Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wrestling with God

I wish I could predict who is going to meet Jesus and fall in love with him.  I wish I understood how that process works.  I wish that I could tap God on the shoulder and jump up and down and point to people who I know who need him and who I so desperately want to know him and that that would make something happen.

I wish I could understand how the Holy Spirit works to convict and prepare hearts.  When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus at night about spiritual rebirth, he talked about how the wind blows wherever it pleases--you can see evidence of it but you can't see it and he seemed to be saying that you can't predict it and you can't control it.

I'd normally say that the right idea is to sense where the Spirit is already moving and to work with him there.  Most of the time I'm working to figure out what God has already been doing and I'm just trying to make myself available to be a part of his process of communication with a person about who he is and what he cares about.

But there are times in the stories of the Bible when people have tried to change God's mind.  Moses begged God not to destroy his people.  Abraham begged God not to destroy Lot's city.  Jesus told the story about the woman who asks for something over and over again and finally it is given to her.  What part do we play in asking God to move in certain people's lives?  Are his works dependent in some way on who we love and how we love them and how we pester him to intervene in their lives?

I actually do believe that, in other areas at least, when God's people go into a place we take his presence with us.  So the fact that I'm working as a lawyer in an imperfect justice system, praying that God's justice will be done, might bring God's justice to a place where it otherwise might not show up.  Sometimes, I might be the catalyst for what he wants to do and I might provide the opportunity for him to act and move through me to accomplish what he longs to.

Today I am wrestling with God.  I am begging and pleading and pestering.  I am trying to understand.  I know that his heart is that all will know him.  I know that he will not interfere with a person's free will to choose him or not.  I know that the Spirit does work to bring a person to the point of being able to choose him.  I don't know how it all works together.  So I am praying.

After my dad's death, I think I am longing to see the transformative and creative and restorative power of God at work.  I do believe that Jesus conquered the grave with his death, and I do believe that in the end, all things will be made right.  But they are not right.  A good man has left the world and has left a void.  A man who followed after God's heart is gone.  Who will take his place?  Who will walk the sacrificial walk that he did to bring the message of the Gospel to people far and wide?  If death is Satan's temporary victory, then I want to see God restoring and reconciling and making things right--not just someday in the future, but now.  I want to see people go from darkness to life with the Eternal One.  I believe that's what God is in the business of doing.  I believe that we're here to be a part of that.  So that's what I am pleading for.

Will you pray with me, that the Spirit of God in its unpredictable way will be freed to blow among the people I know and who I am walking with and who I am praying for?  Will you pray that God will show up?  Will you pray that in all my fragility and vulnerability God will work and guide and give opportunities and protect?  I can't wrestle alone.

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