Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wanderer One

What a find!  The Lord has guided me to scripture today that I need to hear.  Today I was feeling a little discouraged.  Sometimes after I teach the youth girls, Satan plants the barb of doubt in my head.  I feel that high school girls are one of the most important and costly demographics in the church.  They will someday be the women, wives and mothers of the church.  It is a high calling that they are entering into, largely unknowingly, and it is one that often takes a long and winding road.  I do not envy this generation.  They have so much information to process and their life experience cannot possibly match the level of maturity that it requires.  In other words, they know more than they should, and they experience more than they should have to.  I just love them and I look forward to what God wants to show them.  Saying that, I still feel completely unprepared for the task.  As we know, that is probably why I am still here.

I know that today I am to thank the Lord for His steadfast love because He loves these girls more than I can.  The Lord is doing what He does best, loving His people.  I am so excited about this scripture.  Psalm 107:1-3, says, “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.”  Hallelujah, the Lord is gathering.  His love endures forever.  He loves those who are lost.  He loved me and he loves me now when I wander or fail.  His steadfast love endures. 

I am the redeemed.  I am the bride of Christ and I am told that I should say so.  His steadfast love has sustained me through a life of trouble, many times of my own making, and he has gathered me more than once.  He has had to go to may lands to find this one sheep (me) who has wandered away from Him.  Praise God that He has never left me alone.  He has never been afraid of the places that I have run to, the dark nights of despair.  His love is steadfast.  I know that He will search the earth to find not only these girls, but all of the people whom I love who do not really know the Father and this amazing love for the troubled.

And that is just the introduction…this is such a meaty chapter.  It gives us four kinds of troubled people.  Think of who you know.  This is like an instruction manual for the love language of the lost.  I will give a little preview of what I found:

Type 1: Wander in the desert

Type 2: Sit in the darkness

Type 3: Are sick from their own ways

Type 4: Went down to the sea

This is fascinating because I am one of these, you are one of these, and I guarantee that you know one of these.  Let’s look at the first one.  Psalm 107: 4-9, “Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.” 

These people wander in the desert.  They willingly wander through nothingness.  This desert cannot sustain you.  Some translations say the wilderness.  Those who wander here cannot find their way to real relationship, real community.  They could be those in and out of relationships, constantly finding people who will meet their needs and then discard them.  They are the ones that believe that life is their buffet.  They pick a little of what they want out of everything and everyone, but never stick to anything.  They visit every singles group in every church in town and finally give up, declaring that they didn’t like the way that the pastor talked about sin.  They are never filled.  They cannot find their way to a town that is inhabited, only to those sad abandoned old towns that you see when you drive across country.  They used to be something but now they are just a collection of old memories falling down, with no one to testify for them.  They are empty. 

We talked about the woman at the well last night.  The girls and I determined that this woman was probably pretty savvy; she knew what Jesus was saying to her.  John 4: 13-15, tells us, “Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”  Jesus knows where we are thirsty.  He knows the things in our life that have made us hungry.  He looked at her and saw the secrets that made her soul faint as her life had been passed from man to man.  She was wandering in the desert, the wilderness, and she could not find an inhabited town that would give her safety and relationship, so she just kept wandering.

She did it, though.  She said to the Messiah, “I want that.  I am in trouble.  I am hungry and thirsty and I cannot find a home.  I want that water, the living water, so that I will never feel this way again.  I will never feel broken and empty.  I will never feel alone with no where to go.”  Immediately, he delivered her from her distress.  He told her that even though no one else really knew her, he did.  He knew about the other men and He knew the extreme loneliness that each man had only increased.  Despite all of this emptiness, Jesus came through Samaria to gather her up in her distress and take her into an inhabited town.  He gave her a path to follow and living water to quench her thirst.

So, I will thank the Lord for His steadfast love, because He bothered to come and gather me in my times of trouble.  He will do the same for those whom I love.  He satisfies my thirst and hunger.  What good things He fills me with!  Today He gives me steadfast love and a thankful heart.  I did not start there, but His word has drawn me to Him once again.  Praise Him. 

Father, thank you for your steadfast love.  Thank you for gathering us from every direction when we wander away and our hearts are thirsty and hungry.  Remind us that we can never be filled by anything but you and give us the hearts and minds to accept your good things for us.

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