A Moment of Gratitude


I am frankly obsessed with the front end of the book.  It never ceases to amaze me how much theology God packed into the first few pages of Genesis.

Early on we learn about the two inalienable rights in the story of our universe.  First is the what God gave man.  Beyond any question of a shadow of a doubt, we have the right to be stupid.

This is a right we exercise relentlessly on an individual and corporate basis.

And God lets us.

The second great right is His right to pursue people who have exercised their right to be stupid, even when they are compounding their stupidity by running away from His love.

What is challenging is that from this minimalistic perspective, God does not seem to exercise His right evenly.  It seems (again, from my inadequate perspective) that some people go stupid on Him, and He shrugs and lets them do it to themselves.  Other people do the same or worse, and He exercises His right to pursue them.

Or maybe I am merely projecting myself on Him.

Again.

I certainly have played the stupid card many times in my life, and now and then I also pursue those who have played that card, even when they have not asked me to.

Why?

I pondered that this afternoon as I looked back over the last year.

There is a community that comes to mind that did some really stupid things to me (and I like to humor myself by thinking they did them against God too, but I don’t really know whether He took up an offense for me or not).  When I left, I stopped short of dusting off my cowboy boots, but I don’t really plan on going back there any time soon.

Let them be stupid.

There was another community that did me wrong (in my opinion), and I am pondering investing in that community in spite of themselves.  I wrote one of my researchers and had her start digging in a particular area to see if I could find some roots to their issues that would facilitate healing what they have not asked me to heal.

There is another community that has treated me very badly three times in the last year, and I have no intentions at all of pulling back from them.  I am going to go there again this year and love on those knot headed porcupines even though it is going to cost me dearly as they act like their sorry unredeemed selves one more time.

Why?

What makes me exercise my right to love the undeserving in such an uneven manner?

Beats me.

And is God really that uneven in His exercising His right to pursue people who are exercising their right to be stupid?

I don’t know.  It could be just my perspective, or possibly He is a bit selective about when He goes porcupine hunting — I mean hugging.

All I know is that I am really, really, really, really glad He exercised His option several more times than I exercised mine.  It is just scary to think of what I would have done to myself without His pursuit of me.

Copyright July 2012 by Arthur Burk

From home, at the end of an excessively telephonic day

This entry was posted in Awe, Intimacy, Redemption, The Kingdom of God, Worship. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A Moment of Gratitude

  1. Rosa says:

    And I echo …”It is just scary to think of what I would have done to myself without His pursuit of me”. Thank God for new tomorrows and second ( or third) chances. Great post, makes for some good mulling.

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  2. I have been reading your posts, listening to your teachings for many years now, this is my first time to leave a public reply. Thank you for your candid honesty which provides the organic fuel needed for others of us called by HIS love. Thank you for writing in a cohesive manner that clarifies the randomly jumbled thoughts that I have tried to organize in a concrete manner for years. Thank you for scaling the walls of the unknown, jumping across the ravines of fear, climbing the remote mountains of the less traveled and opening the doors of uncertainty for those of us still trying to take off our stupid masks (aka costumes) and find out who we really are in HIS grace.

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  3. Tanya says:

    Thank you for your prophet blessings that you have under free resources/ articles/ human spirit/ blessings. After reading this blog entry and rolling it around a few days, your #6 of the blessings seemed to be highlighted.

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  4. carol says:

    I absolutely love the beginning of The Book! I was just reading about The Fall and considering a commentary that reminded me of this: Adam and Eve fell (stupid move) when as yet they knew no sin and were not plagued with a sin-nature. Imagine that! I heard Chuck Missler once ask, “I wonder how many dimensions Adam lived in?” Whatever that means, I cannot even fathom what only quantum physicists / mathematicians and little children can understand when it comes to anything beyond 4 dimensions. I once heard someone describe God as the Master Chess Player in a 27 dimension chess board. All of this and more makes me realize that it’s hopeless without the personal intervention and favor of Christ! And when He shows up, my heart is tenderized, I melt like wax and all I can say to Him is “What kind of Love is this?” I am and will forever be grateful that He embraces the hard, sharp and pressing … for I am one.

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  5. Irina Rivera says:

    I look in awe at God’s pursuit of me, too. Especially since I can’t look at my family and see the same. What I appreciate about your post is that you don’t try and answer the question God’s motives. I suppose some might point to God knowing our ultimate response to Him, but that seems murky because there is no given that just because He pursues us we will respond. Gratitude is truly fitting.

