Monday, April 29, 2013

Her Eyes Were Closed (a prayer, a song, and a soul)

(Her eyes were closed…)

There is sound.  Something like orderly bursts of thunder fills the air around me, filling my ears and flooding my mind.  Like liquid, this booming din drips down my throat and pulses in my stomach, overriding the steady pound-pounding of my heart.

Quiet, velvety voices cry in unison, sometimes soft and whispery like rustling pines, sometimes sharp and eager, laden with ecstasy, expectation, overwhelmed, like waves pounding on sand during a hurricane.

Pound-pound.

What are the voices saying?

(Oh Lord, let your people hear Your voice!  The deaf are dying!)

“Mighty breath of God, breathe on this place.”

(Breathe on these dry bones; stir this dust with your breath so we may live!)

Sometimes when the thunder does not crash, and the tumult of voices lulls, there is a profound, heavy silence.  This silence is keeper of saints’ prayers, and hope, and contentment that is both warm and melancholy.  I wish I could partake.

I smile, catch my breath, find my heartbeat.

(Jesus, open the eyes of the spiritually blind!)

(She opens her eyes.)

He delights in me,
I see His face.
No words are adequate.

God!
*You are worthy of it all
You are worthy of it all
For from You are all things
And to You are all things

And You deserve the glory!*



**Worthy of It All--David Brymer

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Merit of Self-Sacrifice


In John 15:13 Jesus makes the following assertion, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

Most of us have heard this before, or at least something similar. Very rarely do we pause to consider the validity of the statement. It seems…right. Right?

After all, when Hercules lays down his life for Megara, nobody questions the beauty of the profound gesture—everyone just cheers. When Jean Valjean puts his life in danger for the sake of his daughter’s lover, nobody chastises him for reckless behavior; they generally cry, overwhelmed by his selflessness. When American soldiers lay down their lives for their country, people are rightly sobered and awed.

But why is self-sacrifice the ultimate sign of love? Why must one extinguish his life flame to prove to another the depth of his love for that one? For that is what Jesus did—allowed Himself to be slaughtered by His own creation, all for the sake of love (John 3:16).


We are all commanded to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). The most extreme example of obedience to this command is to place your neighbor’s life above your own. Jesus’ self-sacrifice is beautiful because by subjecting Himself to the most agonizing physical and spiritual pain possible, He proved to the world that He is willing to give her EVERYTHING He has, even, in a sense, His life. He gave up His celestial comfort to live an incredibly lowly life, be ridiculed, be tortured, and ultimately die on a cross like a common criminal; He gave us all that He had to give. He couldn’t have done more. He let us destroy Him.

Now here is another thought. Jesus laid down His life for us, and according to His Word, we are supposed to emanate Him.




1 Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

And Matthew 16:25 promises, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

So maybe God’s message for all of us today is something like this:

Don’t be too prideful or fearful to lay down your life; when you do, be your self-sacrifice emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical, I, the Creator of the cosmos and your soul, will surely lift you.


Shalom!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Looking for Love

Dear Readers,

I have something to confess: last year's Valentines day-inspired post was a bit cheesy--but true, none the less!  (WARNING: Mt Cheesemore dead ahead!) Jesus Christ can be our valentine every day of the year--if we let Him.

Here's another thought.  

People often talk or think about the romantic relationships they wish they had--for girls, someone dedicated and protective, like Edward Cullen without the glitter and fangs, for guys a smart-funny-cute-girl (not necessarily in that order)...and as people grow older, become men and women, their ideas about what they want change, but their core desire remains the same; people want someone to make them laugh, someone to hold them in darkling moments, someone who will fill the emptiness in their lives with...love.  

Dictionary.Reference.com defines love as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person."  Who doesn't want that?  And more accurately queried, who doesn't want OTHER people to feel that way towards them?  But when questioned, most people will reveal that their desire goes deeper.  People don't just want to have someone feel affectionate passion for them, they want someone to show them the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: patient, kind,  humble, respectfulselfless, protective, trusting, hopeful, persevering, and never envious, bragging, easily angered, bitter, or evil-loving.  

They want love that never fails, which according to American divorce statistics and life experience is nearly impossible.  But not for...God.  

Interesting coincidence that all people seem to crave the same seemingly unobtainable thing--this crazy, passionate, endless, all-consuming love...that no one but God can fully satisfy.

Maybe...just MAYBE...God puts that desire in our hearts because He wants us to turn to Him and let Him fill the vacancy inside of us.

Just some food for thought, or more accurately phrased, bread for life (John 6:35).

