Monday, February 1, 2016

Long Distance Love Affair

Monday.  A word evoking varied emotions.  For many, it is a word of opportunity.  Time to get going, get to work, get a move on.  We've rested, we've had a break, back to it!  For many, it is a dreadful word.  Respite has been terminated.  Forced labor renews.  Forced time with like minded people creating an instant pall.  Where's the coffee?  Ugh!

Wherever you reside between these two extremes, Monday usually equals change.  Most notably for me, it is the up shift in gears.  Saturdays are about home and family.  Sundays are relational and uplifting at church.  Mondays are about results.  More to do, more to get done, more complex schedules, more people clamoring for my attention, clamoring for more people's time., etc. 

In the midst of this, an effort arises to hold onto the heart truths that were so moving just a day earlier where God revealed himself in some new and profound way through the teaching or worship or even through the simple act of "being" in the midst of those whose intent focus was the Creator.  But these life altering truths can quickly become the whispered "still small voice" and so often the brash noise of life is intentionally deafening when application of those truths is attempted.  We get this "locker-room" analogy of church where we are going out into the world most of the week and returning to our churches, worn out and beat up, to be refreshed and uplifted one or two of those days.  And by all means, the Church should be a shelter, a safe place, an emergency room when needed.  But I don't like needing regular visits to the emergency room.

We've all experienced that loss or twinge of sadness when something really good or enjoyable comes to an end, thrusting us back into the "normal" of our daily lives.  It could be that mountain top experience, it could be that truly enjoyable evening with friends, it could even be that 10-minute mini-date my bride and I took to enjoy coffee in a serene park with cool breezes blowing, just being together.  Regardless, we'd rather be there than in the present mundane.  Or we'd like for it to happen again and soon.  I've found that I can treat my relationship with my Father in this manner. 

Sundays are ripe for the entrance of his presence.  The music is fantastic.  We are blessed to have talented and anointed worship staff ushering us into the throne room.  The teaching hits us where we live as if God were speaking to each of directly.  It is given by men who have cast themselves aside committing their lives and those of their families to reaching the broken, bringing His truths forward to us weekly.  In this, we experience the greatest love affair of eternity as Creator touches created and confirms through His Word and His presence as He has time and time again "I AM LOVE" and "I LOVE YOU".

Then we leave.

The week begins and we want to remember so we open Bible, we open devotional, we quickly gaze over life affirming words of encouragement and truth and we are back in the remembrance of His presence.  We may even hear that still small voice speaking into our lives. Yet we view this as the "get by" experience.  I am guilty of seeking out the morning devotional so that I'll have the "spiritual fortitude" to get through the day as if this were the only life line I had to a deeper power.  "You'll have to excuse my rudeness, it's 5:30 pm and I've worked all day" as if being 10 hours removed from my bible were an excuse for a lack of living it.

And in those moments when we are truly frustrated or need to cry out, how often do we wish we felt as empowered as we did during the gathering of a Sunday morning worship service?  If we could just carry that presence with us all of the time!

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:19-20  ESV

"But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you."
John 14:26

"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."
John 16:7 ESV

"Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5  ESV

For too long I've been treating my prayer times, my devotional times, my scriptural readings as a spiritual check-in.  I know He loves me but I'm in the muck and mire of my work week so I'll check in through these and we'll reunite again on  Wednesday night or Sunday morning!  In a way, its like opening a lost message from a bottle that has washed up on shore, hoping for some lifeline to keep going.  Ever play pin the tail on the scripture where you blindly try to figure out what part of the Bible you should read next?

But we are not strangers to the message of His overwhelming love, His inexhaustible mercy, His amazing grace.  We are very much aware of the oceans of sin that had to be traversed to bring us into His courts, because we are still committing them and they are still being forgiven.  So why, being so acutely knowledgeable of the love affair of this One who called the stars forth from nothing, are we willing to leave him in a building with our songs and offerings or in a 15 minute daily devotional and not invite him to participate with us in our conversations, struggles, and joys throughout the entirety of our day every day? 

This morning, a picture came to me of this type of relationship.  Long distance love affair.  We meet, we part, we check in between meetings.  I cannot imagine how difficult it is for those who are actively involved in such relationships.  I am blessed to daily see my bride, daily kiss her when I enter our home and share my day with her.  On those rare occasions when I cannot, my world is off, I don't like it.  If I had to live that way, I would have to re-evaluate my priorities.  What is causing this distance between us?  Is it necessary?  What can I do to eliminate it and how quickly?   

God wants us to have the same thoughts towards Him.  He desires intimate and close relationship with us.  Regardless of our state or relationship with Him, on His end it is a proven love affair.  And by the verses above, I think it is evident that He desires no separation between Himself and us.  The only thing making it "long-distance" then, is us.  Are you content with a long-distance love affair?

No comments:

Post a Comment