Friday, November 28, 2008

Doing and Trusting God

I had a second epiphany this week (two in a month - Wow!) about what it means to live for Christ. If you'll recall in A Credible Witness, part of my conclusion was that it is not necessarily what we do, but how we live during what we do that makes us a credible witness for the power of God.

But in doing the things we do, I realized there is another level in which we can glorify God: by trusting Him with the result.

For all of my belief in altruism, the fact is that more often than not, I do things not such much just for reward of doing good as to (in some form or fashion) further my own agenda. Sometimes it is necessary, to be sure: to move things forward, it does not behoove us to make fools of people or their work and then ask them to support our program. None the less, I am hard pressed to think of times where I have truly done something purely out of love of God - or put another way, doing things without ulterior motives and leaving the results of God.

Like a flash, suddenly something I have never understood before came to mind: Brother Lawerence and The Practice of the Presence of God.

Brother Lawerence of the Resurrection was a 17th Century Carmelite monk outside of Paris; the collection of writing by and about him, called The Practice of the Presence of God (just enter the title on Amazon; there are a great many editions), discusses his philosophy and experience. He is often quoted as a mystic or an alternative to liturgical Christianity.

I had always struggled with some of his thought process, of doing things to God alone, or to quote Conversations 2 about him: "But having resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions, he found this decision most satisfactory. That he was gratified when he could pick up a straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him alone and nothing else, not even His gifts."

But now I think I get it, although maybe not in the way it was intended: to live a credible witness to the Gospel and the existence of the God of the Bible, to truly place our trust in God (and both the Old and New Testament is littered with references trusting in God in ALL circumstances) - to do all this is to live in such a manner and way of the love of Christ that everything we do is not for some ulterior motive (a difference here between a planned course of action and steps and personal gain) but to do it because Christ would have us do it, trusting to Him to recompense the action (if not now, in heaven).

The benefits? We are free to act without looking for reward; we entrust any outcome to the God who richly rewards beyond anything we can imagine; we give flesh to the agape love of God, that love that does the best for the other regardless of feeling; that we in some small way become Christlike.

How would our witness change if this was our modus operandi?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Consecration and Sanctification

"We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to God's service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is God's part. We must make a deliberate determiantion to be interested in only what God is interested. The way to make that determination, when faced with a perplexing problem, is to ask yourself 'Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or is it something in which the spirit that is diametrically opposed to Jesus is interested?" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, 27 November

I have never heard the definition between our role and God's role described more clearly, especially our role. Everyone is familiar with Philippians 2:12-13 "Therefore,my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works for you both to will and to do for His good pleasure". But I always stumble, as many have through the centuries, on that part about "work out your own salvation", as we are clearly saved by faith, not works.

But consecration - setting one's self apart for holiness, even as Paul commands Timothy in 2nd Timothy 2:20-21 "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from the the latter (TB: cleanse: throughly clean out, scrub out, completely purge) himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sactified and useful for the Master, equipped for every good work" I get - just like I set aside some things for better things - or as Paul used several times in the New Testament, the image of an athlete training to win, setting aside all those things that do not contribute to his training.

And the measuring rod? Again, one probably most of us can intellectually understand but put into practice less than we should: is this something that Christ would be interested in, or that Satan would be interested in?

What was Christ interested in? Obeying the Father's will perfectly. Glorifying God in everything. Saving the souls of men and women from the wrath that is to come.

If I apply that same standard, how do I measure up? How do you?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Dream

Someone appeared in my dreams last night - someone, as Gandalf says in The Two Towers, that that I did not expect to meet.

It was another one of those dreams which has essentially no basis in reality - my previous company was moving from one building to another, and for some reason or another, I had come to visit. Even the building they were moving from was not the current building.

At any rate, I was there amidst the bustle and chaos, looking to give something to someone - it didn't seem clear in the dream, and I don't know that it was important. Suddenly, amidst the half remembered or perceived faces, one came through: DT.

