For Lent, I am walking us through a book called Apprenticeship With Jesus. You can follow along by reading my highlights and reflections. Extensive previews of the book, including excerpts,can be found through Google Books and Amazon, as well as eBook purchasing options.
Day 25: Getting Through The Rough Spots
– “Let this, then, be the first step, to abandon ourselves and devote the whole energy of our minds to the service of God” – Calvin
– Negative reinforcement is far more powerful than positive reinforcement
– apprentice to Jesus = a very deep level of trust and surrender
– dark night of the soul = God has moved on, he is further down the road toward home and we have to seek him out but when we find him we are also further down the road and in better union with him
Though it is hard to take, I love the imagery of the road when thinking about times when God seems distant. Instead of thinking that God has deserted us, we can think about God moving down the road and we have to be willing to change course in order to find him. When we do, we can be assured that we will have grown much more in the process than staying put where we were spiritually.
Before I was broken down by God so that he could build me back up again, I experienced a dark part of my life. That was more due to my own lack of reliance on him than God moving further ahead of me. Now that I am fully his, I have experienced dry moments but they have never been extended.
Apprentice Activity: Getting Through The Rough Spots
– Slowly read this quote from John Calvin :
For as the surest source of
destruction to men is to obey themselves, so the only haven of
safety is to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow
the Lord wherever he leads. Let this, then be the first step, to
abandon ourselves, and devote the whole energy of our minds to the
service of God.
– Breathe the following prayer for 15 minutes:
(As you inhale) “With God”
(As you exhale) “For Joy”
(As you inhale) “With God”
(As you inhale) “At a slow pace”
– Read Colossians 3: 1-17 and then ponder verse 11 – Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
To mention Calvin in most of my circles is to mention reformed theology and predestination. I hate it when people get miniaturized into a label because of presuppositions. I could read the above quote from Calvin everyday for the next year and still be inspired, motivated, and convicted by it. What a shame it would be for me, or anyone, to miss this great insight just because of preconceived biases.
What is Jesus teaching me? I believe that God is always working and that the Holy Spirit is ever drawing me towards Jesus. The past two weeks has included some stressful moments and I have noticed myself more willing to push past the stress to find those moments that are touched by God. My identity is not found in the uncomfortable moments but in Christ dwelling inside of me. Sometimes, all it takes is a new perspective. I need to see every moment as drenched with the touch of God.
Do you get swept away in emotional moments? Do you search for God even in the tough times? Have you found him? Has he found you?