Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Crying at Kroger and other random thoughts...
I've just come home from Kroger. (I know, I know...you're expecting a post about having just come home from Ethiopia...it will come.)
So this was a new experience. Standing in the parking lot of Kroger and just...weeping. I felt my stomach turning when I walked in, but I hadn't eaten, plus am having adverse effects from the antibiotic I'm taking for malaria, so I chalked it up to that at first. But it wasn't the antibiotic, or the empty stomach, it really was my gut response to the culture shock. So. Much. Food. So much stuff. So little gratitude, so little turning one's eyes to God in thankfulness, so little consideration of how much has been given to us and how much is expected of us. And a few minutes later I found myself back in my kitchen, again weeping. Trying to share my heart with the kids...to make them see. (You should have seen their faces; big eyes, alarmed, wondering what's wrong with Mom...poor kids!) James 1:27...religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after widows and orphans in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. This is really the bottom line for me...it is just so stinkin' easy to be polluted by the world. But HE knows it. Our Father knows us, and in mercy He gives us the antidote to the poison the world feeds us. Look at the widows and orphans. Look at the ones who are hungry, poor, lonely, distressed. Look at them and do something about it. Love the things He loves, keep your eyes and heart and hands and feet there. When we do, we are in His presence. Because He is there too. We are intimate with Him...we are washing His feet, clothing Him, feeding Him. It is an experience that is indescribably sweet, satisfying, addicting...it leaves us wanting more. It fills us up and makes the "pollution" of the world detestable to us. So often, we look at God's exhortations to care for the needy as a burden. We are likely to act out of duty, or even guilt. We miss the truth...that He is giving us a privilege...He is inviting us into His presence...He is sharing His heart...He is calling us into a banquet. He isn't placing a heavy burden on our shoulders...He is taking one off. He wants to refine our appetites...wants us to taste and see His goodness. And oh, how good it is; how sweet.
In a few days, or a week or two, I will walk into that same Kroger, and I will not weep. I'll push my cart, glance at my shopping list, drop the items in without a thought. I'll talk on my cell phone while I shop, or chat with the kids about our weekend plans. This is where I live; and truly, I'm not serving anyone by crying at Kroger. But I can, and I will, keep fighting the pollution. I will remember how weak I am; how susceptible to the "charms" of the world, and I will keep asking Him to help me. I will keep asking Him, every morning (and afternoon, and night) to show me where to turn my eyes and put my feet. To fill me with the sweet satisfaction of His presence...I am hungry for it. I will keep asking Him for wisdom in how I can whet my children's appetites for what is good and true and right.
I do not have the wisdom to know what this is always supposed to look like. I don't know how we balance living here in suburban America with dying to ourselves. I don't think we necessarily have to sell everything we own...but we need to be willing to do so. I don't think we should be unable to enjoy all of the blessings available to us...but I never want to cease knowing and acknowledging that they are from His hand and they are His. And I do believe, for my family, that we should be weighing every choice we make...the way that we spend our time, our money, every resource we have...according to His priorities. Seeking His heart in all of it, and always, always, receiving back far more than we can ever give.
God is good. We are blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. In everything give thanks.