Monday, October 11, 2010

God in the Caves Pt. 2

This week has been an absolutley overwhelming week for me. There is no denying the goodness and grace of our God. But let me back up a bit...
I wrote a blog on Friday, Oct 1st, but never got around to posting it because, as I had told Brandon, I just really felt like there was more. That God wasn't done speaking to me about the situation... I went ahead and posted it (called God in the Caves pt. 1) so you can see the progression of it all. So take a minute and read that before going on...

Sunday Morning. So while I was doing much better and had come to a place of greater peace, I was still struggling with the "why" of everything. Okay, so I wouldn't want anyone else's life cause that would forfeit all that is mine with God, but did it always mean life had to be difficult? Was there that many issues in my heart that I constantly had to be going through hard times to work it out. Because for the most part, that is what we are taught. When God takes us into difficult times, it is because your attitude, character, heart, etc. needs to be worked on, you're being tested, etc. Was I that messed up?
During worship on the following Sunday morning (not yesterday, but last week), I was sort of just talking to God about it all and then I saw a picture of some caves. And I felt God say to me that David (in the Bible) was who David was because he lived in caves. That he was able to write the Psalms that have spoken so greatly and ministered to millions for centuries because he lived in caves. That there are things that we can't know of God without spending time in caves. And David knew those things because of the time he spent in those caves. And I saw the entrance to the caves again and felt God say to me, " Would you live in caves to know me like David did?"
Wow. Just to know Him. Not cause I had all these horrible issues that needed to be unkinked (which I am sure there are), or I was constantly being disciplined by God, but just to know Him. He just wanted to be known by me.
And so I stood there for a minute thinking that over because I did not want to give an emotional "yes" with no stamina behind it. I settled in my heart at that moment that yes, God, you are absolutely worth spending time in caves for. That I will do whatever it takes to know You, and if that is the only way to know certain aspects about You, then in caves I will dwell (figuratively speaking, of course :).
I just stood there crying during worship because I was so overwhelmed with peace at whatever hardships we must endure (i.e. no car, restricted money and all that entails, etc., etc.) because I knew that I would know God in ways I couldn't otherwise. And for the first time I was actually wanting to be in the circumstances we were in cause I was so excited to know God in this way! I felt like the weight of a thousand bricks were lifted off my back. It was no longer about enduring but an absolute embracing the life God has given me. God amazes me so much how He can change a person with just a few moments in His presence.
So fast forward to later that day. We were at a person's house for a "superbowl" party for one of Australia's rugby leaugues Grand Finals. And long story short, we left that evening with a car!
I remember when Brandon came and told me they were giving us a car my first thought was no! I'm supposed to live in caves!! And then I thought it must be to help us get to and from work that night, cause their house was too far me to walk. And Brandon was like no, we get to use the car for good. And I told him no, they have other college students who live with them that use it. I was convinced he was horribly mistaken, that there was no way we were getting a car!
Well, yes, we got a car. This amazing, beautiful, and generous family gave us their extra car at no cost to us, with all registatration and insurance paid until June of 2011!! To say it is a "blessing" is an understatement and almost cheapens the whole affair. I am overwhelmed by God in this situation. I know that he was working in me over the weekend to prepare me for what He knew was already taking place.
And my whole week has been just one thing after another of being completely and undeservedly blessed by my Father through the body of Christ. From my tips at work to someone buying tickets for our family to go to the Jenolan Caves. I just am so overwhelmed. I know I keep using that word, but I don't know what else to say. There have been many times where I asked God, but what about living in the caves? This week has felt like anything but caves.
But maybe that is exactly it. Maybe the caves are never what we think they will be. We assume they are horrible and hard and dark. And without God they are. But when we experience God in those places we become overwhelmed with the goodness and beauty the caves provide. And we can be like David who was literally living in caves with absolutley nothing and still overflow with praise of the goodness of our God!
I pray you will be encouraged in whatever circumstance you find yourself in, that God's thoughts and plans for you are always good! Let us not hold back or shy away from where He is leading us, even if it seems scary or too difficult. We need to learn to trust Him that even in difficulty He will always lead us to His goodness. Let us press into Him and the things of Him, whatever that it requires of us, because God desires to be known by us in those places. The more we can lean into Him and less on ourselves, the more we can know Him. The more we know Him, the more we will experience and know His goodness. And the more we know of His goodness the more we can begin to see the beauty of the caves.
I pray immense blessings on you today and revelation of God's heart for you. You are more special than you know and we so appreciate and love each of you.
Love from the Griffin Clan

