Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nest of Grace

We can become so good at the game of hiding ourselves. From behind a wall of what we think we ought to be, we sit and observe. We weigh and measure each response, every lifted eyebrow, and adjust accordingly. Behind the scenes, we continually re-write our script, always searching for that one right way to be. Yet we are unable to calm our anxious hearts, for we know full well that we will never be truly “right”. We are made this way, and have grown this way, however bent and gnarled we may be.

But we are no surprise to You. You knew us from our mother's womb. Foreknown by you, we were saved. Even our struggles, our hearts' straining to know truth, You foreknew. “All things” can only mean all things. So even in our weakness, our groans, our stumbling, You work out Your purpose for Your glory. Even in our constant turnings, worries over what we've said and done, You stand guard over us.

We huddle within You, like newly hatched sparrows in their nest. We feebly lift our upturned faces to You, eyes still dim, our mouth opens, straining to be filled with understanding, with knowledge of You. For this is our food and drink, this knowing of You. We know that this Truth is the answer to all of our searching. We can take it and hold it up against every thought, every situation. It lines everything up in order. It casts away the dross, and makes more brightly shine the gold. It polishes and chips away, even at us.

Lord we are safe in You, in this nest of grace. Within it we can take new steps, even the wrong ones. Our searching after You is done with our whole heart, and You will guide our eventual end. You oversee every thought and action, and even in our wrongness, You gently lead us to Truth. Up ahead is so dark, like a gloomy forest at dusk. But Your light shines before us, one step at a time. God, if only You can see our hearts, if only You can know us through and through, it is enough, it is become even our great hope. For even though knowing us, You still love us with an everlasting love. This is our resting place.

"How priceless is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings!" (Psalm 36:7)


Leonard said...

I need to soak in this one.

Also, nest of Grace, what a good name for someone's blog....

Have a great day

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Hi Maureen, I came across your comment this evening, thank you for saying something (often people stop by, but don't say "hello"). I appreciate your encouraging words and look forward to sharing and learning more about you and your walk. Always nice to hear what God is doing in others. Peace to you, In HIM Heather

Anonymous said...

"I feel persuaded that false doctrine, inasmuch as it touches God's sovereignty, is always an object of divine jealousy. Let me indicate especially the doctrines of free-will. I know there are some good men who hold and preach them, but I am persuaded that the Lord must be grieved with their doctrine though he forgives them their sin of ignorance. Free-will doctrine—what does it? It magnifies man into God; it declares God's purposes a nullity, since they cannot be carried out unless men are willing. It makes God's will a waiting servant to the will of man, and the whole covenant of grace dependent upon human action. Denying election on the ground of injustice it holds God to be a debtor to sinners, so that if he gives grace to one he is bound to do so to all. It teaches that the blood of Christ was shed equally for all men and since some are lost, this doctrine ascribes the difference to man's own will, thus making the atonement itself a powerless thing until the will of man gives it efficacy. Those sentiments dilute the scriptural description of man's depravity, and by imputing strength to fallen humanity, rob the Spirit of the glory of his effectual grace: this theory says in effect that it is of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that showeth mercy. Any doctrine, my brethren, which stands in opposition to this truth—"I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," provokes God's jealousy. I often tremble in this pulpit lest I should utter anything which should oppose the sovereignty of my God; and though you know I am not ashamed to preach the responsibility of man to God—if God be a sovereign, man must be bound to obey him—on the other hand, I am equally bold to preach that God has a right to do what he wills with his own, that he giveth no account of his matters and none may stay his hand, or say unto him, "What doest thou?" I believe that the free-will heresy assails the sovereignty of God, and mars the glory of his dominion. In all faithfulness, mingled with sorrow, I persuade you who have been deluded by it, to see well to your ways and receive the truth which sets God on high, and lays the creature in the dust." — C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892).

Maureen said...

Anonymous, thanks for this. I appreciate Spurgeon so much. He has a gracious way in his writings and preaching of the truth. This is right on the mark.

Stop by again!

William said...

Responding first to "anonymous",

You write long and passionately about the errors of free-will doctrine, but you are stuck with the following fact if men and women have not one particle of free-will: Your position means - inescapably - that it is God who wills to throw the majority of men into hell (for Christ himself said that is where most men are headed). If men have no role in their choice FOR God, than they can have NO role in their choice for eternal damnation. You can't have it both ways, that is, no free will to choose God, but free will to reject God.

To Maureen,
These words of yours are why you need to continue blogging (you are helping others):

"We can become so good at the game of hiding ourselves. From behind a wall of what we think we ought to be, we sit and observe. We weigh and measure each response, every lifted eyebrow, and adjust accordingly. Behind the scenes, we continually re-write our script, always searching for that one right way to be."

This is exactly what we do, and we need to break free from it. (Pray for me, please). We need to have the courage to be the person God made us to be, and not contruct for ourselves a persona we wish to present to the world. I suggest to you that you are grappling with this problem - just as I am -, as you come out of the IC, because the IC had the nasty influence of giving us some sense of indentity, arising out of our subscribing to a certain set of IC doctrines, and way of doing church and being a Christian. Outside of IC we need to rediscover who we are, undefined by the institutions we used to participate in. Our ultimate goal ought to be to redefine ourselves apart from all institutions, including country, purely in the light of who Christ intended us to be. Hard task.

Maureen said...

William, re the Spurgeon quote. This is how I understand man's "free will". Yes, we can do whatever we want to, we are free to choose however we like, and we always choose what we want. The problem is that our "want to" is broken. We are enemies of God from birth, and though we may be "free" to choose Him, we never will unless He first changes our hearts, making us born from above. Then, and only then, will we choose Him.

Re: my blog. This post was something I had written a few years back. It describes, I think, our struggle for acceptance, and the glorious truth that we are totally accepted in Christ. If only we would get it; we need no other acceptance. He is our Nest of Grace.

Yes I am still grappling with it. Even though I left the church in the building setting, I find I struggle even here to just plain "be me". There are still "camps" to contend with, and the desire to fit into one of them is strong. Yes it does take courage to be just who God wants us to be. But His grace is sufficient.

getting there said...

Hi Maureen, thought I'd pop by and say hi, know that you are not alone and It is so good that you have found your resting place in the shadow of the Almighty God! There is no better resting place than under His wing!