Tuesday, June 5, 2012

God of the Ordinary

A lot of the blogs I've been reading lately have been pointing back to the same theme...understanding...really understanding the character of God. Be it because of the challenge to pray from Carlos Whittaker to study the Bible less and pray more, or the revelations about the everydayness of God's work had over at Shrinking the Camel--lately I've been reflecting about God's imprint on my life.

I think it can be kind of difficult to see that print too early in life...you're just too close to the trees. Seeing that picture takes time and a step back that only age can provide. While I did get to talk to my grandmother about a look back on her life before she passed, I would have loved to have had the conversation again at the very end...when she REALLY knew it was over. When that peace and satisfaction hit her. I saw it on her face, but I didn't get to hear the words. No complaints though. It would have been hard to ask for a better end of life.

I read a post a month or so back at RZIM that kicked it all off and tackled the concept of "unanswered" prayers head on. Sure...I know my prayer time is probably not best spent praying for a trip to Samoa or that my cat will get better (Bamboo-Dog's fine btw) or for the health and well being of my family and friends...I know it's supposed to go beyond world peace and praying for people I don't know like Christians in foreign countries or the leaders of our world...I even know I should pray for my enemies. Beyond that though, I thought I was doing good by focusing my prayers around thanksgiving and praise and by focusing mostly on the well being of others. I thought I was doing so well with my list of needs of people in my life and beyond...and then Mr. Zacharias challenged all that. He asserted that the purpose of prayer first and foremost was to get to know God.

Now...I do take regular time to listen...TV off, mine clear of thoughts of cooking, Chinese or jiu jitsu, but until now, I'd never thought of prayer as primarily being about getting to know God. I'd always thought of it as kind of a really cool byproduct of the process or something that comes from a conversation or spending time with him.Will that slight, but important change in perspective change the format with which I pray? Probably not much. But I do think it will change the way in which I live.

I really think my life has been a lot like the Shrinking the Camel piece's description of the stock market, with the big stuff...the majority of the changes only coming from .03% of the time it's been in existence. This is the quote that really got me...

People like to think God is working through them . . . and they usually, mistakenly, mean it happens through fireworks and avalanches. But God is much more subtle than that, tending towards everyday-ness, and in leaving a long trail of kindness, character and consistency that actually adds up to something substantial over time. 

This is easy for even me to forget...I'm a person that doesn't like surprises. My best friend and travel companion likes to tease me about how I like to plan out activities in the day, and I respond that I don't like "a heart attack around every corner." I would think that God's everyday-ness would be welcome to me...and to a degree it is. I read the concept of a subtle God and my introverted little heart warmed.

...but every now and then I find myself looking back asking why I don't have more big moments...why there isn't more progressive upheaval in my life. Part of that I know is because God knows me and knows I'd likely lose a good chunk of my sanity if my life involved too much jerking and lurching...but I think part of that is a reflection of his character too. You look at his most beautiful and amazing creations, and the "fast" ones like trees and plants take months and years to form while the truly breathtaking ones took thousands, to perhaps millions to reach their current state. That aspect of God's character honestly comes at no surprise.

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