Shalom!

Love,
Megan


Monday, January 28, 2013

Are All Christians Called to Heal the Sick?

When it comes to miracles, I admit I tend to be skeptical, or at least doubtful that such displays of God’s power could possibly blossom from my feeble prayers. But lately, God’s been shifting my perspective about miracles, particularly physical healing—not only through life experiences, but through His Word.

To read my full commentary on the crucial subject of healing the sick, please visit Far East Broadcasting Company's brand-new blog, "The Great Commission" at this link (and read my first-ever published article!): http://blog.febc.org/faith/are-all-christians-called-to-heal-the-sick

Ardently Yours,
Megan

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Come Away With Me (A Story for the Bride of Christ)


Nobody talked to me today.  If they had, they wouldn’t have understood exactly what I was going through, like He did.  So why didn’t I talk to Him?

It’s not like its everybody else’s fault—if I wanted to talk to someone else, I could have opened my mouth and spit out the words that burn in my throat, but if I had, they still wouldn’t have understood exactly what I was saying, like He does.  So why don’t I talk to Him?

At sunset I climb up the hill to my house alone.

This night, as I was falling into the dark, gentle arms of sleep, hearing her whisper in my ear and feeling her fingers in my hair, I had this thought: if He not only knows me but loves me more than anyone else, why are we not talking?  If He is the Bridegroom and I am His bride, why am I alone?

And then I hear His voice quiet and tender mingled with the voice of Night:

Come away with me.

My eyes open wide in the darkness, and I sit up in my bed.  Breathe!

Meet me at sunrise at the top of your hill.  I miss talking with you.

“Me too,” I breathe out, breath in again.  I slowly lower my head to my pillow, close my eyes, but all I can think about is His silvery voice, streaming into my mind like cool, radiant moonlight.

Sunrise is slow to come.

When my heart almost faints for waiting for Him to return, the circle of fire, the sun, begins his slow ascent to the top of the black sky.  And so does my Beloved.  I jump out of my bed and rush like rain from the heavens to meet the One who knows me.  My bare feet fly through my house, out the door and into the morning to meet the One who loves me.

He catches me in His arms and holds me close.  I breathe in the scent of His majesty, His love, and when I breathe out, my eyes and smile betray the wide wonder and joy that fills my soul.  Our laughter mingles as He holds my face in His hands and we gaze into each other’s eyes.

Grinning, He whispers You made it!
Disabled by happiness, all I can do is nod.

Mouth somber but eyes bright, He says I love you.

He takes my hands in His and lifts them to His mouth to kiss them.  I see holes in His wrists and suddenly want to cry.

His wrists and eyes bear witness to the truth of His words.

“I believe You!” I cry out with my heart. 

He smiles again, and repeats Come away with me!

Again, all I can do is nod

 Yes, yes, yes!

He spins me around and I am confronted by a wall of billowing fog.  The fog clears enough for me to make out the front of a train and tracks leading away from the hill.  There was never a train here before, let alone tracks!  My bridegroom watches in amusement as I fish a compass out of my pocket and hold it before me in the direction that the tracks go.  The compass spins wildly, incapable of deciding the direction the train is headed.

He turns to me, leans close, and whispers I want to take you in a whole new direction.

Again, I am in awe.  He grins, takes my hand, and leads me along the side of the train to an empty compartment.  The inside of the train is lined with velvet.  Elaborate woodwork coated in gold frames the walls of our car with warm light, lending the red velvet an otherworldly glow.  He helps me into the compartment and lowers me into one of two chairs that face each other.  When we are both seated, the only thing left between us is a small window. 

I peer out the window, but am confronted by a sheet of white.  This is the only time I have chosen to break my gaze from Him since we met this morning.

Beloved,

His clear voice breaks through the fog beginning to settle in my mind and returns my gaze to His eyes.

Do you trust me?

I want to look back at the window, but instead I stare at His face.  He is beautiful.

“Yes!” I hear myself say.  “My love is so weak,” I hear myself think.

But My love is strong! my Beloved asserts, lowering his face closer to mine and narrowing His eyes.  A thrill runs down my spine and through my fingertips.

The train whistles, lurches forward.  I lose my balance and fall into His arms.  He catches me before I hurt myself, and once I have caught my breath, we both laugh as He returns me to my seat.

After a time, He nods for me to look out the window.  Although I take my eyes off of Him, I sense that His eyes never leave mine.

