Tuesday, July 21, 2009

IOW: A Quiet, Yet Deliberate, Rebellion

Miriam at Miriam Pauline's Monologue is hosting In Other Words. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own take on today's quote.
But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.” Jonah 1:3
What a strange time I am experiencing right now! What an appropriate quote for me to ponder...

My home is empty this summer except for my husband and myself. I never thought what "empty nest syndrome" really meant. Our children are all grown and on their own life paths. When our son left for USMC boot camp just over a week ago, my house and my cell phone became very quiet. I, who dearly cherish alone time, am finding myself at a loss as to how to fill my moments.

How do I redefine myself? Gain a new identity? I am still a mother, yet have no mothering responsibilities. How strange this is...something I have done for 25 years is no longer necessary to the extent I have previously known. Part of me is excited for the opportunities ahead, part is shaking with the thought of becoming an afterthought to those in whom I have invested more than half of my life. Yet, it is right that this should come.

When I look at Jonah, I see a reflection of myself. I had so much filling my days that it was easy for me to drift off to Tarshish on a ship of full of responsibilities. If some call from God seemed difficult or time-consuming - well I had meals to cook, a house to clean, little hands to wash, soccer games to attend, Sunday school lessons to study, books to read, new TV shows to watch, phone calls to answer. My life was overflowing with important things, good things, mundane things.

Yet, how often did I hear a Voice whispering for me to stop and listen, to kneel and learn, to prepare for His call? And how often did I let myself judge the task (or recipient of the task) unworthy of the precious time I had available?

Is a full life a life fulfilled?
But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish - as far away from God as he could get. ~ Jonah 1:3 The Message
How did Jonah, a prophet of God, think he could escape the Presence of the Lord by changing his location? When a task God gives us seems distasteful, is there a way to remove ourselves from His gaze?

One of my favorite Latin phrases is Coram Deo - living before the face of God. When I am walking on the path I know to be the one on which He is leading me, I rejoice in the idea that the omnipotent Creator of the universe is watching me and walking with me. Yet when that path seems filled with potholes and mud... I tend drift to the path of soft grass and no responsibility. What makes me feel like God doesn't see my rebellion? Or perhaps a better word is defiance.

Dictionary.com defines defiance as "intentionally contemptuous behavior or attitude." Wasn't that how Jonah acted? He openly disobeyed God because he decided that the people of Nineveh didn't deserve a chance to repent. His attitude conveyed the idea that God doesn't have the right to offer salvation to whomever He pleases.

In my full life have I ever deliberately turned away from someone God has put into my path? Yes.

Not too long ago I arrogantly turned away from someone who asked me for money. I detest panhandling. I told this person I had seen him earlier in the day doing the same thing.

As I self-righteously walked away with my $5 coffee in hand, his response reverberated in my ears, "I live here." There are no houses or apartments where I was...just a square filled with entertaining distractions and the river-front park. This man had no home other than a blanket under a tree by the river.

Did this man know that God loves him? I will probably never know - the city cracked down on homeless living by the river...they were driving customers away from the entertainment area. Will he have another opportunity to hear the Gospel? I pray it will be so.
Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:19-20 The Message
Father, please forgive me when I disobey. Make me sensitive to Your call. Help me live a life worthy of that call. Amen.


MiPa said...

Great food for thought. Thanks for sharing today!

Tami Boesiger said...

Is a full life a life fulfilled?

Uh oh, you've given me something to mull over all week! Very good point, Patricia.