Monday, November 1, 2010

Sometimes God Closes In On Us...

Many years ago, I discovered the good music of Ed Cash. You might have seen his name on numerous Christian albums as producer, but Ed is also a fabulous songwriter and singer. One song that's always spoken to me was a tune he wrote called "Great Things Take Time." The song talks about an old man who discovers a fallen tree and wants to clean it up and carve it into a new design (hence the parallel between God and man). Here's how the bridge goes:

Some pieces of the wood were stubborn
Some just cut as easy as the air
But he didn't care how long it took
To make each part complete
Yeah, the time he took just showed
How much he cared,
How much he cared

Over the past few years, God has been doing something in me that I haven't told many people about. Like the lyrics to that song, it's been the "stubborn" part of me, and God's been working on it for a long time. It's been one of those areas that I've tried to run from and brush aside for so long but have never seemed to have the courage to face it. It started off as something fun. It delighted me. It was a source of relaxation. But about 6 years ago, this gift of God became to me like the ring to Gollum in Lord of the Rings. No longer was I just a hobbit like everyone else. Slowly, I was becoming a monster. This "ring" of mine was no longer just a nice piece of jewelry to wear on my finger. It became my "precious." And with each passing year, it became more, and more, and more precious to me. If it was threatened, or lost, or taken away, I became someone I didn't like. And through it all, God's whispers of conviction went to speaking voice, and from speaking voice to shouting.

I never wanted to admit to myself how horribly addicted I was to the great sport of college football. I found ways to justify it as something fun, something relaxing, something masculine, something I deserved. And for a good portion of my life, that's all it was - fun. It's much more complicated now. I can't turn it off. I can't say no. I can't give it up for anyone, not even my wife. It's my precious, and I have to have it. Don't ask me to help clean the house. Don't ask me to run an errand. Don't ask me to change the channel or go out to a movie. This is my precious. I can't miss a play, and I can't not watch...I can'

You know how sometimes God will close in on you? I mean in a way that you can't even know how to pray for? It's like you notice something in your life that's competing with God, and you try and cheat around it for so long that you just get worn out? You get tired of trying to justify it in your prayers, until finally, you just give up? That's how God closed in on me. I got tired of justifying my addiction. I got tired of continually ignoring my wife because "the game was on." I got tired of worrying about who was going to plan an event on a Saturday. I got tired of waking up on Sunday mornings and not even being able to worship because I was so enthralled with last night's game. This is the stubborn part of me on which God has finally broken the padlock. I give up. I simply cannot serve the two. But this act of surrender, of which God has enabled me to do, is the most freeing thing I have experienced in a LONG time. I'm really glad that God is this committed to me...and I'm even more glad that He moves in for action when I'm completely helpless...

To God be the glory.

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