Outside the window, beneath a crimson sky, I see a land plagued by deep darkness—cities stalked by dark forms, people killing other people, people crying and plugging their ears, people with closed eyes shooting other people.  And there are so many people dying alone.  Shaking, I turn to face my Beloved, but can hardly meet his eyes.  I cover my face with my hands, and when I finally pull them away, they are wet with my sorrow.  I hear a choking sound and look to my Beloved.  He is crying too.

I love them so much, but they don’t even know me.  I want to help them more, but they won’t accept my help.  Instead, they choose to rely on dark, shifting shadows.  I love them, but I can have no fellowship with darkness!

“What will you do?” I ask.

We will love them anyways.

“We?”

 I will walk with you, and I will teach you to love them the way I do.  And when it’s too difficult, I will help you.

His eyes are full of love.  I remember His pierced wrists and tentatively touch my own.

“Yes,” I say, “I will love as you love.”

I expect the train to stop in the place of darkness, but instead it surges forth into new lands.  When I glance out the window, I see the silhouettes of mountains rising and falling over the land as if the world is breathing.

“Where are we now?” I ask.

The Mystery Mountains, He responds with a hint of playfulness.

  Holding hands, we both look out the window again.  This time all I see is light so bright that I feel that I must close my eyes.  Instead I look back at Him—but I do not escape the light.  His eyes are stars luminous.  Mesmerized, I stare into the shining pools and am confronted by a startling vision—my eyes scintillating light.

The closer we become, the more light you shine!  We are One, beloved; should it surprise you if you start to look a bit like me?

My bewilderment melts into ecstasy.  Oh how He loves me!

Again, I look out the window and see light, but this time it does not overwhelm me.  Shapes begin to form in the whiteness, and I realize that I am now in His kingdom.  I see a shining city with rivers of living water. I see a people untroubled by darkness.  The train slows to a halt.  I look to Him.

This is a place of hope justified, He reveals.

We exit the train together and follow a path that cuts into a forest.  The sky is bright and clear, like my Beloved’s eyes, and in the center of the firmament the sun sits on his azure throne.

While we walk, we converse with each other; I share my heart with Him, and He whispers truth to me.  He tells me that He has plans for me, plans to restore my family, and plans to love His people.  When I start crying, He tells me it’s not all up to me, and that He will help me carry out His plans. 

We pause when we come to a small pool of living water.  He asks me to look onto the shining surface and report what I see.  When I peer into the pool, I see through me—through my skin, beneath my ribs, to the very center of my heart—and I spy great darkness—and I feel unworthy of His love.

When we start walking again, He takes my hand in His and tells me

 I delight in you.

Tremulous, I whisper, “But I am so inferior to You!”

Why do you doubt the magnitude of my love for you?  I paid for your soul with my blood, my love!  Don’t you know that I love you despite your imperfections?  I am yours, and you are mine!

I believe Him,
I believe Him.

When the sun dismounts his throne to begin his ascent to the earth, my Beloved leads me back to the train, and we take our seats in our car.  As the colors scarlet, orange, and purple begin to bleed into the blue, I recall the moment I first laid eyes on my Beloved, and my love for Him is rekindled.

We arrive at the base of the hill too soon.  As we walk up the hill to my house, the sky bruising dark purple, my Bridegroom promises to return for me tomorrow at sunrise. 

“Where will you go now?” I ask Him.

He is quiet a moment before a smile appears on His face.  In a confiding tone, He divulges I will never leave your side, my love; my spirit shall watch over you in the night.

And as the glitter of stars and distant galaxies begins to materialize in the dark sky, all I can think is that I will never climb the hill to my house at sunset alone ever again.


Copyright Megan Taylor, November 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

About the Audience


Dear Reader,

Who are you?

Really think about this for a minute.  Close your eyes if you have to.  Once you have your answer, you may continue reading.


Over the years, I have asked myself “Who are you?” many, many, MANY times.  Sometimes the answer was “You are a writer,” or “You are an artist,” but the question is not “What do you do?” but “Who are you?” so both of these responses were incorrect.   Once or twice I tried to make the answer “You are beautiful by the world’s standards,” and was miserable as a result.  After answering the question wrong for many years, I finally started to answer the question right.  Maybe you are wondering, “Who IS Megan Taylor, exactly?”  Drum roll, please…

I am a child of God.

You cough.  You read my response a second time.  You are not as impressed as you should be.  Let me say it again:

I am a child of the living God (John 1:12), the Alpha and Omega (Beginning and End), the Creator, the divine Father, the Light, the Savior of the World, the Healer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Lion of Judah, the Shepherd, the Holy, Holy, Holy One!  I am loved, redeemed, and adopted by Yahweh!