I have no idea why DT was so recognizable in a see of faces, only that she was. We exchanged some sort of minor pleasantries, and then off she went to co-ordinate part of the move. But I was curious - curious to the point that after the crowd disperse, I walked by her office and turned on the light to see what was in her office - again, the dream is too fuzzy to have specifics of what was there. It was only after I turned the light off and retreated lest I get noticed that I realized that the front of the office was visible from a hallway, and in fact anyone could have noticed me at any time.

There are two things that are of interest to me: The first is that one person would be so recognizable in a sea of fog and why that one person? The second is the end, and probably the more important part: the idea that something which I was trying to be secretive about was in fact readily noticeable to anyone looking.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


"The Elder, to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace will be with you from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in the truth, as we received commandment from the Father." - 2nd John 1-4

The above, from 2nd John, in brief covers that which he covered in 1 John, and indeed the words of Christ the beloved apostle recorded: The importance of living and believing the truth.

As Christians, we serve a God of truth, who is Himself Truth personified. Nothing of Him is false - not His words, not His actions. As He is truth, so he expects us to walk in truth - "as obedient children, not conforming to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written 'Be holy, for I am holy.'" (1st Peter 1: 14-16).

The catch is, I am mostly not a person of truth.

Why are we not people of truth? Not just speaking the truth (which is itself difficult enough), but embodying the truth of Christ and His gospel? The world often derides and ignores us, not because our message is not clear, but because we do not do the very things we say that our God commands others to - in a very real sense, we give lie to the "truth" that we claim not only to believe, but base our eternal hope on.

This creates a problem: we, living behind half lies and half truths, give lie to the claims we have about a God who has the only Truth - roughly equivalent to the salesperson who uses a competitors' product. We proclaim that which, by our lives, we apparently do not believe is enough to base our lives on.

What would it look like if we lived truly to the convictions we have in Christ? Would our lives change only a little bit - or, with me, would there be such a change in my life that people would say I'm a different person?

What if Christianity was known for the truth of its adherents - both in word (to the point where if a Christian gave their word, no other guarantee would be necessary) and in deed (that when people read the Bible and the commands of God, they would see no difference between the commanded lives in Scripture and our lives)?

Why are we not people of Truth?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Credible Witness

I had a thought this week as I drove to work - it was the Holy Spirit, as it was not any connection I had previously made, or ever could made.

Any who read this site on a regular basis know that I have struggled - often - with my career field in life, chosen more by accident than design. My one foray since choosing it - The Firm - only led me back to it. What I've grappled with, as I have continued in it, is the thought of using the talents and abilities God has given me to best glorify Him, which this industry does not seem to do for me.

The thought that came was simply this: I am to work at whatever I do, whatever position I'm in, in such a way that God is glorified; more specifically, such that my Christian witness is credible.

The thought that got me here was, oddly enough, the Internet at work: If my manager, after I had been noticed surfing, came to me with Colossians 3:23 ("And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men") after I had proclaimed my faith in Christ and said "If you believe, why aren't you doing this?", I would be stuck, and my testimony to Christ fruitless.

In a way, it's a relief: it doesn't matter what I do, only that I do it as well as I can. Do I have talents and abilities? Yes. Should I seek to develop them in such a way as to best glorify God? Absolutely. But the primary core is that I demonstrate Christ as being credible by how I live and exist, not just in the relatively rare occurrence's when those gifts are used.

Think about it: This Monday, when we go to work, we make Christ credible or not credible by how we act and what we do - What could be a higher calling?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Liar, Liar

I realized yesterday that I am suffering from a cognitive form of self-illusion e.g., I've been lying to myself. The truth is, my (and our) life for the last 4 years (this October, but really for 4.5 years) has been built on a carefully constructed financial lie, that we could afford the lifestyle we have.

The short story is that when we purchased the house we currently live in, we got a no-document loan (a loan in which you state an income without any evidence of having it). It was not a big deal, because after all, I was now working for The Firm, and success was just around the corner!

The reality is, I never made as much as I said I would on that loan document (in point of fact, my income dropped below what I made in my previous industry by doing real estate). Even now, three years after quitting The Firm, I am still not there.

I mention this because it came to my attention last night another lie I have been pawning off on myself: that of my career.

