Leaning in

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.  -Jeremiah 33:3

I think there is a principle in these words of God to the prophet Jeremiah, concerning the posture I need to be in to hear from God. It helps if I am leaning in, expectant. I will admit there are times when "I ain't feelin' it." Even then, I'll be blessed if I can keep myself open and available.

If you spend much time in the psalms, you'll notice this pattern from David. How often does he start out in a lament about how rotten his circumstances have become, only to end in praise once he remembers God's faithfulness (check Psalm 13)? In other places, he starts out referring to God in the 3rd person, recounting facts he knows about God, then shifts over to 1st person as he draws close to express worship and gratitude (in Psalm 23, the shift occurs in the middle of verse 4).

As we pursue our ACTion plans, the A is for Abiding. What does that mean? What does it look like? Well, it starts with understanding who God is. If I don't have an underlying trust in Him, I probably won't be very committed to an ACTion plan because I doubt that it will make any difference. So who is this God and why is He worthy of my trust?

In answer to that question, Doug Raines took us to the first chapter of the gospel of John to show us a picture of Jesus. (check here if you need to give that a listen: https://www.convoynwa.org/audio/2019/2/3/leaning-in.) Why start with Jesus?

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation... For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him....  -Colossians 1:15,19

We heard about a God who is great, good, and gracious.

His greatness means He transcends time, space, and matter. Because of His greatness, I do not have to be in control. He is big enough to handle whatever I'm facing.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  -John 1:1-3

His goodness means He ALWAYS has the best interests of His children in mind. What He does is right. Period. Because of His goodness, I do not need to look elsewhere to have my needs met. He supplies what I need.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  -John 1:4-5

His grace means He came out of heaven to step into our mess. He didn't wait until we were good enough. Because of His grace, I have nothing to hide, nothing to prove.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  -John 1:14

Those truths are radical. So here's the thing: I can agree with them all day long in a theoretical discussion, but what happens when my circumstances start to go pear-shaped? That was the essence of Doug's question to us - If I really believed that God was great, good, and gracious, how would my life be different today? In those critical moments, perhaps, like David, I need to lean in. Take a breath, remind myself of what I know about my God, and draw close. Maybe that's the beginning of Abiding.

Lord, show me Your glory. I want to see You. I want to know You. I want to be taught by You. In my head, I believe You are great, good, and gracious. But I am forgetful. I confess: When the distractions of daily life come in and my to-do list looks overwhelming, I often fail to trust You; I default to task mode, I wrestle back control, I try to "fix it". In those moments, there's no time for Abiding, those I should be Convoying are neglected, and Transferring my faith seems like a laughable afterthought. Lord, remind me of what I know. Your track record is solid. Mine, well, let's just call it a bit spotty. Draw me close, help me see You. You are great. You are good. You are gracious. You have proven Yourself trustworthy, time and again. That's where I want to abide.

Scott Thompson