3 am thoughts

Have you ever took up your life, forgone the seatbelt and purposely crashed into a wall?

Metaphorically speaking. …I believe we all have at times.

You see, unwise decisions and habitual sin lead to devastation.

Injury.

Death.

And, I have done it myself, speeding along at my will, wrecking my life, and all the while God is watching and allowing me to be wounded by my carelessness.

For example, I’m a writer, and I have many pieces that I’ve written that have not been shared. Many are too personal and many are simply waiting to be finished. Many are finished and the timing isn’t right.

Whatever the reason, when I read over them, I am remembering the WHY of why I wrote them. I can see them for what they are, as well. I know when they are ready and when they need work. I know when, let’s be honest, the written work is not very good. The intention and labor behind it was good, but the body needs a lot of work.

My whole point here is that God knows us and knows when we need work. He knows, probably like a writer too,  that even the best piece can be better. But,  at some point, the piece is just ready, and the refining will come along the way.

And I, in my humanity, can’t wrap my brain around this. I can’t comprehend how I could possibly be ready to serve him and so fallen, so imperfect and so undeserving of his attentions.

Especially, knowing that nothing is hidden from God and that on my own, my righteousness is like dirty rags…. God knows this about me, you, for we are all a people naturally bent towards rebellion.

Even more so…..

God knows us and our capacity to forget him.

Can you imagine? What if you had a spouse, and you knew that your spouse’s natural tendency was to forget you? What if you caught your spouse cheating, but it didn’t shock you because you knew it would happen?

But, what if you still loved your spouse anyway? What if you let it go at his or her own detriment, knowing all the while the damage they would do, but vowed  to wait for their return, anyway?

Wouldn’t we question the sanity of the faithful spouse I just depicted?  Yet, that is exactly what God is like. He is our faithful bridegroom.

We deserve divorce papers, but instead, he draws us into his will

We deserve separation, but instead he bridges the gap between heaven and hell with his own body, bent and broken on the cross for his glory and for our benefit

Yet, we continue to turn away from him;  we have little indiscretions, big ones, and sometimes, we plainly forget Him.

Yet, there he is..still waiting, still faithful, and still loving us without wanting to shame us, beating us down with “I told you so’s” or making us atone for idolatry because Jesus….

Because Jesus……who left his glory in heaven to walk the roads of humanity and than later… to die for us all, even those of us who spit upon his brow with our total rebelllion.  He embodies true mercy.

True mercy….

I don’t know about you, but I can’t fathom that. I don’t want to most of the time. True mercy is scandalous and makes us want to say  “he doesn’t deserve it! She doesn’t deserve it.”

But,

mercy doesn’t accuse and it doesn’t follow human moral codes of justice.

Instead, it comes, undeserving and so beautiful…and

It’s for those of us, just like me and like you ….who are violently driving themselves towards their death, ready to wreck against an iron wall upon our own violation.

I see that ….

God has allowed me to be the driver to my own death. I see now that He didn’t swoop down to pull me out at certain times.

And, in light of this, I can see that God allowing me to wreck myself is one of the best gifts he has given me.

Because only in the midst of my deep forgetfulness, can I remember how MUCH I need the wonderfulness of his mercy.

God, may your mercies work miracles through me….

