Saturday, November 25, 2006

You just never know when God's going to speak to you or what little thing He may use to help you hear His voice. Last night I was reading a book my wife had just finished and she wanted me to read it. It wasn't a book I would have ever picked up and read through without her encouragement as it is somewhat of a "Christian chick" novel with a female author and female main character.

In the story, the main character is experiencing terrible upheaval in her life as her husband becomes consumed by work (in part because she wasn't listening to his needs) and at the same time she is reading a journal of an ancestor of hers that she found in her mother's attic. In what I was reading last night the second storyline was set on a rural corn farm, and the young journal writer was about 14 years old. Her heart had just been trampled upon by a young man who had become her first crush, and she wrote that "my mama said that idols always have feet of clay."
Well, God was working me over last night. That is why it is only 5 a.m. here and I am finally at the computer writing this. I haven't slept much at all. Many would say it was just physical because one of the "idols" God reminded me of last night was my belly. Like the Cretans. Here we have for the most part been able to let go of good ol' fashioned food worship in some ways, simply because we cannot afford to eat out much and the food that is served is more often sufficient as opposed to decadent or succulent. But, at the same time, what that can facilitate is a certain desire driven "need" to go get some "real food."

Now, you will laugh at this paragraph because of the place where I ended up with my family getting such food. Whereas I used to be somewhat of a regular diner at places like the Palm steakhouse, great italian eateries, a number of great restaurants in Philly, DC, and other metropolitan areas, last night my whole family was literally abuzz with energy because we ended up in a Denny's. The kids were literally bouncing on the booths and excitedly reading their menus to find all the perfect pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. I ordered a fabulous scrambler that had ham and jalapeno in it, but of course it comes with a huge helping of hash browns, and three gigantic pancakes. Heavy sigh.



Meanwhile, yesterday, we all went over to some friends' house here in Kona to watch our college alma mater play football. Yes, we are Arkansas Razorbacks fans. Woooooo Pig Soooie.... only, well, we lost. And, of course, while God was working me over about my food he also was reminding me of how much that game affected my mood...how my kids would never sit for 3-4 hours to watch a football game and, as they ran around and made noise, how quickly I was snapping at them to quiet down (all so I could watch a silly football game), which only got worse as our quarterback made one bad pass after another.
I literally felt like I was going to throw up last night. My belly was very upset with me for over filling it with greasy spoon (but very yummy) food, and God's still small voice was reminding me how quickly I could delight more in something sensual rather than spiritual. And, as He also tied that into my attitude around the football game, I heard that little 14 year old girl recording what her mother said, which was developed from God's word, that "idols always have feet of clay." Another heavy sigh..

For me, when I struggle through these types of conversations with God and my heart, I keep wanting to say, but, Lord, surely it is okay to watch football or enjoy a good meal. I mean, how weird do I have to become? Do I just end up holed up some where and only read the bible and pray all the time or what? Praise God He is so patient with us. He's heard that cry so many times from me. He reminds me that I am free in Christ, but that He alone is worthy of worship. If I let things of this world get between my worship and Him, I have erected yet another idol in my heart and am headed down that path of doublemindedness. Whether it is the god of sex, the god of food, the god of pride, the god of work, the god of family, the god of recreation, the god of laziness, all gods will fail me, be unfaithful, and have feet of clay. He alone is worthy of worship and He alone will do all things in accordance with His nature and character, which is defined by love. The heaviest sigh yet.

Lord, please help me keep my eyes on You so that I won't sink into the waves. Please help me seek first Your kingdom and allow you to be my delight. Tear down the high places in my heart and mind and give me the grace to offer myself as a living sacrifice to You every moment of my life.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17

2 comments:

GuyMuse said...

I too have to confess to having read several Francine Rivers novels. She is a great storyteller and I have thoroughly enjoyed the 3-4 books read. The last book of hers we did was on our last furlough and listened to an audio version as we travelled across the southwest. Indeed she deals with "heart issues" and has a way of bringing us back to what really matters in life. So, I'll keep reading secretly, and won't give up your secret either! :)

Anonymous said...

bryan~ i have misplaced your email and i have tara's but i sent an email some time back and haven;t heard from her. (no big deal. you have more important things to do than write me!) anyway, i have a question about sending something. email me so i can ask ya. thanks
amy
thehagedorns@charter.net