Humbly With Awe
Some thoughts pertaining to seeing our lives rightly in view of our Maker, His Power and His Sovereignty...
“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?” (Isa. 45:9).
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? (Rom. 9:20-21).
Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea...?
“Have you ever given orders to the morning...?
“Have the gates of death been shown to you...?
“What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow...? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain...? Who fathers the drops of dew...?
“Do you know the laws of heaven? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
“Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you...? Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?” (from Job 38).
The Lord said to Job: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”
Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth...” (Job 40:1-4).
Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:1-6).
With humility and deep reverence for God and His Sovereignty and power, there will be times when we must be brought to places like Job. We will certainly be tempted to have our attitudes; and any of them (such as complaining, jealousies, resentment, comparison, quitting, blaming, defending ourselves) when played out, are in effect, the attitudes described above of questioning our Maker, “Why is my life this way? Why is this happening to me? How come so-and-so has this or that? It’s too hard. What about...? When will this end...?” When we play out the attitudes in our thoughts, we’re guilty of being a piece of earthenware questioning the Master Potter of our lives. Who are we to question God and what He is doing or how He is doing it? We, whose lives are only a vapor, and God placed and counted every hair upon our heads; who are we to look at others and judge or opinionatedly assess their situation and take some sort of offense at it? “I’m not loved.” “ What about me.” “That seems unfair to me.”
After Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep and explained how his life would look as Peter would lose it for the sake of God, He said to Peter, “Follow me!” Peter’s response was to look at John and say, “What about him?” And Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” We MUST follow Him.
When we get tempted and think, “What about them?” “How come they...” and other attitudes, we put ourselves in Job’s spot of questioning God. And it seems that since it is through earthen pots that God works, it will sometimes be there that we’ll be tempted to question God about what He is doing. Our part is to humble ourselves before our Great Creator and take a posture of deep reverence and awe regardless of our lack of understanding or explanation. Contrary to our fleshly desire, God is under no obligations or compulsion to explain Himself or satisfy our “questions” when we’re in a Job-like attitude. In fact, He will remain frustratingly quiet and absent, thereby making it impossible for us to understand or find His peace... until we choose to humble ourselves with reverence and awe at the feet of a Holy God who lives in people He has graciously placed around us and in our lives. We must not lean on our own understanding and opinions.
If I desire God to be the fabric of my life, then it’s mandatory that I see His people (the place He lives) as the fabric of my life. Not just people in my life, sharing along the way, but rather, the people of God ARE my life. We are all together, of each other, with increasing glory. So it’s not ours to question or say to the Creator of us all and the Giver of relationships who provides the oil of His Spirit between us, “What are you doing?” in a skeptical or critical or whining way. Let people call us fools for selling out to something crazy-looking, like implicitly trusting each other deeply in everyday practical affairs; let people think we’re stupid when we embrace with joy another’s conviction; but we KNOW the peace and the power and the pleasure of God when we obey Him by loving, trusting, caring, always hoping the best of each other and of God’s work.
We know what it is to find Jesus in the lives of each other. We trust Him and His work in each other. He graciously testifies with the fruit of the presence of His Spirit in our hearts when we live humbly and non-skeptically and Hope-filled toward each other, always assuming the best. What joy it must bring His heart when we wash each other’s feet because we SEE JESUS. Not just doing it as a thing. But really treasuring the Life God has placed in each other.
And when “questions” come up that are from our earthly selves, God will not satisfy us with answers about why the specifics are the way they are. Rather, He blesses us when we yield to the Spirit of Jesus that we see in another. What a blessing it is to make it our aim to cherish and guard the anointing in each other, jealously defending it against the lies of the enemy and our own selfish thinking. Certainly there is a place for helping each other with areas of weakness and sin. Most certainly. But when we violate God by accusing, blaming, questioning with our opinions that are not godly, then we’re being a pot saying to the potter... What right do we ever have to be huffy or bothered because others are loving others (and it offends me because it affects me in some way) and pouring out their lives unto God and finding Him in their lives? We may think that we’re not guilty of thinking that way. BUT, when we compare or separate ourselves in any way, that is what we are doing. Seems like a sound practice would be to cherish each other and the anointing in each other that is from God. We must make a right judgment based on the Spirit of Christ, not on what our minds and eyes perceive outwardly.
I’m reminded of Jacob’s encounter with God when he first saw Bethel, the House of God. What a revelation of God’s heart when we see, “What a dreadful and awesome place this is... this is the very Gate of Heaven.” Our lives together, growing stronger in relationship and trust and mutual love and dependence and connectedness is the land upon which God reveals His Wisdom and His Spirit and His Love and His Sovereignty and His Everything! In such a Holy and Christ-focused way He reveals Who He Is to us. “What a dreadful place this is... this is the very Gate of Heaven. God’s resting place on the earth is IN US, His called out ones; this is an awesome place, the very gate and entranceway to the glory of God’s heavens and treasures and wisdom. “Now, through the church...”
Live there and you’ll understand and love and trust and know more than you ever dreamed possible. It is beyond our comprehension and grasp. Yet somehow God reveals Himself to us in that place where He lives and rests His head. Here, in His house, in our hearts together. No place for questioning about each other, “Why are things this way or that...?” It is God’s every right to do whatever and with whoever and however He pleases amongst His people. “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1Cor. 12:18). HE does that, not us. And we would do well to work WITH Him, not against Him. Who are we to question? Why would we question? (Some root of self, no doubt.) It’s HIS HOUSE He’s building, not ours. And His promises to us about sharing with Him all He Is, are abundant and overwhelming. Working with Him and trusting even though we don’t always understand, or even like; that is the place where He reveals Himself.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).