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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DROUGHT...DESIRE...AND A SEMINARY ASSIGNMENT

This month I am taking a training to teach spiritual formation courses for Fuller Seminary, and one of this week's assignments is to share a testimony via video, audio or blog post.  Here is the exact assignment:
Therefore, in this forum, I am not asking you to tell us how you entered the Christian faith. Instead, I am asking you to tell us about God's activity in your life lately. How have you "seen" God? In what ways has God spoken to you or "showed up," how have you sensed God's presence lately?
So in the name of transparency, I'm letting you know that this is me doing my assignment, but I hope it will bless those of you who choose to read on!  

When God Showed Up

Sitting here listening to the pouring rain, I can't help but be amazed at the gentle ways of God in my life.  Really, every day has the promise of testimony if I'm mindful enough to notice.  This morning I was reading a book on silence and solitude, a resource for the class I'll be teaching in January, and the author, Ruth Haley Barton posed an unsettling question. 




What does your desire for God feel like, 
sound like, look like these days?



I found it hard to articulate my thoughts at first, but maybe because I'm sick and tired of "unseasonably hot weather" and have been checking my phone every hour for two days to see when the rain might come, all I could think of was my poor plants that are in dire need of a good downpour.



The more I thought about those plants, the more I felt like they were a pretty good representation of my desire for God right now.  Most of them are surviving the drought, but it's not always a pretty picture.  The thing is, I really am grateful for what God gives, but I'm a little parched right now and at times it feels as if I have just enough of the Living Water to survive.   

So that's how I answered Barton's question...I wrote in my journal and drew a little picture too, telling God that just as we San Diegans were ecstatic at the possibility of some showers here in our drought-ridden city, my soul yearned for an outpouring of of Holy Presence, mystery, wonder, miracles, answered prayers...
And then it happened.  I was writing in my journal and I noticed the words of a song playing in the background from my iphone.  It was simply Psalm 63: 
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I put my pen down and waited...and God showed up in the way only he can do.  As the chorus played a haunting melody: Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you, a profound sense of well-being and wonder settled in my soul.  

[The song was from an incredible album--you can listen to it here--Robbie Seay's Psalm 63--five minutes to soak in God's presence. Listen for free or buy to download for $1, but while you're at it, you might want the entire album--all straight from Scriptures and with beautiful melodies). 

Finishing a few minutes later, I went outside to cut a few straggling roses.  A light mist had begun to fall.  I stood there, taking it in, relishing the dampness of my pajama-clad body and thinking of all the ways God reveals his love --in dry yearnings, tiny dewdrops, the hope of real rain.  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you....

Eventually the rain did come--pounding away like it would never stop.  If you live in San Diego, the sight made you downright giddy.  Everything seems possible now.  Maybe there's hope for our dying lawn after all.

The saints of old used to say that desire itself is a manifestation of God's presence, and while I can appreciate the sentiment, I know from experience that there's nothing quite like those moments when God actually shows up.  And I guess it's that promise--that one day in God's sovereign plan the floodgates will open to quench this thirsting in my soul--that keeps me coming back even in the dryest of times. 

That's my testimony for today.  I'll end with this very short video --San Diegan's, enjoy--we're gonna need this reminder when the temperature crawls back up into  the 90s next week).
video




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