-A

God, Moses, Fear, and Obedience

**** This is an older blog I wrote, 2 years ago on my old blogger page,  AliciaKristina.com
Numbers 14:1-12
That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”
I’ve read this scripture numerous times. Not just this specific one, but many like it in the old testament. The Israelites were saved and delivered by God’s miraculous and mighty hand. And throughout their journey in the desert, they grumbled. They complained. They were difficult, and in words my 4 year old would use, “naughty and not listening.”
 As a young girl reading these passages, I could not fathom why the Israelites were so untrusting of the Lord. Hadn’t He, in their lifetime, delivered them from slavery? Parted the sea to send them to safety? Sent food down from heaven? Led them, VISIBLY?
 But as an adult, I understand. The reality of the world and resulting hardness has affected me. My childlike awe and wonder is not so childlike anymore.
 My ‘AHA” moment from this passage is coming…
So, the Israelites cry out that they would rather have died in Egypt or the wilderness. You see, God has already promised them this land , flowing with milk and honey (abundancy). But in their humanity and unbelief, they asked to send spies to assess the land. Moses agreed- and he probably shouldn’t have- but he did. And out of the 12 spies, ( who represented each tribe) only TWO came back with faith in God’s promise. Only TWO remained faithful  that God was with them and that victory was theirs. The rest said something like, “even if God helped us, we would be defeated. They are too mighty…too many.”
Sound familiar? I certainly can see myself as an Israelite in the wilderness. And, that’s funny. Because as a child, I really related to Joshua and Caleb’s cry to the people, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
As a child, my heart was screaming, “ Trust in God people!” And now, as an adult, I’m saying, “Trust in God  (YES),”  but with also greater understanding of the humanity of the Israelites and their imperfection, fears, excuses…
Still..this is just leading up to my AHA moment.
While Caleb and Joshua pled with the people, Moses and Aaron fell prostrate before God. Most likely in prayer, because as their leaders, they knew too well the seriousness of this situation. Only falling before God and praying for his mercy would help.
So why…..why would God be angry? Or why would Joshua, Caleb, and God consider the Israelites words to be rebellious, contemptuous and faithless?
Here’s the thing,
Being afraid, fearful, and questioning on its own is NOT rebellion against God. Its pretty normal for us- actually, for me. I confess.
For example, Moses questioned his leadership skills before God. He wasn’t confident in his speaking abilities. And even Jesus, JESUS, was fearful of the upcoming Via Dolorosa. He knew all too well what was expected and what was to come. He said, ““Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
But AHA!
Jesus (and Moses) , although fearful and afraid showed us that even though we possess fear, we can still be strengthened, by the grace of God, into obedience. And, that, is the difference. The Israelites were not only fearful, afraid and questioning. They were fearful, afraid, questioning, AND disobedient. THIS constitutes unbelief. THIS constitutes rebellion against God. And, THIS rebellion was not accidental or unintentional; rather it was CHOICE.
I want to go back to Joshua and Caleb, for a moment, who tore their clothes in grief. Our pastor explained the symbolism of tearing clothes a few weeks ago at church. It was serious; It was done in mourning, because of death or imminent death. Joshua and Caleb may have been young, but the repercussions of the people’s rebellion were not lost on them. As a result, in a true rebellious spirit, Israelites conspired to stone Joshua and Caleb. “Who were these two young men? Who do they think they are, questioning us and our “faith.” We take offense! How dare they offend us; they know nothing!”
Now, this is me just guessing about feelings that led to this conspiring. As  fellow humans, I think we can pretty much guess the intensity of the conversation they were having. Yet, at this moment God appeared. And, He wasn’t too happy. And, the rest of the passage (not quoted here) is pretty long, and I won’t go too much in-depth over it. But, what happened is nothing short of spectacular.
Moses interceded for the people in an authentic plea for their mercy.  If you read the rest of the scripture, you can see how much Moses KNEW God. How much he yearned for His glory to be revealed…and how much He loved his people, despite their rebellion. You see, Moses was a leader who took the plea for his people seriously. But even more so, he took God seriously. He took God’s revelation of character seriously. And most importantly, because he KNEW God, he knew God’s character. He know God to be loving, patient, and long-suffering. With this knowledge, he asked God to display His power, not by a strong arm, but by mercy.
WOW!! This is a great example of intercession. Moses appealed to God’s power, His glory, and His promise, with a heart that was completely others-centered.  NO self-centeredness. NO agenda. NO insecurities. NO public dramatic self promotion. You get the picture.
Moses not only displayed that he knew Gods heart, but he also displayed that he shared God’s heart. This is why Moses’ intercession was so spectacular….think about it for a few minutes.
I really encourage anyone reading this to finish the scripture on their own.
Lastly, when I write or blog, most of the time, it is inspired by my own convicted heart. And I confess, that here, I am convicted.
I do not want to be fearful, afraid AND disobedient. I don’t want to live in rebellion of God….not even for a moment. That is not what I want to lay before God at the judgement seat.
GOD,
JESUS, 
I need….
Your
Courage,
Boldness,
Faith.
But always, Your grace. 
Give me grace to choose you.
To be obedient, 
despite my fears.
To be others-centered,
to be humble.
I want to KNOW you.
MORE.
I want to knowYour heart.
I want to LOVE others…
Like You.

Your grace,
All-sufficient.
for me.


-A.