Friday, October 1, 2010

God in the Caves Pt. 1

So today has been a pretty bad day. Just one of those frustrating, annoying kind of days that just needs to hurry up and get over with so you can start again tomorrow. I hate those days. They really, really stink. It starts out with just small things, and then those small things attract more small things till you have this giant snowball of stress that is just following you everywhere you go. Which just makes you more annoyed with everything and everyone around you. And so your snowball gets even bigger.

For me, it usually will turn into the comparing game. Well, my day wouldn't be so bad if... my life was like so-and-so's, or I had such-and-such, or whatever I am attributing my bad day to. And I get all irritated with life and God, because somehow I attribute it to being God's fault and doing.

I mean, aren't I supposed to be blessed when I serve Him, and if I'm not as "blessed" as "others" around me, then God, what in the world are You doing? Why do you like them better? Why do you not see fit to let me have some ease and "blessing" in my life? That's just not fair, right? Wrong. Oh so very, very wrong. And I know it in my head, but it's that danged traveling to my heart that always gets derailed and lands in poor-pitiful-me-land. Yes, it's true. Just having a transparent moment here.

It is in these moments that I really allow my focus to get totally off track. I began placing value on the external instead of the eternal. I focus on what I don't have instead of what I do have. And I don't mean "I have my health, a wonderful family, roof over my head, etc." because, bah humbug! Sometimes that just doesn't help. Someone else's roof is always better and someone else's family has it better than ours because they get to do more/have more stuff, and I could go on and on because I am really good at this game.

But what I am talking about is something that became very real to me today. The realization that I have something that no one else has. And it is something I wouldn't trade for the world. My relationship with God. And before you think, but there are millions who have a relationship with God, even me! I do not mean a relationship with God, I mean my relationship with God. My very real and very personal relationship with God. There is no one who knows Him like I do. Wow, what a thought!

No one has been through what I have been through with Him, no one has heard the things He has whispered to me, no one has felt Him like I have, no one has known me inside and out like He does, and because of those things no one can give Him what I can give Him, my heart and my worship. No one has what I have with him, because it's mine. No one else can have what I have with Him because no one else is me. Pretty cool, huh?

How amazing is our God that He can take one thing, like how much He loves us, and spend lifetimes telling humanity over and over again, over thousands of years, multiple times a day, and not once would it ever be the exact same. Because we are not the exact same. Where we were in our life circumstance when He spoke it, what our background is, things we have experienced, or not experienced, what our personalities are like, what did it heal or free in us, our hopes and dreams. All that plays a part. And since we are each our own unique and separate person, our response, our worship, will never be like someone else's. And I absolutely love that! I love that no one can give God what I can give God!

Just like no two snowflakes are the same, not a single fingerprint is the same, and each and every day the sunsets all over the world are unique and never before made. I don't believe for a moment that God has 565 sunsets He just does over and over like a playlist on an ipod. What a creative, amazing, personal God that we have! It is hard for me to fathom.

So yes, there are so many things that I don't have and don't get to do that millions of people around me have and get to do. And while not a single circumstance of my life may ever change, none of that really matters, because I am indeed blessed. Not because I have much in the way of external "blessing" compared to most, but because I have an eternal, prized possession more valuable than any external blessing this life, or even God, could give me. My own, irreplaceable moments with Him. Moments that brought knowledge and revelation of who He is to me personally, the experience of His healing love and power, and moments that have given way to my unique, personal expression of freedom to worship Him. Those things are eternal, lasting forever and ever, they can never be taken away, and they belong to Him and me alone. They are worth anything I must endure while on this earth, however large or small it seems.

Psalm 73:25-26

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever."