Friday, October 15, 2010

Living out a narrative.

"Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled...Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matt. 5: 6& 8)

All things considered, it's fairly late for me. I need to be up early to get out to the cabin and close it up for the winter. In fact, that second picture is of the road out on the peninsula where our cabin is located. It doesn't really show it, but that road winds & turns all over the place. You better not drive to fast, or you WILL end up in the lake.

I had some thoughts nagging at me for days now...frustrations mostly. Like, "How come my prayer life sucks?", and "Why can't I ever seem to get my act together?" Things of that nature.

I started teaching a sunday school class last week. So far, so good. We'll be hitting the first four "Beatitudes" this Sunday. The last of those is the famous "Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness," bit.

It's been pointed out to me that the first four on the list are not conditions that we work for, but are instead conditions that we find ourselves in...and there is nothing good about them. In fact, the world would look at that list and say it's a disaster to find yourself in any of those positions/conditions. In the case of hungering & thirsting for righteousness, it means that you are essentially starving...dying even, because you really do want some righteousness, but it always seems to be just out of reach.

And yet Jesus says that we are blessed because of it. Weird.

I am a sinful man. I admit it. My thought life is not what I would want it to be. One minute I will say something nice to someone, and a split second later I will be judging someone else. My eyes wander towards things that they should not dwell on. My sense of humor can easily gravitate towards the negative stuff. My mind puts up barriers & excuses to keep God at bay. I am extremely lazy about finding time to just hang out with God, even though he seems to dwell in the back of my brain every moment of every waking hour. I don't like it very much.

On the other hand, it does illustrate the fact that I need a massive savior to rescue me every day. I am hungry. I am thirsty. There HAS to be more than this. I just wish it didn't have to be a battle every single day. I wish that I could attain some enlightened state of being, where my discipline was rock solid. (Yeah, that's gonna happen real soon.)

I've been re-listening to some of the Podcasts on Matthew that Rick McKinley did. Mostly, it's for that class I'm teaching. On the last one, he touched on the "Pure of Heart," which I most certainly am not.

Rick pointed out that attaining a pure heart is impossible for us on our own. It is more a matter of simply being dissatisfied with what the world has to offer, and longing for something better. That certainly nailed it for me. I am extremely dissatisfied with what the world has to offer me...even though I constantly slide right back into chasing after that temporal crap.

Having a relationship with the God of the Universe is tough. I mean, tough/difficult in a personal way. With my friends it's different. I can call them up and just talk...and they talk back. For me at least, it rarely seems to be that cut and dried with God.

Yeah, there HAVE been times when God drew so close to that it was almost overwhelming. The few times that I have actually heard his voice (No, I'm not crazy. It really happened. OK, I AM crazy...but for entirely different reasons than that.) it just about knocked me down. Feeling his presence that close absolutely does a number on you. Most of the time, though, it is more like he approaches me unexpected ways.

I'm really thirsting for a righteousness that I absolutely do not possess. Jesus apparently says that this condition qualifies me for being his disciple and following him into his kingdom, because I can honestly admit that I am a mess, can't fix myself...and therefore need him.

My heart is not pure, but I long to see God. I mean it. I really, really, really want to see & be with God. Every time I pause and think about what this world has to offer, it kind of depresses me. Most of what we chase after is a joke. Most of my life, I have been middle-class. At the moment, I am poor...both in spirit & financially. Neither states of existence have been particularly satisfying.

I'd be more than happy to give being filthy rich a shot for a prolonged period of time. But I also know that in the end, that wont satisfy me either. (It's strange. I've known a lot of wealthy people, and most of them were not very happy.)

John Lennon once said that "Life is what happens when you are making other plans." I read somewhere that "The journey IS the destination." I just like the idea that a person's life is a story that is unfolding. I suppose that my own story will be one with a lot of winding roads on it. It certainly will not be a straight line to God. Very windy indeed.

I heard a song on the radio coming home from work tonight. Brandon Heath was singing "Wait & See." Other than the fact that I was born in the Sacramento area, and in the Spring, the song tells a story that is very close to my own. God isn't finished with me yet.

I'm really hungry & thirsty for more than this. I really want to see God. I want to see him smile. He will. I guess the story just isn't ready to be over quite yet.



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