As I had mentioned (last month, I believe) - I had the possibility to do something I have dreamed of for a long time. Unfortunately, it required an investment that I did not have at the time. I have been hoping against hope that something would come through -but, related to the first item above, the reality is that a financially self deluded lifestyle does not allow for things like this. Nor, I think, is God willing to reward disobedience.

What I realized, as I sat down to write the letter asking for a later reconsideration, is that I knew that this is what I should do - just like I knew, at one time, that I should be in the pastorate.

That story, an entirely separate one, caused me to review my letter of rejection from the Synod last week. In it, as I looked through it from the vantage point of 9 years later, gives me a different view than I had thought -that really, in their view, there was very little belief that I should ever enter the ministry full time.

The same thing came up two years ago, when after being in a study program for church eldership, I was essentially told "Not at this time". My first reaction, as my reaction 9 years ago, was anger - Here I was, someone who I thought was qualified (and who knew better than me!), being denied the opportunity to use my talents and my gifts!

Note the pronouns: I, my. Surprised I didn't append "for my glory" there.

The reality is, for any formal church ministry or for the opportunity I am putting on hold, where did I get the idea that it was my calling, my destiny to do these things? How did I come to understand this?

The reality is that God has provided me with a very financially rewarding and occasionally intellectually challenging career field. But, since it is not my primary field of interest (or even secondary, for that matter), I get "bored" with it and try and find anything to do but it. This can range from not mentally being "there" during work to that scourge of this present age, Surfing the 'Net.

What would happen if I simply did what I had been provided with - as Paul says in Colossians 3:23, "What you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" or as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 9:10 "What ever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." What restrains me?

Simply put, it's pride - the sense that I know better than God what my talents and gifts are and what I should be doing with them, instead of using them in the time and place of God's choosing. Do I truly treat Him as Lord, submitting in all things and waiting on His timing while I do what He has given me to do, or do I seek to use what He has given me to magnify myself and my life, and if I glorify Him, that's good too?

I believe it was attributed to GK Chesterson "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has never been tried." What would happen if I truly submitted to Christ, died to self, and was truly content with where he placed me? Probably not what I would wish to happen, true - but perhaps something different and better?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Yesterday's post stuck in my mind all night. Where is my confidence? Where is my firm trust and belief? How much do I truly believe in God?

As understand it, the idea of faith as discussed in the New Testament is that of putting your entire weight on something - if it doesn't hold up, down you fall. In a bit of irony (to me, anyway), it is readily apparent to believe, to have faith in, to have my only hope in, Christ as the Son of God and my only salvation not only because of the truth of Scripture and God's existence, but because if you look at the sin and how it is paid in the Old Testament and the justice of God, there is no other way.

The irony is the things that are not the belief in salvation - if you will, the practical matters of life. Paul says in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work"- but how often do I try to do anything but what Scripture says in my day to day existence. For example, in Colossians 3:23-24 it says "Whatever your task, work at it heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance: it is the Lord Christ you are serving." - but how often at work do I slack back because it feels as if my work is not recognized or rewarded?

I can extend this to many parts of my life: leading my family, finances, prayer, witnessing through my words and life, even doing what Scripture calls me to to become more Christlike. Am I really so proud and so hardened that I feel that God is unable - or unwilling - to honor His word because, in a prideful humility, I feel I am "too small" to matter in those ways to Him? It's God honoring His Word and glorifying Himself through it - I'm just the vehicle which it occurs through. Am I willing to have faith in His word and accept my role and His grace with humility and trust?

Obeying God and Believing Promises

"By the discipline of obedience I get to the place where Abraham was and I see Who God is. I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then I know that "in all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee." The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God. We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us, then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. "All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen." The "yea" must be born of obedience; when by the obedience of our lives we say "Amen" to a promise, then that promise is ours. " - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, 17 November

The line that catches me above is bolded. Can it really be that simple? Surely, every student of the Bible has had that moment where all of a sudden something jumps out at you, makes sense in a way that it never has before - but I don't know that I've ever made a connection between my obedience and making the connection with God's spirit.

