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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

IS GOD IN A COMA?

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prohets at many times and in various ways, but in these lst days he has spoken to us by his Son..." Hebrews 1:1-2

Our story starts out in dramatic fashion with God intimately connected to man, his voice booming from heaven. He appears in burning bushes, pillars of fire, and flames from heaven. He is active leading his people, saving his people, and blessing his people. Then over the course of time, after ruling through kings, his voice begins to fade into the prophets and eventually becomes silent. For four hundred years there was nothing from heaven. God must have been up to something?

I have been thinking about how my life has felt the same way. When I first became a Christian I felt like taking a bullet for God and felt he would do the same for me (actually he did). I anticipated it would always feel this way, that me and God would enjoy inseparable fellowship. I thought I would grow closer and closer to God until eventually a chariot swept me away like Elijah, but as I moved through life I felt my intimacy with God fade. It was in large due to my inability to continually grasp the grace of God, leading to a burden of sin that had been forgiven by God but not forgotten by me. And then these past few years I must admit there has been an overwhelming sense of silence, a deafening void of direction, or as I have recently learned, a dramatic pause.

I am sure the Jews under Roman rule were also wondering why God the father had stopped speaking. I am sure Joseph and Mary were quite surprised to find out that rather than screaming from heaven God planned to break the silence with a whisper through a child. The plan was genius: approach man through a man, and maybe he will listen. God had tried everything up until this point to capture the heart of man, and in a deep breath lasting four hundred years he gathers his strength, and then through his Son he speaks the truth...god dwelling in man, intimacy redefined. And he paints us a picture of this intimacy by putting a child, his own son, inside a woman.

The silence in my own life has been filled with me doubting myself more than God. I sometimes doubt I have what it takes to follow God, to be a faithful soldier of the cross. Rather than enjoying my childhood status before God, I get confused and shy away from God because of my bad behavior. Yet as I understand it, when I became a Christian God began dwelling in me by his spirit, God planted himself in me. And the Christmas story reminds me that my scary God is actually a very intimate lover who is very "tender and mild." Even the angel said, "Fear not!" God wants to embrace his children.

Something happened to me two weeks ago that took me by surprise. Without saying too much, let me just say, God put someone in my life. I've been praying for someone for years and too be honest, got tired of asking. I'd almost given up on the idea of living my life with someone and was getting comfortable with the idea of never sharing a closet. But two weeks ago God revealed something to me that utterly dumbfounded my sense of his capacity to reveal his love to me. When i thought he wasn't listening, he was preparing not only my heart but someone else's too.

The four hundred years between Malachi and Matthew "appeared" to be a great period of silence but the scriptures reveal that it was quite possibly a period of great activity, it even hints that the angel that came to Mary might very well have encountered resistance. And even if the message was easily delivered, the preparation of that message took a considerable amount of rearranging by God. He had to take time to shift political power to the Romans and remove himself (the church) from political power. God wanted to arrive incognito, under the radar, not to escape scrutiny, but rather to escape preconceived misconceptions of who He is. He entered our world at a time where he was unlikely to be worshipped thus protecting him from the curse of celebrity as he quietly built a reputation of godliness and compassion. With the church no longer in power Jesus then went about demonstrating a different kind of power defined by love, servanthood, and humility. The stage was set perfectly for his introduction, his ministry, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. God may have been silent, but he wasn't in coma.

Christmas reminds me that God's way are not my ways, that He is always active although sometimes quietly, and that He always keeps his promises. Perhaps you too have felt the silence of God. Remember just like a great dinner takes time, a great plan takes preparation. I pray that in this time of waiting you will look to the east and follow the star to the truth: God is in you. I pray that you will approach the story of the birth of Jesus with a new awe and understanding but even more that you would approach God with the knowledge that He is near and approachable. God's craves intimacy even more than we do. He devised a plan to literally hug us and then jump into us. Never make the mistake that God is not actively loving you. He may be silent, but He is definitely not in a coma. Merry Christmas from Green Frog Coffee Co.!

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