Consider the implications of what I just said. 

As a daughter of God, I can know not only that I am loved and treasured by the Author of the Universe, but also that I have access to His power.  From ground level everything looks a lot scarier.  From God’s perspective, however, our poor finances, diseases, bad relationships, divorced parents, and uncertain future, are much smaller problems. 

Romans 8:14-15 says,

“All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

This is not to say that God does not care about our pain—Jesus experienced our pain while living on earth.  What I mean is that He sees the future, He helps us when we cry out to Him, and He protects us from that which we cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).

I am not the sum of my actions, likes, dislikes, victories, failures, or words…

I am God’s daughter.  That’s it.  Nothing I do can make that more true (or false).  Once adopted by God, always adopted by God.

In Romans 8:38-39, Paul proclaims,

“I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And in 1 Corinthians 13:8,

“Love never fails.”

So let me ask you again: who are you?  

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a child of God!  If you are not yet a follower but want to be one, all you have to do is ask God to forgive you for your sins, acknowledge that Jesus Christ died for your sins on the cross (see John 3:16), and ask God to help you follow Him!  If you would like to know more about your Creator, the Bible is the perfect place to start looking.


Ardently Yours,

   Megan



Monday, October 8, 2012

Hamlet: Who is Shakespeare?!



Life is full of difficult questions--especially if you don't believe in a Creator.  But even if you do, and even if you are a Christian (as I am), there are still many things left to wonder about...and according to the Bible, God is okay with that, and even commends us for seeking the truth (Acts 17:11)!  In Proverbs 14:15, Solomon rightly avers,

"The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps."

So lately I've been asking myself "Why, God?" (can anyone relate?)


First off, I know that the God of the Bible exists--there is too much evidence supporting His existence in and around me for me to possibly believe otherwise.  What I have been asking is why does God love us (1 John 4:19), and what is the purpose of "love" anyways?  Isn't love just an arbitrary characteristic or invention of an all-powerful God?  And what if love and truth are really evil and lies, and we've all just been hardwired to perceive these things as good?

Who can know if God is truly good and not a divine liar?

But I keep going back to those verses that say things like "His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9, Job 38)," and "His love is incomprehensible (Ephesians 3:17-19)," so...I know I'm just supposed to trust Him*.  

Why?

Because I don't know everything, and am incapable of doing so.

C.S. Lewis put it this way: we relate to God the way Hamlet relates to Shakespeare--He is the Writer, and we are the characters in His novel.  He is the Creator, and we are His creation!  (This does not mean, by the way, that He is not involved in our lives; roughly 2000 years ago He wrote Himself into His story as the God/man Jesus Christ and suffered with us and for us for Love's sake!  See John 3:16.)  

Although God is an orderly, logical God, I cannot reach God with logic alone--some belief in mystery is essential.  After all, if we understood all things, faith would be unnecessary (and anyone who seriously studies the Scriptures knows that the truth couldn't be further!  See Hebrews 11:6).

And I take immense comfort in the mystery.
And...it makes me so relieved when I remember the answer (that that question cannot be answered!) that I always breathe a huge sigh of relief, look up, and laugh (as I am doing now).

Love the logic AND the mystery, my friends!

Ardently Yours,
Megan


*Its hard to trust someone you don't know anything about.  If you want to know more about God, you could try
1) reading the book He inspired (the Bible); Here are a few passages for you to read: Exodus 34:5-7, Psalms, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  For more verses about God's character, here is a good link to check out: http://www.openbible.info/topics/character_of_god
2) Praying (talking) to God and asking Him to reveal Himself to you.  
If you are patient and sincere, I guarantee you will not be disappointed by either option.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DaVinci, the Moon, and the Promises of God



Should Leonardo DaVinci have painted the Mona Lisa? Four years is a long time for any man to spend painting one portrait. Much labor was probably invested in the artistic endeavor. Perhaps DaVinci should have instead spent his time gallivanting about the French countryside picking flowers and dreaming of love everlasting. Of course DaVinci should have painted the Mona Lisa!  Because of DaVinci’s vision and dedication to his work, millions of people around the world enjoy his mysterious masterpiece. Why question DaVinci’s choice to paint? His decision was obviously a wise one. As DaVinci labored to complete the Mona Lisa, so every man and woman must labor to create a beautiful, fulfilling relationship. According to Divorce Magazine, 49% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Many members of today’s culture believe that love is a mere, transient feeling, and divorce their spouses promptly after “falling out of love.” Margaret Anderson once said, "In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love, you want the other person." If this is true, why do people divorce, and what is the result of this severance of souls? Frequently, divorce causes tension between family members and friends, children who grow up to respect marriage less, and desensitized divorcees who are less likely to be faithful in future relationships.

