desiring anything more than You. Please decrease my fixation on anything that undermines my wholehearted devotion to You. Please increase my appetite for time with You and Your Word. Teach me what behaviors, relationships and material things I need to set aside and show me which dreams to embrace in Your name. Then help me to follow Your leading while keeping my eyes set on You, not on the dream. Thank You, Jesus, for taking me along with You in this great adventure of life! AMEN

Incidentally, if you’re a historical fiction fan and have found reflecting on Rachel’s story to be intriguing or helpful, I strongly recommend that you read Liz Curtis Higgs’ Lowlands of Scotland Series. I thoroughly enjoyed it a couple of years ago and have drawn heavily from my memories of it while applying this scripture to my own life again recently.

May the Lord continue to bless you as we dig into the deeps of His Word and His grace in us!

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