I guess that's just the beauty of J-Term and where my heart's at right now.
I love being an SLA because sometimes it gives me a front seat to some of the AMAZING stuff God is doing, and it sure keeps me humble.
The other night I was talking with a bunch of my girls about their NT homework, and I watched one of them go through the same revelation that I did last year:
Sometimes, the things we grew up hearing about God, spirituality,
and other weighty issues aren't actually biblically founded.Sure, everyone means well. No one does it intentionally. But when it comes to taking something that you believe about God, you really have to re-evaluate if it's a sound belief when you can't find a verse that says what you seem to think that it should.
This was attached to a conversation about a theology theory that our theology professors tend to share, which helps make sense of differing views: pen and pencil. Some of the things we believe, we [metaphorically] write down in pen. These are the things that we hold to be true; things that there is no debate over. God loves us. The miraculous mystery of the Trinity. Jesus' birth, death, resurrection, and our redemption. The rest we write in pencil. These are things that we still hold to be true, and that's perfectly okay, but they are not indisputable. God's relationship to time is one of the things my girls brought up; is God constrained by time? Does he know the future? Yup, we hit on the predestination // free will debate for a hot second in there. These are all things that we write in pencil.
When we discover the things that we thought should be in pen are shifting, aren't actually laid out in scripture, aren't as solid as we thought they were...it can be scary. It naturally invites doubt, which brings along fear.
"What are we supposed to write in pen? Can we really even put anything in pen?"
That was one of their reactions to our discussions. When pencil gets shaken or erased to be refined, everything in pen can start to feel like it's in jeopardy.
A few things were tossed around... we put the ten commandments in pen, we put Jesus' life, death, and resurrection in pen. We put God's Sovereignty in pen. We put that God loves us in pen.
After a very captivating and convicting at Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church this morning, God and I had some serious work we had to do. Near the end of the service, we were given time to just sit and listen for the voice of God. The sermon was on God's calling of Samuel, and his response: "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
[That's seriously a really bold claim: to be a servant. The translation of "I have heard you" can also be "my ears have been pierced." The way a servant voluntarily submitted to their master for the rest of their live involved the master driving a nail through their ear lobe. Kind of freaky, but very convicting. When we tell God that we're listening, when we ask Him to speak, we are also volunteering to submit to Him eternally, no matter the pain, no mater the cost, no questions asked. We're essentially telling God, "Nail my ear to your door frame, for I have heard your calling and I'm willing to listen." There's your Greek / theology lesson for the day. ANYWAY..]
So, an entire sanctuary filled with roughly 800 people sat in complete silence, listening for God. My journal came out, and I started writing. It took the form of a letter from God of things that I can truly write in pen; the unshakable truths that I'm all to guilty of forgetting.
When it's written in pen, there are no exceptions.
And I've spent the past few hours processing that, beginning to write in pen the things I know of Him to be true.
I do not claim to have it all together, but I do claim to have one really big God.
I love you.
[John 3:16, Psalm 130:7, 2 Corinthians 5:14]
I complete you.
[Psalm 139:5, Ephesians 3:19]
I protect you.
[Psalm 27:1, Psalm 46:1 & 5, Proverbs 18:10, Proverbs 19:23, Isaiah 31:5]
I know your heart, even deeper than you do.
[Psalm 94:11, Psalm 119:168, John 10:14 & 27]
I long for your joy,
[Luke 1:14, John 15:11, Acts 13:52]
for I Am your Joy.
[John 20:20, 1 Thessalonians 2:19 - 20, 1 Peter 1:8]
I Am your Life.
[Genesis 2:7, John 6:35, John 11:25, 1 John 3:16]
[Matthew 8:22, John 12:26, 1 Peter 2:21]
Let me form you.
[Psalm 139:15, Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 1:5]
Let me transform you.
[Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:51 - 52, 2 Corinthians 3:18]
Let me bring about the whole,
[Matthew 12:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - 24]
[Ezekiel 16:7 & 13, Song of Songs 4:7, Romans 10:15]
[Song of Songs 4:7, Song of Songs 5:2, 2 Samuel 22:31, Matthew 5:48]
that I have planned for you.
[Psalm 139:16, Jeremiah 29:11]
You are Mine.
[Isaiah 43:1, John 10:14 - 15]
[Psalm 100:2, Mark 10:14, John 14:6]
[John 1:12, Romans 8:16, Galatians 3:26, Galatians 4:5, 2 Corinthians 6:18]
[Exodus 33:14, Hebrews 4:10, Psalm 23:2, Psalm 91:1, Matthew 11:28]
[Isaiah 9:6, Romans 5:1, 1 Corinthians 14:33, Philippians 4:7]
for I have already won the war.
[John 16:33, Romans 8:31, Colossians 1:13]