Wednesday, November 28, 2007

gutters and pedestals

My grandson Andrew - - whatta cutie, eh?
I had the opportunity to share my testimony with the elder board / deacons and whoever else comprised the seemingly large gathering of people at my church, as part of the process of petitioning for membership. I love reflecting on and sharing my testimony, each time my gratitude deepens for a different aspect of the Lord's work in my life. As I prepared my thoughts, as is typical when I'm writing about the Lord, the words just flowed from my fingers. I was slightly surprised to see the aspect this preparation included.

When I first got saved, I was one of those people who believed God got off pretty easy with me. You know - - I wasn't in the gutter with addictions and "visible" problems... I actually felt the Lord didn't have much work to do at all to get me "cleaned up and ready for service." That is the blindness of pride. The ignorance of conceit. But I was a baby Christian, and didn't have a clue yet as to how this whole thing works.... As I've gotten to know the Lord and His heart - He has shown me, in doses I could handle, just how filthy and ugly my pride was to Him. As I prepared my testimony this time, I realized how pathetic pride is as well. I reflect back on all those gracious sisters and brothers, who held back reproof from this baby Christian, and instead bathed me in encouragement. God did not cross my path with those sisters in the Lord who seem to have created and appointed themselves to the Office of Official Rebuker. Yet I don't kid myself for a minute by thinking they "didn't notice".

I think of David, when the Lord confronted him for sinning by numbering the troops, and He wanted nothing to do with the Lord using human intervention for his judgement- He preferred the very Hand of God to dole out the punishment he had to endure. Likewise, the Lord didn't use people to correct me, instead He taught me through the Word and His Holy Spirit, and His very hand doling out judgement / consequence. He pitied my condition, and showed compassion to me. The Lord knew what would work better for this babe; I could no sooner receive reproof at that point than I could climb Mt. Everest. Granted being able to receive reproof is critical and important, and the way to wisdom - it just requires a little maturity under your belt to get there.

I believe the arthritis and my recent hand surgery was consequence of my pride - my pride made an idol of music, and literally put me in bondage to perfecting the turn of a phrase..., to the exclusion of many other things that were probably more important in my life. Phantom of the Opera is such a great depiction of this bondage... this slavery... that period of life that wasn't life at all. Part of how the Lord enabled me to see my bondage and my pride was through some very devestating losses. But tearing down idols is not a gentle process - and He began the demolition long before I got saved - the path He used to draw me to Himself was paved with the wreckage of my breaking. And as I look back at some experiences, which at the time were rather traumatic, I see the Hand of God and I overflow with gratitude, thanskgiving, relief. He used the broken fragments of my life to weave together my lifeline. What a wonderful introduction to Romans 8:28. Mercy 101. Grace for Dummies. But once you've been through the breaking of pride (not to imply He's done with me, nor that I've arrived...) you begin to wonder about that gutter. How different would the experience have been of the Lord's hand being used to lift me up, instead of to knock me down. Hmmm, another thought -- I bet the Lord sees the gutter as a very sacred place. Whatever brings us to the end of self is beautiful in God's eyes, and makes us more beautiful in His eyes as well.


Elder's Wife said...

As always, I appreciated your post. That breaking down of pride is a continual process, isn't it? as soon as we think the think is licked...well, it just manifests itself somewhere else. And I think the worst kind of pride is false humility. I know that is a real snare for me.
Keep blogging!

Dinah said...

Thanks, Kat. You are always so encouraging. Yes, I agree with you, pride does not die an easy death. It reminds me of weeds in my garden... prolific, persistent, deeply rooted... Sure glad that unlike my garden, the weeding is not up to me! I love the way the Lord guides us along the path to holiness. And while patient, He is not tolerant of our sin - I like that He believes the best for us! "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me!" Ps. 138:8

Shawna said...

Thanks four sharing so much of yourself online. Pride is a problem we share. May we both make progress in overcoming this most serious sin with God's help!

Dinah said...

Hey Shawna!
Thanks for stopping by. We can rejoice because God wants us to (overcome this sin), we are willing, and He does the heavy lifting. He began the good work in us, and will bring it to completion. How blessed we are!!!