The Father’s Passion

I have been touched recently by the story of the Israelites’ exodus as written in Psalms 78.

Fathers Love

Fathers Love (Photo credit: lachicaphoto)

The story is written in a poetic form and quite different from the account in the book of Exodus.

As I read this chapter I heard in this retelling of the story the heart cry of a Father for his children. What a tragic story.:a Father who takes his kids for some time out. He wants to share his story with them, connect with them and love them – but instead they constantly bicker and blame him for everything.  You can see through the verses the way the Father cares, provides and nurtures his children. His desire was that they would trust Him. He didn’t want lip service (verse 36) He wanted a heart connection with them.

Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Psalm 78:40 (NLT)

This verse is so full of grief as a result of their rejection of Him that I could feel his tears falling. Their rebellion, indifference and lack of trust saddened his heart. He desired a heart change but “again and again” they test their patience.

  • They did not remember his goodness :42 & 43 

Do we remember and count all the good things he does?

  •  They rebelled :40

Are our hearts soft and responsive? -not cynical or angry.

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  • They turned their backs V9

Do we refuse to accept all that God is trying to teach us?

  • They fled on the day of battle v9

Do we back down out of doing the things we are called to out of fear and self preservation?

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  • They did not keep covenant  v10

Do we obey him and take seriously the fact that he is Lord/boss in our life?

  •  They tested him with demands v18

Do we place blame on God when things don’t go well and expect Him to cause everything to turn out right?

  •  They spoke against God 19&20

Do we criticize the way God is moving, changing things or the way he chooses to use different people?

Today: Read the list slowly of ways the Israelites tested God’s patience and ask yourself is there any changes you need to make. This isn’t to make God love you – he couldn’t love you any more than he does already – it is so that you can learn to stay responsive to the Father’s heart.

Allowing yourself time to Grieve

Part of the healing process of our hearts includes paying attention to our loss.

Innocence Blooming

Innocence Blooming (Photo credit: bob in swamp)

The nation of Israel had lost many things in Egypt. Their freedom, dreams, dignity, babies and loved ones, among other things, during their time in Egypt. They needed a time away from work and tasks to pay attention to their grieving pain. For us this loss can be church moves , job, divorce, lost dreams, loss of a leader, loss of innocence, loss of a loved one, etc.

I spent some time thinking about the losses that I have experienced in my life I listed them in my travel log and was shocked as I reached 25 major losses in my life fairly quickly. Things that I had brushed over and not given myself time to deal with.  There are two times particularly that highlight for me how slow I am to grieve and how it has caused damage suppressing emotional trauma within me.

When I was 18 one of my best friends, in our gang of 6 during college, was killed whilst driving a car past the end of our road. I didn’t cry over the loss for 7 months. I remember the day God tackled me to the ground in order for me to give him my pain. It was a vivid memory for me – the day I cried!  One other time I didn’t know how to take my grief to God was after a late miscarriage. I was surprised at how much the loss affected me and didn’t know how to morn someone I had never seen. There are other times in my life when I have lost dreams, friendships, homes and other things that were dear to me.  I had for a long time denied and excused the affect of emotional trauma on my life. Now it is time to face and deal with the hurt.

Peter Scazzero in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality  lists ways in which we deny loss or excuse it:

Denial –  We refuse to acknowledge a painful aspect  : “I feel fine. It didn’t bother me a bit that my boss belittled me and fired me. I wasn’t bothered”

Minimizing – We admit something Is wrong but in such a way that it appears less serious than it is : “My son is doing ok with God. He’s just  drinking once in a while”. When in fact he is drinking heavily and rarely sleeping at home

Blaming Others – We deny responsibility for our behaviour and project it “out there” blaming it another:” The reason my brother is sick in hospital is because the doctors messed up his medications!”

Blaming Yourself – we inwardly take on the fault: “It’s my fault my mum doesn’t take care of me and drinks all the time. It’s because I’m not worth it”

Rationalising – We offer excuses and justifications to explain what is going on: “Do you know that John has a genetic disposition toward rage that runs in his family? That is why the meetings aren’t helping him”

Intellectualising – We give analysis, theories and generalities to avoid personal awareness and difficult feelings: “My situation is not that bad compared to others in the world. What have I got to cry about?”

Distraction – We change the subject or engage humour to avoid threatening topics: “Why are you so focused on the negative? Look at the great time we had last Christmas.”

Becoming Hostile– We get angry or hostile when reference is made to certain subjects: “Don’t talk about Joe. He’s dead. It’s not going to bring him back.”

 Today: Use your journal and list the losses through your life. This loss can be church moves , job loss, divorce, lost dreams, loss of a leader, loss of innocence, loss of a loved one, loss of friendship  etc. It is time to let yourself grieve for these.