Sunday, July 31, 2016

Intimacy (August 2016 Issue of the St. Louis Amigan)

There once was an old man, crying out to God, “Remove this pest from me!” And he cried it again, and again—because it was not his pathos that he saw as pathetic, but himself, his weakness, his frailty, and he did not want the constant reminder haunting and accusing him.
Many have argued over the ages about what it was that he found so embarrassing about himself. There has been no resolution because no answer is given; the sources do not say. They do not fret over irrelevancies, but instead, they point us to the more important things.
The cry of the human heart is often concerned with the irrelevant while missing the important. Indeed, it seems our lot in life to be forever distracted from what should be our most important goal. It matters not so much who you are, as who you are with. It matters not so much what is yours as whose you are.
We are much like the silly house cat that is more concerned with keeping an annoying fly away from its food bowl than it is with what’s in the bowlits food.
Leave off the fly and eat your food.
If you do not, another cat will come along and enjoy the sup without you.
It took many years for that old man to finally hear what God was saying, to finally understand what it was that was to be his goal. But when he did, oh the change in him! What a marvelous thing to see! Even the fly stopped buzzing for the amazement of it all. Glory in his frailty?!?!? What new thing was this??? What was it that God said to him to bring about such bliss? “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your frailty!” 1
There are things I have been discovering these past few weeks when my knees have seemed so weak. People have begun to no longer be seeing me as an appendage on a camera. They have begun to hear my heart and see my song, no longer blind to what has been there all along.
From the moment I elected to accept the pain things have begun to change. For one thing, I have begun to dream, again. Some time ago an image entered my dreaming mind, and a voice with it, saying, “Africa: It’s now or never!”
In the image you see here I have taken the words of that voice along with my immediate impression of what was being warned about by the voice and incorporated them into this rough reproduction of what I saw in my dreaming mind.
I began to pray, and to get others to pray, and later that very same day God answered those prayers with the words you can find in the hymn, THE SILENT VOICE, which is a message of assurance and hope and promise. It is also a message of instruction on how to hear the voice of the Lord, and not be distracted by fools and foolishness.
Indeed, cast your mind upon the opening line: “Have you ever heard the silent voice to bellow its command?” The very fact of the question being asked of the hearer assumes that they have a trove of experience from which to draw in answering the question being put. In other words, the very fact of the question assumes that the hearer is able to answer it—indeed, that the hearer has, in fact, heard that voice often enough and knows its behavior well enough that the question can be stated rhetorically.
There is an intimacy there, an intimacy that will be missed by those unfamiliar with it. Those unfamiliar with the intimacy found in that relationship will react with confusion and pridefulness, perhaps even dismissing it as a nonsense question. I have even been asked—by a brother—“How can you hear a silent voice?”
But they asked. There was no pride or dismissiveness in their asking; they simply wanted to know. And as they wanted to know, and are a child of the King, the King opened their mind to the answer. Opening their mind to this answer also opened their mind to something that the voice was trying to tell them, and that changed their message for the men that evening.
Intimacy. It is of such a state that when one small stumbling block is removed, like a dam burst, it releases a flood of information that is already organized into a message ready to share.
This intimacy is a treasure. It is the type of treasure for which the Lord tells us that a man, on finding it, would hide it back then go and sell all he has to gain the money to buy the field where he found it.2
What would you pay? This old man would suffer pain and anguish and agony and every sort of trial should it bring this intimacy to him.
And I—when I decided to accept the pain in my knees, rather than rail and fight and battle against it, part of me thought I must be mad. But, also, part of me knew that depending solely on God would draw me closer to God, and that that closeness, that intimacy, would come to be a treasure beyond worth.3
A long time friend saw this before I did, and yet rejected the feast they could have also had—and another has come in to take their place. He came unto His own and His own received Him not.4 It also says that a native branch has been cut off and a wild branch grafted in in its place.5
Beware the intimacy that you reject, for it may never come again,6 and you may end up bereft without it, for you cannot return to that place, for another will have taken your place. You will have become defiled while it is holy.6
One must repent while repenting is available, and not after it is too late.
There is another line to THE SILENT VOICE: “For Godly are His divine ways, and you don’t understand.” This is not a rebuke, but a reminder.7 God is love8 and grace and forgiveness and mercy and light. In some way His intimacy is available so long as you do not continue to reject it in this life.9
I have chosen intimacy, but intimacy with God is what I choose. There are many who will reject me, and have rejected me already—some thinking they already know God—because of this. I understand this perfectly well, but understand this: The intimacy I seek is not one they can find; it must be shown to them by God. If He has not shown it to them then they do not know God.
Pray for me that I would not fall back into the mire of sin. Pray that I would come to seek and know the grace within; that God would be to me the seed that flourishes within, and ask that I would come to see the gift He has for me, that from the sea of sin and doubt I’d be forever free, that I would come to know Him well in His intimacy.
Be well, my friends, and seek God in His intimacy.

1II Corinthians 12:9
2Matthew 13:44
3See my hymn, THY SWEAT HEART for more on this; although consciously, I was seeing a long and dear friend as the “treasure beyond worth”, and they are, there is a deeper meaning that begins to show itself.
4John 1:11
5Romans 11
6Deuteronomy 24:1-4
7Isaiah 55:8-9
8I John 4:8,16
9John 3:19