Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Love of God is greater far then tongue or pen could ever tell

The other day I was neatening up the Living Room and all of a sudden felt an enormous weight of something like despair. I felt like the only thing to do was just collapse on the floor and sit and do nothing, think of nothing, feel nothing. I immediately thought of something I had heard John Piper say regarding"periodically imobilizing discouragement"that there are times when walking from the car to the house you just want to sit down in the grass before you get there and say "nothing matters" and you just stare... there are times when emotions are so utterly incomprihensible that you don't know why you're crying. I remembered him saying "distrust this... I shall yet again praise Him." (from John Piper's biographical sermon on William Cowper - during the Q&A session so is not in the manuscript)
About the depression of Charles Spurgeon John Piper quoted him as saying "Causeless depression cannot be reasoned with, nor can David's harp charm it away by sweet discoursings. As well fight with the mist as with this shapeless, undefinable, yet all-beclouding hopelessness ... The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and holds our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back." (you can, you ought to, buy the MP3 of this sermon here) Realizing that I could not fight this I picked myself up from the floor (literally) thinking "this too shall pass" and almost immediately heard the words from the hymn "Come Ye Sinner" from the CD I was playing in the kitchen, (there are two different sets of lyrics one is here the other here) and was immediately encouraged by this thought: it is the weak, the wounded, the weary, the "heavy laden" whom Jesus is calling. It is just when I feel so weak and weary that I am the most likely candidate of being readily accepted by Jesus and freely receiving His love!
So often, in the Reformed community especially I think, the topic of depression is neglected. The general impression I recieved growing up is that the cure for depression is sound Theology and expository preaching. That there is no such thing as chemical imbalance or tempermental tendancies to descouragement, nor anything of that nature. I thought as a young person (okay, okay, younger person!) that the Bible could cure depression of every shape and size and that the only lack was in our application of it. I don't believe that that is true at all. Surely a solid Biblical foundation is helpful and a stout doctrine of God buttrices our faith, but the only true healer of depression, discouragement and despiar is the Holy Spirit Himself. But anyway...
Today as I was singing a spontaneous song to Katie-Abigail I realized something that seemed quite profound at the moment. How I minimize my walk with God into a check-list of things I ought (or ought not) to do, but that is the way a disillusioned, distant wife or child relates to husband or father when the relationship itself has died, there is a shell, a facade of a relationship - she cooks his meals, she obeys his commands, there is an entire list of what she does and does not do, she fulfills her obligation to him and no more. This is not, I think, what God has at all in mind for us, he desires our all, he desires to be loved above all other things that compete for our affrction and for us to receive His love.
An example of this is my relationship with Daniel He wants to be loved and also for me to fulfill my obligations to him, yet he would prefer love over obligations, however he sees the fulfillment of obligations as the consummation of love, even folding his socks and keeping up with the housework. I've learned to not do those things out of fear, but from a motive of pleasing Daniel and demonstrating my love for him and a desire for his pleasure. And when those things are left undone I do not relate to Daniel in fear, his love for me is constant and is not conditional upon, or even hardly relative to, my performance.
I've heard for years and years that God does not receive us according to our performance, but as I stood in the worship hour last Sunday I had a rubber-meets-the-road moment. Would I, after a week of prayerlessness and faithlessness, dare to approach the Throne of Grace and climb into my Heavenly Daddy's lap, or would I keep myself at a distance, going through the motions, saying in my heart "I'll do better this coming week and try to approach God in worship next Sunday." What a lie! But this leads me to another question - Do I accept others according to their performance?
Daniel read a quote to me from "The Singing God "by Sam Storms which went something like -God choose us because he loves to choose people to love. Well, I am quite sure that if it weren't for God's choice of me I would have not chosen Him, or even if I had I would have quite fallen away many times since then. Even this week as I have been dull, distracted and discouraged I could have fallen away, except for the "love that will not let me go" and I am inexpressibly thankful!
When people get to know me I hope that they will not first see in me how much Theology I have learned, or how much in the Bible I have discovered - not to minimize Theology or Bible Study, in their proper place - but I would rather that people see in me a woman who intimately knows God Himself, and is intimately known by Him, who passionately loves Him and receives His passionate love for me!
I can tell, though, that I have made very little progress in applying this thought, because the distinction is still so blurry in my mind between knowing God and knowing about God. But if there is one thing I've learned it is this - we are creatures who change quite slowly, bit by bit, over a good deal of time, so I will not be discouraged, I will only press in closer to the Heart of God and ask all the more earnestly to be given the mind of Christ.

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