like a lot of little earthquakes

If you seek God looking for an answer, you will end up with an idol. If you seek God looking for God, you will always find Him and you will always be satisfied.

The truths of Jeremiah 29:13-14 and Deuteronomy 4:29 are trustworthy words and the above is my paraphrase when I’m tempted to look for an answer instead.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:13-14 ESV)

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
(Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV)

These are trustworthy words because the Lord breathed them into being for our benefit. He draws us near so that we can be held, grasped, and secured in the sweet joy of His presence. He draws us near so we can enjoy Him – and He can always be found.

I’m learning what it means for the resurrection to break into my brain space that I had reserved for other things. It’s like a lot of little earthquakes. The sand shifts and the mountains crumble and only the firm foundation remains. And like a lot of little earthquakes, the lesser things look less appealing as my feet run to stand on what will remain.

In grace, God breaks the power of lesser affections so that I can stand with joy on what remains.

As I seek the Lord as my first and greatest affection (and not just for answers), these words  out of Counsel from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson are especially savory,

“He has contracted to place himself in covenant relationship with us and to make us his own.

Yes, his love for us is a contractual agreement, but it is so much more than cold, lifeless obligation. He has generously determined to satiate our souls with happiness. He has chosen to betroth us to himself: ‘I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness’ (Hosea 2:19-20).”

When God breaks the power of my lesser affections, He determines to satiate my soul with happiness. He has chosen to betroth me to Himself. Wow. 

I’m not sure what it feels like to have my soul satiated with happiness, but I want to feel it. I want to be fully satisfied with the kind of happiness my soul can feel. And today I know this happiness is real – as real as my coffee and my distractions and my fears and the giggles I can’t control.

The happiness God offers will remain when all the little earthquakes shake out the lesser affections.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy

toda lengua confesará

Churchill College Chapel - TtV of the John Pip...
Image by dumbledad via Flickr

Today, as I walked home from church, a bold, yellow tree blossom painted itself against a cloudy blue sky. The sun was hiding, so I reveled in the splash of color contrasting the browns and grays of the city street.

More reveling is in order today, because one of those “only because God is sovereign and He ordained it so” moments happened. Early this morning, I watched John Piper’s sermon on The Pride of Babel and the Praise of Christ from the (Spectacular Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ series).

Then, I went to church and worshipped to the (arguably overused) song “Come, now is the time to worship” and claimed such joy in the lines, “toda lengua confesará que el es Dios, las rodillas se doblarán, y un tesoro eterno tendrás en el, si escoges su amor.” (every tongue will confess that He is God and every knee will bow… the greatest eternal treasure is in Him, if you choose His love)

After hearing a sermon about the great wickedness of the people at Babylon – they wanted the praise of men and the security of a city – God used their great sins of pride and self-preservation to fill the earth with a diversity that would come back to bring glory to Christ. What the people did was evil, but the way God uses it points to His sovereignty and His design for all peoples across all nations and languages and tribes to know and bow at the name of the Lord. There’s more, of course, but you’ll have to listen to the sermon yourself.

Then, my friend Eduardo preached on Jeremiah 29:1-14 and I saw again the broken record of our sin – revealed in Israel’s treatment of Jeremiah’s 23 years of prophecy and warning. They still didn’t obey! But, in Jeremiah 29, God reassures His people that He has not abandoned or forgotten them. He is faithful and His promises are true. Though the people may not live to see it, His promises indeed will be fulfilled. In the meantime, they are to work, live, and add to the culture and community of this city where they are foreigners.

I started to think about our condition on this earth. If we live worrying about God keeping His promises, we will not have the heart or mind to serve as He has called us. If we live only looking for rescue out of a situation, we may miss opportunities to see His power and presence exactly where we are (even if we’re in exile).

So, as I was walking home and spotted that bold yellow bloom on the tree, I thought how brave it is for a bud to bloom – with such a short life ahead. It has only a couple weeks of beauty and then it falls to get trampled on the unforgiving sidewalk. Even creation sings that, though the days may be evil, there is reason to burst into bloom and rejoice – for restoration WILL come!

Our faith should lead to bursting blooms today! Well, I’m off to read the Heidelberg Catechism (which I consider quite fitting on Reformation Day!) and craft awhile. I hope you are going to

let LoVe fly like CRAZY