I've been thinking about convictions and faith, and vows and love, lately. About altars and thresholds; new life and the threshing floor. No wonder, sitting as I am in the kiln (to reference a previous blog), leaves a lot of time for thinking.
I have been thinking about marriages, too. About the faith-filled convictions and love-filled vows I recently witnessed my son and new daughter pledge, and am remembering the same vows I made nearly 24 years ago. Saying them with faith and love and conviction stronger than death. And I am thinking about the apostle Peter proclaiming the same "I will go to the ends of the world for You-I will die for You" vows to his beloved Christ. He may as well have been standing at an altar. And I am relating as never before.
There is a wise qualifiction in some cirlces regarding our relationship to God. It is this- "God, as we have understood Him." I've been thinking about this, too, while sitting here, and the truth is that I don't understand Him like I did at the altar where I pledged my life to my Bridegroom over half an life-time ago, and to my husband over twenty-three years ago. Half a life-time and twenty-three years later, and still a newly wed! Not that it's always been bliss. No. Had it been, then I would not be in the kiln half baked. Or to identify with the analogy regarding Peter, I would not be on the threshing floor half sifted.
Half sifted or half baked, it's where my understanding of God and the vows made to Him, where the convictions to live and die for them, (so strong is our faith and love for God), are sifted away.
I've been holding onto the bridal bouquet...roses...feeling the thorns along the way, but the fragrance makes the pain worth it. I've been a newly wed for a long time, and have finally tossed the bouquet. The convictions, the thorns, the fragrance, faith, and my understanding of, and love for God, are no longer enough to keep me. Like Peter, the only love that keeps me is His love for me; and the only vow that keeps me is Christ's. "I have prayed for you... I have prayed for you, Carolyn...that when you have turned back to Me...." It's not that I have denied Him. The rooster hasn't crowed like that in my life. But I cannot promise any more than Peter could, that it won't happen. It is a dismal business to be humbled. To have my understanding of God humbled, and my life lived in accordance to that understanding, humbled. Life, faith, convictions, vows...all of it...humbled.
If you are tracking with me, then you are asking with me, "What now?" Let's simply know that He has prayed for us, and let's know the hope in the words,"when you have turned back to Me." We can't know what will transpire between His prayer for us and our turning back to Him, but we do know this- the chance to say to Him, "I love You," with the simplicity that is there only by humbling. And only by His prompting. "I love You. Not grandly, not fully, but I love You and You know it." And this, I am convinced, is the deeper love. No flesh, even this flesh, will boast in His presence.
Is it right for me to say, "Don't live on the foundation of your understanding of God, and don't build your life on the srong convictions that come from that understanding. But live and build on the foundation of, "I do not understand You as I thought I did," and on the convictions faith affords you in the words, "I have prayed for you that you may not loose your faith." (??) Don't answer that. It's only where I'm at! :-)
written by: Carolyn Roehrig