I began my journey on the same day as my conversation with Kathryn: “You know, you could call me from any telephone in the world, and I would recognize your voice,” I said to Kathryn. “I would know it was you. That’s the kind of relationship I want to have with God. I want to have a 24/7 conversational relationship with God. I want to hear him and recognize His voice every waking minute of every day for the rest of my life.” (If you haven’t already done so, it will be helpful to read the introduction to my journey, "An Expensive Mistake," below.)
Before I begin telling you some of the details, it is important to understand the context of this journey:
First, these last 12 ½ months have been the most incredible of my life. I say that in the context of a life in which God has been astonishingly generous and gracious. I am so glad that He ignored “my plans” for my life when I was a teenager. I would have so tragically short-changed myself. And I admit that there was a time in my youth when I feared the will of God.
When I first started out in the service to which God called me, I had this crazy fear that God might require me to marry some hideous looking woman, move to Africa and live in a grass hut all of my days. (As a friend once pointed out, there are no hideous looking women. There are, he noted however, some who just barely made it. I hope you are smiling. I am.) What I know now is that, had that been God’s plan for me, I would have loved it! (And as I have a growing number of friends who live in or are from Africa, let me be careful to note that not everyone who lives there lives in a grass hut. Far from it.)
In no period of my life has God been more astonishing than in the last year. To be more accurate, in no sustained period of my life have I been more immediately and acutely aware of how astonishingly generous, loving, merciful, patient, kind, forgiving and gracious God was being to me. I think that may be because I have been quieter for the last year than in any period of my life. I am learning how to listen. I’ve discovered that even in my prayers I’ve been talking far too much and listening far too little.
Second, I have long struggled with this verse in Matthew’s Gospel: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Somehow, it seemed, I kept getting in the way. I struggled with how to let men see my good works with the result of God getting the glory. But this is one of the many verses for which the Spirit of God has increased my understanding over the past year. I was getting in the way!
So as I share my journey in these posts, my goal is tell you about – not what I am doing – but what God is doing. The fact that He is doing it in me is incidental to the story. While I will be telling you about my life, it won’t be my life. Hopefully it will be my story about His life lived in me and through me. If I’m learning anything in this walk with Him, I’m learning how to be dead. Because I am! Paul describes my life in Colossians 3:3, “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” I am learning how to live my life as Jesus would live it if He were I. Or better: I am learning how to let Jesus live my life. (I will be writing much more about this in future posts.)
So any “good works” (Matthew 5:16) you see in me will actually be His good work. And for those, He will receive all the glory. As a case in point, even my desire to have a 24/7 conversational relationship with God is His work in me. I can’t even have the desire without Him!