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  6. Scott Cross says:

    The wonderfully painful expression of Unconditional Love may only be purposed to be given to those it was purposed for. While God can Unconditionally Love everyone, selectively expressing varying levels of outward manifestations of it, perhaps we are limited by our nature to be able to express it only in a finite manor. Being only able to offer it to those who were destined to be in our life at a deeping level.

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  7. Mark Pixley says:

    I think the capacity to see the “future/self” ie: version of people seated in Heaven outside of time, to relate with people on their potential rather than their behavior is a key recipe that God wants all of us to learn in this season…to speak the truth in love over people rather than the things that are currently “true”…yikes!

    It drags me back to the whole Romans 9 issue about free will and God being sovereign…God who gives us complete freedom to be stupid also controls the “kings heart” in His hands…the thing that stands out is that regardless of how God deals with you, you are getting either “mercy” (the fact that stupid people still draw breath) or “compassion”…

    “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens” (Rmn 9:18)…

    What in the heck do we do with verses like that, where it seems our free will is limited by His sovereign desire…

    I am not at all suggesting that He MAKES people choose stupid things…but recently I have seen close connections absolutely choose unforgiveness as an act of the will with warnings plastered all around them…how dumb is that?

    All I know is I am deeply humbled, intensely grateful, and trembling inside for the grace that has always drawn me to Him and given me kindness to lead to a lifestyle of repentance…this is probably one of the greatest gifts in my life because I am so probe to stupid…I came by it honestly, my first ancestor made some pretty bad choices in his day when no one had ever made those kind of choices around him.

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  8. dorisann says:

    I just finished, painfully, reading “Unbroken”. A true story of a man’s Job experience but without the same God view. By the end of the book I was as unforgiving as anyone toward his #1 enemy (don’t want to give away the story) and yet God had relentlessly stayed with him through it all until he finally bent his knee and went on to be a huge contributor to society and serving His God. I don’t understand these kinds of life walks, find it hard to believe God allowed him to suffer as he did, but then I think of Jesus. If we didn’t pursue, who would? ONLY GOD! You are willing to be that porcupine hugger and God gives you the assignments because He is walking before you. Thank you for being obedient and occasionally stupid,because without that you wouldn’t have a clue of the Goodness and Kindness of God.

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  9. Narola Grady says:

    Yes and amen. Some days I flop back and forth between reading “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and thinking of ways to bless obstinate, stubborn people who don’t acknowledge my existence. Which ever choice God calls us to make today, I pray for His peace to settle on each person as you walk it out.
    One thing I have seen (sometimes years later) is that we leave a spiritual imprint if our actions are Spirit led. Example: Last fall I spoke with the present pastor of a church my husband and I left 4 years ago. He and I are good friends. When I asked him to name some of his desires for the church, he ticked off (almost verbatim) five points that I had specifically prayed with a small group of intercessors 17 years earlier for that Body. How amazing!

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  10. Kathy says:

    To everything there is a season a time (“et”) for every purpose under heaven….He has made everything beautiful in its time.

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  11. Stephan says:

    “What makes me exercise my right to love the undeserving in such an uneven manner?”

    Faith.

    I know, because I’ve also struggled with this issue. Because my heart simply bleeds for the broken, and so often, the Lord has had to tell me, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this. His life is in My hands. I’ll get to him later, but as for you: You have to be faithful to the task that I have set before you now.”

    And, it’s hard. It’s hard to walk away from someone knowing how strongly the life God has planned for them contrasts with their current one.

    But, at the same time, I think it’s the pinnacle of pride, to think that for God to do something in someone’s life, he HAS to do it through us. We simply have to trust that He’s as busy in their lives as He is in ours. And, He may very well have set someone aside to minister specifically to them far better than we ever could. Or, He may bring us back to them later to love them when we are more fully equipped to deal with those specific wounds.

    But ultimately, our calling is to journey with Christ, not with men. And just… believe… that He’ll make sure it all works out in the end.

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  12. Joyful says:

    Make room for another on your gratitude rail! (push/shove/push) :- }
    I belong there too!!!

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  13. daisynburgan says:

    I guess somebody’s got to be the life giver. We are never more like Jesus when we love those who don’t love us well. I believe that the witness of Stephen was instrumental in the conversion of Paul. He was no doubt watching Stephen die as he held the coats of the ones stoning him. Wounded Healer, that’s my calling.

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