There are more than two victims for every marriage annulled. Every November, my grandma goes into hyper mode trying to prepare a decent Thanksgiving Day get-together for the family. This is not a simple task; there are many people to consider. Because one of my uncles has divorced twice and is currently dating, my grandma has been forced to make awkward, difficult choices when choosing who to invite to our Thanksgiving feast. Ex wives, half cousins, and distant extended family must all be circumspectly considered. The point is this: when two people divorce, they are not just hurting themselves; they are hurting everyone around them. Divorce might legally divide a husband from a wife, but a mom from her son? A father from his daughter? What about the couple’s formerly united extended family and friends? All of these people are inevitably spiritually wounded in some way by the nuclear bomb otherwise known as divorce.

The most devastated casualties of any divorce are the children. Shockingly, according to the research of Daniel T. Lichter
1, "Children who grow up in single-parent homes are less likely to marry, more likely to divorce, and more likely to have children outside of wedlock." This statement is painfully true. My eighteen-year-old cousin, whose parents divorced when she was young, is currently unmarried and raising a toddler. She hangs out with druggies, some of whom come from broken families as well. Having grown up without a father to tell her how beautiful and precious she is, this young girl looked for love in all the wrong places hoping to fill the emptiness in her life with something worthwhile. Her boyfriend grew up without a father present in his life who could teach him to be a man. Because my cousin’s boyfriend was the only one who “understood” her, she must now focus on raising a child instead of on planning her college education. How can anyone claim that divorce is a personal choice, one that harms only its chooser? The casualties are too real. Divorce is war.

Divorce serves as a great desensitizer of the human heart. According to an article on Divorce.com, 65% of all second marriages and 75% of all third marriages end in divorce. I once attended a conference for young people that addressed teen dating, in which teens were instructed to view dating as practicing divorce.  The speaker at this conference called a boy with hairy legs to come to the front of the room where everyone could see him. This speaker then proceeded to press a piece of duct tape to one of the boy’s legs. Notably, the tape was said to represent a relationship with a girl. After the speaker had established the role that the tape played in his presentation, he suddenly ripped the tape from the volunteer’s leg, to the boy’s horror. To the surprise of all watching, the speaker pressed the tape onto the same spot of his leg again, and soon ripped it away. This strange, painful process was repeated a few times. By the last time, this boy did not wince at the pain any more. Like a bad break up, or divorce, the ripping away of the tape desensitized his leg until he could no longer feel the pain. How tragic it is for those who do not feel the pain. Every time a person chooses to “tear away” from the heart of another through divorce, they lose a little bit of their heart in the process.

Divorce is not a mere personal affair, nor is it neat and tidy. It cannot be wiped clean like a kitchen counter, nor can it be washed down the bathroom sink in a swirl of hand soap and black dirt. Maggie Gallagher, author of The Abolition of Marriage, wrote, “‘You can't force two people to stay married,' we tell ourselves and turn the page. Divorce, however, is not usually the act of a couple, but of an individual. Eighty percent of divorces in this country are unilateral, rather than truly mutual, decisions. In fact, the divorce revolution can be more accurately described as a shift of power, favoring the interests of one party over others: the interests of the spouse who wishes to leave over those of the spouse who is being abandoned and over those of the children whose consent is not sought.” Sometimes a husband or wife divorces his or her spouse for selfish reasons, while others divorce to flee abuse. Whatever the case, divorce always ends unhappily, inevitably hurting friends, family, children, and the divorcees. What is the solution?   Hopeless misery? Suicide? No. What, then? Perhaps it would be wise for couples to consider separating for a time to gather their thoughts or sanity, or to seek marital counsel from someone who is wise and trustworthy. One might even consider going to God for help. In 
God’s Word, He promises all that come to Him a future full of hope, as well as His redemptive power and love. Jesus can redeem all brokenness. He does not promise His children that they will always be happy, but instead that He will give them His immutable joy. David proclaims in the psalms that the joy of the Lord is his strength. If one is bold enough to entrust their broken marriage, their children, and their life in God’s hands, they cannot fail. Do not give up on your marriage because it is imperfect. Instead, with God’s help, strive to paint Mona Lisa marriages, and do not fear failure. Les Brown collaborated on this assertion when he quoted, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”  


