Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Here I Am--by Linden Malki

The call of God on our life begins very simply: the answer He wants is "Here I Am" . He doesn't ask us to clean up our act (yet) because we can't do it right on our own; He has to be a basic part of this process. And it has to start from where we are. If we don't know where we are, we can't get to where we need to be. I recall John and I trying to find a church in Oakland for a cousin's wedding. We had directions, we had a map. They were not doing us any good until we found out where we actually were--which was on the other side of Lake Merritt from where we thought we were. From there, it was easy! (And no, we weren't late.) 

That was the first line in the relationship God has with His people--we read of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah. Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing the work of God, but caused incredible havoc until God knocked him off his donkey and brought him face to face with Jesus. A good friend of mine in an adult group at Calvary Baptist told of having been walking down a street in San Bernardino when God told her "Margaret! Get to church!". And she did. Or like Saul, sometimes we think we know God, until He confronts us with who we really are, and what we're really doing. 

He's been doing this throughout the history of the church. Augustine's mom had been preaching to him and praying for him his whole life, without result, when God told him to pick up his Bible and read it--and he found Romans 1:16-17 and a whole new life. St Patrick was a slave on a hillside full of sheep in Ireland, when God told him that there was a ship in the harbor for him. Martin Luther had been looking for God in the church, but was confronted with those same verses in Romans, and saw the church of his day as it really was--and what it should have been. Adoniram Judson was on a boat going to Burma when God found him and gave him a new understanding of the Gospel. My great-great uncle was shipwrecked in the Atlantic when God sent him back to Sweden with a new message. 

When He has us where he wants us, He can use us with those He has put in our lives. We can only show as much of God to our "oikos"  as we have of Him in our lives. And we have to deal with people where they are, not where we wish they were, or think they ought to be. Are we the map with the big X that says "You are Here"? That's what we have to know first. My dad used to say that he had never met someone he couldn't learn something from. What are people learning from us, and what can we learn from them? 

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