If I measure by the fervency and frequency of my prayers for others salvation, my heart has not been broken enough. That was my first humbling realization in reading this chapter.
|Paul’s Heart||My Heart|
|Paul described an enormous pain that never left him–for his family who had not yet believed in God.||I made a list that I cry over, entreat God to act in their lives to bring them back/into the fold. God challenged the amount of pain I felt for them.|
|Paul would give his life with God on earth and for eternity for them?||God, give me your love, your capacity for that kind of love that Paul professes that I know comes only through you. May I show it by time on my knees.|
Romans 9:6-19 brought Madeline L’Engle’s poem to my mind. We humans egocentrically think our lives are all about us. The truth is, our lives are part of a much bigger drama that is created, written, and directed by God.
Someone has altered the script.
My lines have been changed.
The other actors are shifting roles.
They don’t come on when they’re expected to,
and they don’t say the line I’ve written
and I’m being upstaged.
I thought I was writing this play
with a rather nice role for myself,
small, but juicy
and some excellent lines.
But nobody gives me my cues
and the scenery has been replaced
and I don’t recognize the new sets.
This isn’t the script I was writing.
I don’t understand this play at all.
To grow up
is to find
the small part you are playing
in this extraordinary drama
~ Madeleine L’Engle, in The Ordering of Love: The New & Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle, published by Crown Publishing, 2008
|God’s Role||My Role|
|What about God’s promise? He always fulfills His promises to us. I know that I am dancing in God’s circle of Love.||Salvation doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat. God choses, adopts & redeems. (16 & Eph. 1:3-5)|
|Does God depend on our choice? He tells me, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (17)||God’s power will be displayed through me. (17) I have given my heart to him, His Spirit lives in me, and I ask for his help to determine my thoughts and actions.|
|This is our question, isn’t it? Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?” (19)||This is our teaser for next week. Does it really matter if we give ourselves to God, or can we live however we desire, because “if we’re chosen, we’re chosen.”|
My friend Shelly, a “friend of deep conversations,” and I discussed this questions for hours recently:
Do we know? Would the great God who desires the best for us all, who goes after the one lost sheep, would he be willing to give us one last chance when we die? Does this happen as we meet God after death or must it be before we die? We were exploring our picture of God the Father in this area and found our pictures didn’t always match up. We ended still with different ideas, but then I read the first part of Romans 1 and decided we had to start our next converation here: Am I judging God? That question convicted me. As a kid, I whined that’s not fair when my younger brother got to go deep sea fishing with my father instead of me, older but a daughter. As an adult I whined about teachers’ salaries, especially Christian school teachers. I whined about not being considered qualified to get a job because I didn’t have the degree even though I have the skills, experience, and drive. I whined about my babies having to deal with a death-threatening condition for the rest of their lives—why didn’t God give it to me instead? Then I got cancer in my 30s and whined about that.
I’m still here, God, and I’m trying not to whine. I remind myself that you are God, and I accept being pruned, I choose to be teachable, and I need your help to pray consistenly for those I love who don’t show evidence of living with you as Lord and Savior. You are God. I am not. I praise you.