Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go Deep

We are knee deep in snow now after a good old Minnesota snow storm. But that's not the kind of deep I've been thinking about.

There are those times in life where you just feel ragged, on the edge and as one of my friends deftly described it "raw". A few weeks ago, dealing with a screaming 18 month old all day and night was leaving me ragged. Not enough sleep, too much to do, bills to pay all pile up to make me feel numb.

Then there are the friends going through hard times ( I talked to at least 10 people that were laid off last week alone), ministry stresses and trials. I can wake up in the morning and have a hard time finding the strength to pour a bowl of cereal. I sometimes wonder what the point is. All the time and energy we pour into ministry and people continue to walk away from church and turn their backs on Christ. It seems like I should be able to find a verse in the Bible that says "Put Christ first and life will be easy".

I picked up a book we've had on our shelf for a long time called "Reaching for the Invisible God" by Philip Yancey. It's really feeding that part of me that wonders about faith and if it's worth it. One of the stories he tells is about his pastor when he lived in Chicago named Bill Leslie. He felt like he had reached a place of Spiritual emptiness. He went on a weekend retreat and talked to his spiritual director, a nun.

"He expected her to offer soothing words about what a sacrificial, unselfish person he was, or perhaps recommend a sabbatical. Instead she said, 'Bill there's only one thing to do if your reservoir runs dry. You've got to go deeper.' He returned from that retreat convinced that his faith depended less on his outer journey of life and ministry than on his inner journey toward spiritual depth." (page 73)

Really? My faith might depend less on what I do and more on the journey towards Christ! What a shock. I've always thought I had good faith. That I would dutifully do all that God asks of me and He in turn would make everything good and comfortable.

But as I've found myself running dry at times in my life of faith, the choice is to either give up and stumble through or go deep and seek after God. A few weeks ago as some crises broke out in our ministry I was driven to work on my Bible study. I knew that I was in over my head and that the only way I could get through was to be with Him. And yet it did not make things easy. It's still messy and I still struggled with some things that directly related.

As I raise my children each day, I want to go beyond carting them to things, helping with homework and feeding them food. I want to disciple them so they can learn to go deep. Not that it is going to make everything easy. Actually it will probably mean a more difficult road in a lot of ways. If we truly want to follow Christ, there will be things we won't buy, shows we won't watch and places we won't go. There will be challenges and struggles along the way.

So I'm going to learn to go deeper. I want to know Him more intimately by studying the Bible, praying desperately, and seeking, not what I can do, but what He can and who He is.

2 Corinthians 5:7
We live by faith, not by sight.

Ephesians 6:16
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.


Wayne Pederson said...


I can relate. It's like trying to drive a car with no fuel, just fumes. You don't get very far. I find ministry very unsatisfying if I'm not connecting with God on a personal basis. That's in fact what I need to do today before I hit the road ministering to others. I need to have God's Spirit minister to me.


Wayne Pederson said...

Sounds like I need to get Yancey's book. He's one of my favorite writers.