Saturday, 24 November 2012

An "Ah ha!" moment

May I state here and now that this post might be relatively long but definitely will not be a waste of your precious time? Good, I just did.
Okay well, this beautiful Saturday morning found me hitting the "dismiss" button on my alarm clock/phone and rolling over in bed smiling up at the heavens and thinking "Thank you, God." I was going to do my new routine of listening to God speak for five minutes but somehow I drifted back to sleep and woke up to my dad calling me to come upstairs for our family devotion. I was beyond disappointed in myself and gave myself a mental kick upside the head. After family devotion, I spent sometime talking aloud to God, just praying my thoughts and telling Him everything as it came to my mind. My prayers to Him today were the most informal things I have said to God in awhile and I eased up on myself for not waking up earlier but made a mental note to make a bee-line  for the electric kettle when I wake up tomorrow morning. I went about my chores as normal, been chewing on Ibuprofen (for my cramps) since 8 this morning while tweeting and reading a novel (classic multi-tasking)
I heard God beckon to me to spend more time with Him and I did just that. I listened to some soul music (aka lots of Kari Jobe, Gungor and Hillsong United) before reaching for my worn but precious bible. Somehow, I found Isaiah 53 and I started reading. This was my "Ah ha!" moment:
My servant grew up in the Lord's presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected- a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
                                                                                                          - Isaiah 53:2-3(NLT)
It was when I read it the second time that it did my head in, really. Notice how Jesus calls us to love God with everything that we have and then tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I just made the connection and it is so profound, my head and heart would burst open if I don't share it with you. At first, I was thinking "Is this all You have to say to me, God?" I was expecting something more ground breaking like the assurance that lattes and mochas will be served at the Marriage Supper of The Lamb. But this is what God had to tell me today:

  1.  That Jesus was not the finest or handsomest male specimen by world standards.
  2. That Jesus did not immediately strike the people living in Israel at the time as someone who was actually God's Son. Note that there was "nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance".
  3. That if Jesus were born in our day and time we wouldn't take Him seriously either.
  4. That everyone despised, rejected, acquainted with grief and has many sorrows shares a resemblance with the Jesus that lived over 2000 years ago.
  5. That every time I turn our backs on people like these, I turn my back on Jesus Himself.
  6. That when I love and embrace these people, I love and embrace Jesus Himself.
Often times I pray to God asking Him to help me love people and love Him more but today it's like He's saying to me "It's all here, Ibukun. It's all here." Every time I see hurt, grief, sadness, dejection in the eyes of the people around me or even in myself, I am called to love. I am called to embrace not turn the other way. It's easy for me to ask with a beaming smile on my face "How are you?" and hope deep in my heart that the response will be "I'm awesome!" because I don't want to get involved. Because I think it's too much work and I don't want to take up the extra burden. But that's exactly what I have to do if I want to truly love. So next time I want to hurry past the beggar on the street murmuring "I barely have enough", I'm going to look into those needy, rejected, sorrowful but expectant eyes and see Jesus. And I'm going to press money into those hands willingly knowing fully well that I am giving it to my King. Next time I ask someone "How are you?" and get an "oh I'm not so good." I'm going to want to listen to their problems, their needs, their sorrows. And I'm going to listen knowing fully well that I listen to my King. This is the answer to that prayer request. I can mark it off my list now. 
Then the King will turn to those on the right, 'Come, you are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' Then the righteous will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth,when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'
                                                                                                         - Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)

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