Thursday, July 13, 2006

God's ongoing work

Today (actually Wednesday) was a good day experientially for me, as far as sensing God's work. Though it quite came with its challenges. I guess that is part of what keeps us out of ruts and into the freshness of the reality of what God is doing in the world and in our world.

One of the matters I'm working on, and on which God's working is evident, I believe, is in my tendency to overreact to difficulties, disappointments or trials. I have grown over the years in such matters, but still can overreact. My wife reminds me that this is not faith on my part. She is so right.

Something happened today at work which was not good in my eyes (nor in others' eyes, for that matter). More of a poor taste (though the taste of my coffee from the coin put in by the coffee joker was not affected), annoyance kind of event. Not a moral issue, and I wouldn't want to call it a sin issue either. My first reaction, though kept in control, did not attempt to cover my displeasure completely. In the process, all ended well. God's Spirit was at work, both in my life, and in the life of the other, and I think for that matter with others who were present. And it was great to pray over and meditate on Psalm 57, before, during and after that event.

God's work is ongoing in us who belong to the Jesus community. God is at work to renew our inward person daily (2 Corinthians). And his mercies and faithfulness are new each morning (Lamentations). Our goal must be to live before him, and to work out what he is working in. Together with others. This means we have to be willing both for our sake, and for their sake to really be involved in each others lives, particularly here those of the Jesus community.

Father, Thank you for your ongoing work in us in your Son and by your Spirit. Let us eagerly be a part of it. Both the exhilerating part, and the normal plodding along with the inevitable trials that come with life. Let us grow and see growth, having our being and doing, together, in your love. Amen.

13 comments:

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

I truly relate to your post. I tend to overreact in certain situations, particularly while I'm driving. I need to constantly be reminded that there are difficulties in other people's lives that make my concerns quite trivial.

God's grace is sufficient, even in the little things!

Ted Gossard said...

Allan,
Thanks. Does seem that in the "little" things that God is at work to make some big things happen.

Broken Messenger said...

The littlest things are never all that little when we examine them.

Good thoughts, Ted.

Brad

Cappa said...

Ted,

I'm glad to see that your faith in god and the workings of god help you in your daily life. I must admit, that at times life forces you to search for the "helping" hand. And, for many, God seems to be the hand that delivers.

Apart from being agnostic, I would hope that if God does indeed exist, that his workings would somehow spread to the innocent millions of children who are starving every night, to the diseased-ridden individuals who are unable to bare the pain they face, the millions who are absorbed by a sense of loneliness, and of course, the billions who are drenched by fear, anxiety, etc.

Again, to have divine intervention affect your life is great, but I ask you to put the shoes of your maker, on. With all that is morally wrong with this world, how could YOU let such tragedies exist?

A quote that I found particularly interesting;

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ ... " ~Galatians 3:28~

As always, your thoughts are appreciated –

-CappA

Ted Gossard said...

Brad,
Thanks for your thoughts. So true. And so pertinent to what we often face.

And a new matter I have to face, that though little, is important as to how I approach it- as of those who as Jesus' community are in mission in this world and called to love neighbor as one's self.

Your thought of examining them is good. It is all too easy to jump in with a reaction and response that is not reflective of God's revelation to us in Christ.

Ted Gossard said...

cappa,
Thanks for your good words. I so much appreciate what you say here.

I do find your words of putting on the shoes of the Creator to be so appropriate. Scripture teaches that those of the Jesus community are members of his body. Therefore we act on his behalf in and to this world.

While it is good to hear and read about those who are going to troubled areas- such as the young Christian married couple who are spending vacation time (I believe), in Uganda to help those suffering, medically, and thus show the love of Jesus (in Saturday's Grand Rapid Press), it is all too true that it is easy for us Christians to be oblivious to the suffering of this world.

I can't answer for God except to say that Scripture indicates that God does hold the poor and oppressed in a special place in his heart and actions. As to how that works out, it is often hard to see.

But we all must face the reality that even for the "safest" and most insulated from trouble, that death can be imminent. And suffering also.

Christians need to "bring to bear" the kingdom of God having come in Jesus on this fallen, doomed kingdom of this world. It is a collision of two worlds (one, in which upholding our wealth and standard of living is more important than helping the poor and oppressed; the other- opposite). And God's kingdom come in Jesus and his community is to be salt and light so as to help bring God's shalom/blessing on all troubled places, such as in Africa's Darfur, etc. Easy to say, much more in carrying it out.

Thanks so much for mentioning this here. It gives a needed perspective to this post.

Ted Gossard said...

One other thing I should mention, Cappa. And you may well know what I would share next.

God in the person of his Son becomes one of us- fully human, to ultimately absorb all the evil upon himself at the cross and by his death, so that he can restore everyone and all things. So the gospel means God acted and acts. But not in a way that we would choose. And he continues to do this redemptive, reconciling, restoring work accomplished in Jesus, through the Jesus community- those who have faith in Jesus. And Jesus will bring the final outcome of what he has accomplished when he returns. The vision of the kingdom of God for that time is for evil to be vanquished in God's good kingdom and new creation.

