Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's God up too?

One of the most important questions a Church leader can ask during times of change is, "what is God up too?" I guess the same would hold true for individuals in times of transition as well. As Romans 8 reminds us, the Divine is using "all things" we experience for "His good and purpose" (28-29), whether we are speaking corporately or not. Either way, we need to pay attention to what God is doing and respond accordingly.

I like Rabbi Lawrence Kushner's take on this subject (as told by Rendle in Leading Change in the Congregation). He says, "I wonder why a God who can split the sea, create pillars of fire and make the sun stand still would resort to a cheap parlor trick like a burning bush to call Moses as a leader for His people? The answer is not that the burning bush that was not consumed by fire was not a miracle, it was a test. God was testing Moses attention span and ability to observe his surroundings.

It takes several minutes for a person to watch a bush burning to discover that it is not being consumed. Those who would simply glance at the bush would soon look away and only see a burning bush. In this case God was wanting to know if Moses could pay attention to something for more than a few minutes and if He could find the Divine in the midst of the common. When Moses did, God spoke."

What an interesting concept to ponder! Could it be the trick to healthy transition is to find and view what God is doing through our circumstances long enough to understand His will and experience His miracle? We need to hold on and not always rush to hasty decisions less we may miss God in the process.

Human nature is to run off and fix the problem. To distance ourselves as far away from the pain as we possibly can. God however, wants us to live in the moment as Jesus describes in the latter verses of Matthew 6. He says, do not fret over your circumstances but rather focus on Me and the need to be transformed into My image. Then eventually the path will be made clear and things will work out for your good and My glory (my paraphrase).

Lasting change requires some time in the wilderness. It is in the wilderness of pain, anxiety and disappointment that God gets our attention and reveals Himself to the keen observer in a life altering way. What extended the journey of the Israelites into year forty? Dwelling on the past and grumbling about the present. They said, "If only we had stayed in Egypt and died it would have been better than this! Here we are in the wilderness... surely we will die from hunger! (Exodus 16:1-2). How short sighted. Why it was only a few days since they witnessed the parting of the Red Sea, and were presently enjoying the warmth of the pillar of fire by night and the reprieve of sun through a cloud by day. Hello?

God help us to be aware of our surrounding and search Him out in the circumstances we face. Good things will be in store if we do! Thanks for stopping by...

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