1Daniel T. Lichter et al., "Race and the Retreat from Marriage: A Shortage of Marriageable Men?" American Sociological Review 57

Monday, October 1, 2012

He Rejoices Over Us


Dear Readers,

No words can describe how happy I am to be able to write for you today!  Since my last entry was published in June, my life has been, shall we say...a beautiful mess.  There have been extraordinarily beautiful moments where God touched me in a powerful way (while I was smiling), and there have been extraordinarily painful moments where God touched me in a powerful way (while I was crying).  I can honestly report that I am thankful for the full spectrum of beauty and pain I have experienced this summer, because each vivid moment spent with God has made me stronger.  Jesus is so good!


And now, to dive into our pressing subject matter: US.  No, I am not talking about the slang abbreviation for our wayward country...I am referring to YOU.  Me.  We.  Humans saved by God’s grace…and delighted in by our divine Father. 

Here I have documented some of your likely initial reactions:

1) Huh?

2) Ha-ha.

3) Heresy!

4) Hmm, I’d rather not…

If you find you are somewhere in between, or that you are a bit of each: good.  That means I’m not alone! 


Standing straight, palms facing up, head bowed down, I prayed in earnest:

Dear God, I am such a sinner…so wretched before You…how can You love a person as messed up as I am?  Just tell me what You want me to do, and I’ll do it!

And although I was immersed in a sea of Jesus-worshippers, I felt almost as solitary as if I were completely alone.  I was at a church conference for teenagers, waiting for God to reveal Himself to me in a new way…and during the first few worship songs (which were really like corporate prayer sessions), it didn't seem like God would ever show up.

Then came the song “Mighty Fortress,” and my whole world began to shift a bit:

Like a mighty fortress, He is our God
Like a mighty fortress, He is our God
When enemies surround us, rising like a flood
They break into pieces, swallowed in dust


At this point of the song, everything for me was fine, normal…it is the next stanza that really sent me into a spiritual tailspin:

He rejoices
He rejoices over us


The rest of the song is awesome, and I really gelled with the lyrics in worship…but the phrase “He rejoices over us” made me cringe a little every time it was used, evoking a simultaneous “Heresy!” and “Hmm, I’d rather not…” reaction in my gut.  I was disturbed by the fact that many of the other worshippers around me loved this part of the song.  Smiles flashed and eyes shined.  Some worshippers even danced.  I ducked my head down and sort of apologized to God for the selfish assertion.  You may think at this point that I was merely being humble, but what I was really experiencing was a sense of deep, crippling unworthiness that’s root was not exactly grounded in Truth. In fact, focusing on one’s inability to serve God reflects a lack of faith, and an excess of fear. 

Consider, for example, the story of Moses in the Bible.  God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and his response to God was that he was "not capable."  While Moses did not seem to struggle so much with unworthiness as He did with fear of man, the concept is similar: Moses focused more on his weakness than he did on God's power to use him despite his shortcomings.  If we really desire to serve God, we must see and understand Him as He truly is--all-powerful, graceful, and loving--and not as our feelings dictate.  If God's Word says that God is the One who makes those faithful to Him worthy (2 Thessalonians 1:11), then who are we to say we are unworthy?  After all, God knows us better than anyone else, including ourselves (Psalm 139)!

If you still don’t understand what was wrong with my reaction, consider for a moment the fact that we are called sons and daughters of God (2 Corinthians 6:18).  Now imagine that your biological dad asks you to help him partake in a community outreach.  You feel so unworthy to help your dad minister to the community that you require him to tell you what to do step by step, and apologize for your lack of proficiency in completing the tasks he gives you every time you trip up, or even for no reason at all.  Your dad would probably be more frustrated than flattered by your dependency, and consequently try to teach you to be more independent.  You and He would still be a team by necessity, but you would have to learn to take more initiative, to take leaps of faith…and to not be so afraid to mess up that you choose to not do anything to help at all.  In short, you would learn to co-labor with your father.

Zephaniah 3:17 declares,

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”


Honestly, the thought of God rejoicing over me is still very overwhelming, and I still will often bow my head down low when I hear the phrase “He rejoices over us,” but now I smile, because I know that my identity as His daughter makes that statement 100% correct.  He does not revel in my sinfulness, but in the victory that He foresees in my life.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God promises,

"I know the plans I have for you...They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."


And in Philippians 1:7, Paul asserts,

"I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."


Shalom!

Ardently Yours,
Megan