Yet we're left before that time, seeing evil run rampant in a number of places (like Darfur). Still an element of mystery in all of this, surely, though we in Jesus are still called to bring God's love and care to those people. And, I believe, to call governments and nations to action in light of the kingdom to which we in Jesus belong.

Ted Gossard said...

...action that can involve police type of work, in stopping murderers. But especially in turning weapons of war into instruments of peace and prosperity. Yes, in Jesus we should be a light for nations to be moved in that direction. And in that light to be judged by God.

Sorry for the lengthy reply. A big subject, too big for a blog and yours truly, the blogger.

Cappa said...

Ted,

I must admit, it took me a few minutes to understand your point. And, I happen to agree that the human race, Governments, societies, etc.., should take as big a stance in the re-shaping of this world as possible so that adversities such as hunger, are, of course, a thing of the past.

You alluded to the fact that God holds a special place in his heart for the oppressed and the poor. Would that mean that those who are not, would be viewed in a different light? If so, then can it be said that not all of us are equal in the eyes of god?

It seems, however, that I’m forced to two points, is gods plan for us to help each other out? Or is it for him to decide when the time is right for his hand to change the world?

(You see, my personal belief holds me to the fact that you cannot choose whom to help, and whom to let lay aside.)

Of course, the answer (for now) can only be given by humans, so allow me to share mine.

If humanity has been given the task, or rather the ability to cure the world’s problems, I truly believe that such adversities will never be abolished. We as a human race, is capable of so much, but yet we choose to do so little.

Moreover, if God's plan is to change the world upon his return, and offer salvation, then I must surrender to the notion that the hand we search for to help cross the proverbial streets of the world is nothing more then our apparent lack of simple understanding.

Ted, it is with issues like this that I fail to understand how people of faith can believe so fervently, yet never question…

Sorry for the lengthy response, but I guess it’s the norm for us ☺

Ted Gossard said...

Cappa,
Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate them.

God is no respecter of persons. Jesus reached out to the rich and the poor. It's only that in God's shalom of justice, the poor and oppressed need a helping hand that the rich do not. Moreover the rich are to give the poor that hand, which we see over and over again in Scripture.

The kingdom of God has come in Jesus and in his community. And it is at work in other places as well, I believe. But where God is having his reign, people, particularly those in Jesus, are seeking to do the good works of this kingdom, to help the poor and oppressed, and to preach the good news of Jesus.

Of course it is Jesus himself who, in his coming, will bring about this perfect reign of God. The kingdom of God will then come in its fullness and all wrongs will be righted, and everything will be put right. That is something that can't be accomplished now. But will then.

However the beginning of it can be accomplished now. Though judgment will come to the end of salvation and shalom- the new creation, the new Jerusalem in which all will live together in harmony as God's people. People in Jesus are to work and speak now with the goal of the kingdom of God in mind. When weapons of war will be turned into instruments of peace and prosperity for all.

Ted Gossard said...

Cappa,
It begins now with each of us and all of us together. We need to trust in this good news of Jesus. What he has accomplished for us in his life, death, resurrection and ascension. His death paying the price for our sins and bringing forgiveness as we trust in him. He is the way, the truth and the life. The solution lies in him. And God wants us to be part of that.

Jesus has made the way for us, and by the Spirit helps us as we trust him, to walk/live in that new way. A process. Inward and outward. But God's ongoing work is that. And then we find our feet as to the goal and path we are to be on. To love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Cappa said...

Ted,

As usual, I agree, the people of this earth need so desperately to join to create a world where humanity has the chance to share with each other and we can grow as a people of the world. Whether it's by the hand of god, or that of a person, it must be done.

BUT,

In all seriousness, do you see that happening? I mean, just examine the world and even the Middle East and the war that seems to rage on, the people that seem to abandon their moral sense and care only for what benefits them. I mean Ted, the scripture is there and yes we need to learn and even perhaps accept it and follow it but again, are we? The world has been at work for so many hundreds of years, death, famine and destruction. Where is god in this? I mean if we have not learned and we can't accept the word of god, then where is god to reinforce it? Isn’t 2000 years of death shed enough? You see, I tend to speak for those who are faced with issues like these. How can an all-loving God sit back and watch this, let this happen. If we are made in his likeness, then I would imagine that we would also feel the same. And, I, Personally, can't stand this injustice that wraps this world so completely.

If this persists, then I have no choice but to accept the fact that the savior of man will have to be none-other than man himself.

Sorry, I sort of rambled on I guess, but my questions seem to drive me away from God, rather then to him.

Ted Gossard said...

Cappa,
Thanks for your continued responses. Very good questions with no easy answers.

I find the Incarnation, death and resurrection- along with the promised return, and in the meantime- the beginning and promise of the kingdom of God having come in this Jesus- here on earth now- to say alot from God.

But I have faith in my heart instructing my mind. And this faith persists in spite of appearances and in spite of experience. But it is verified on some scales. Yet is related in Scripture strongly to "hope". That is, a looking forward to God's fulfillment of his promises in Christ. And the beginning, now, of them unfolding, albeit often in small ways. But real nonetheless.

But without that faith through grace from God in my heart, I'd dismiss it too, at least in an agnostic sort of way.