Saturday, October 22, 2011

Great Disappointments

It's late, but I just wanted to quickly share about something I've been learning about lately. It's all compiled from this past week's personal experiences, and today's worships and sermons etc.

Today is October 22. Many of my readers would probably know the significance of this date. This is when the "Great Disappointment" of 1844 occurred for those who believed that Jesus was coming on that date. Obviously, He didn't, and the disappointment the believers experienced was equal to the high expectation they had cherished. Another example of a "great disappointment" in church history was the cross. In both cases, the believers expected some great event because they misinterpreted the scriptures, but their hopes were dashed and they experienced disappointment. However, in both cases God had something infinitely better in store for them. Instead of an earthly kingdom, Jesus was establishing His heavenly kingdom at the cross. And instead of coming in 1844, Jesus began His final work of atonement so that we can actually be ready when He comes. 

This doesn't only happen on a church-level. In my own life I have experienced times when I have been disappointed, or have gone through a trying time. For example, coming back to Fountainview to work has been an awesome learning and growing experience, and I love being able to be here with the students and staff I have made friends with. But one "disappointment" I have experienced is not being so involved in the music program any more. Last year it was the very air I breathed -- almost my entire life and passion outside of school. It was one of my greatest passions for God, writing and playing music all the time that directly praised Him. And I especially loved working with my friends in the orchestra and music office. Then this year, all of a sudden, I found myself so close, sometimes able to savour a small taste every once in a while, but no longer a real part of it. It's so hard to explain, but I'm sure you have had your own personal experiences like this. It's been a hard struggle, and I've missed it terribly. I no longer have something that was so dear to me. 


I still miss it, but I am finally starting to learn the lessons God had for me in this experience. He's taught me that I can have joy in Him no matter how sad or discouraged I feel. I need to keep my eyes off of myself and what I want, and instead focus on the purpose He has for me right now, right here. Jesus has something better for me than I could possibly imagine; I just need to trust Him, in spite of the circumstances. And I can do none of this without His Spirit living in me, filling me with that unexplainable joy, keeping my focus on Christ, and giving me strength to trust Him. 

The song "Blessings" by Laura Story says it so well:

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Run

Well, post # four. I know, I'm slow, but you can't always force creativity, right? Anyways, I just wanted to share with you what I read in my devotions this morning. It was really cool.

I was reading Psalm 84, which is really good, has lots of food for thought. But I've read it lots before, and I wanted something new this time. So I decided to do a bit of Strong's look up. Pretty easy with a very nice little iPod app...just load a chapter, then click on linked words to see the definition of the Greek or Hebrew word. So I was clicking through random verses, and didn't really get any "wow" from the process (it's happened to me before) until I came to the last verse. Even God saves the best for last :)

"O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee" (Psalm 84:12 KJV). Simple verse. Little verse. But check this out:
"blessed"
אשר
Pronunciation: 'esher
From 833; happiness; only in masculine plural construction as interjection, how happy!:--blessed, happy.
"man"
אדם
Pronunciation: 'adam
From 119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.):--X another, + hypocrite, + common sort, X low, man (mean, of low degree), person.
"trusteth"
בטח
Pronunciation: batach
A primitive root; properly to hie for refuge (but not so precipitately as 2620); figuratively to trust, be confident or sure:--be bold (confident, secure, sure), careless (one, woman), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust.
I had to look up what "hie" meant in the dictionary: "to hasten; speed; go in haste."

So, if you haven't seen it already, here's the epiphany:
"O LORD of hosts, happy is the low human that hastens for refuge in Thee."

Wow. It came slowly, but as I started to see it more I got really excited. The word "happy" just makes that part so much more...meaningful. Defining "man" as a human and a man of low degree adds a bit of solemnity to it. Aren't we all in that category, compared to God?

My favourite part was to see that "trusteth" has such a deeper, broader meaning. It reminds me of those nightmares you used to have when you were little, where the bad monsters were chasing you, and you were running, running, running, trying to find a place to hide, a safe place—a place of refuge. Oh, the relief, the comfort, the joy, when you finally got to the place where the bad monsters could no longer reach you.

This is what it means to trust in God. When I'm struggling with something—when there are bad monsters in my life: fear, discouragement, sadness, confusion, frustration, you name it—what should I do? What should you do? Run to God. Hasten to Him, and you will find refuge. But the key is this: we need to realize that we are humans of low degree. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6 KJV). If we come to Him in humility, knowing we cannot battle the bad monsters on our own, He will help us. And we need to hasten—we need to run to Him at the first sign of danger. 

Humility + running for refuge in God = happiness.
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