But why should that surprise me? God predicates rewards based on obedience - from salvation (being obedient and believing that His Son is the only means of salvation) to wisdom and knowledge ("The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" - Proverbs 1:7). God's riches, both physical and spiritual, can only flow when we are obedient to His will.

If that is the case, why don't I seek to be obedient more? You'd think if this was really understood that obeying God according to His word (not what we think His word says) resulted in His nature opening up to us (Imagine - in some way knowing the nature of God!), then we as individuals and a church would be bursting down the doors to hear His Word preached, and neglecting all things worldly and crass to spend more time in His Word.

But for me, isn't that rooted in the less than total belief that keeps His promises? I think I've told the story here of putting in 20 hour days to get a facility online, only to be rewarded with praises and little else. Sadly, in so many ways I've come to expect that people won't keep their promises. Maybe I think God won't either - but is that really because God isn't faithful, or because I don't really take him at His word and seek true, heartfelt obedience?

What would my life look like if I did?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


"I stayed because every time you threw a brick at my head or said I smelled, it hurt, but it could never hurt more than it did every day of my life just being me." - Po, Kung Fu Panda

I had an epiphany today - an actual, legitimate event which radically altered how I looked at things. It was initiated by work, continued by Fry's, and completed by Kung Fu Panda.

At work, I have been overwhelmed - almost to tears at times - at the feeling of futility in my job. I do things, but they don't really seem to make in impact, or even be recognized. My nadir was on Thursday, when after modifying a document to be consistent with the format, I was asked to revise the font from 12 point Times New Roman to 10 point Helvetica. I screamed in the car at the triviality of my life on the way home.

1) What I do does not seem to motivate me to do more.

On Friday, I took a break at lunch and went to Fry's, the computer store. Every now and again, I am overcome by the need to look at computer games - although I consciously know they're a waste of time and not productive (and Heaven's sake, often not Christ honoring) I just get the urge to at least go look. I didn't find anything, but what I did wonder and ponder was why I could spend hours of time playing these games - or for that matter, doing well in college - and then it hit me: there was a clearly defined goal or endpoint. Adventures brought you experience and greater abilities; homework and study brought good grades. If I put in the time, that's what I got. A great counterpoint to revising font size and realizing there is only more of the same next week.

2) I can keep to the task if there is a known endpoint with recognized rewards.

If you've not seen Kung Fu Panda, you should -although it is billed as a children's movie, it is rife with adult thoughts and themes. At one point after the quote above by the main character Po, the teaching master Shifu realizes that he cannot train Po as he trained his other students. They were motivated by typically martial art motives; Po is motivated by food. It is only when he uses food that Po trains and masters Karate to get the food -and then realizes it was not the food he was after.

3) Different things motivate different people.

And then, the whole thing hit me like a safe on the head: I am not happy in my current career, and not feeling like I am making progress in so much of my life, because I am not setting the right motivators.

I like to clean. I like to have the dishes done. Why? Because I like to see results - pretty fast results - at the end of my work.

Honest to goodness, I like attention. I like being recognized. I like, if you will, a degree of performing and being noticed. I like to know if I put in the effort, it will make a difference, a discernible one. I like to be rewarded with physical things - as Moliere said, "There's no praise to beat the sort you can put in your pocket."

Yet when I look at my life, I find that all of the above is scarcely present. Certainly in my job function, I will probably never be recognized in this way, because my line of work never is. It's hard to be incentivised to work and succeed when it seems like all your money disappears as soon as you make it - what's the point of making more, when it will just be gone as well? And what's the point of working on things that are years out, when it seems like the things never get beyond year one?

What does this mean? Certainly nothing for my job at the moment, although maybe I do need to rethink my career field. I need to try this out, at least in my private goal life, and see if it is really true. If it works there, then it will work out anywhere in my life.

I hope so. I can't do font sizes forever.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moldy Beeswax

Last weekend my father gave me a bucket of beeswax he'd culled from various frames and hives - probably about 5 lbs of material. I rendered some at my parent's house but ran out time, so packed it up in a plastic bag to bring home. It had been raining that day, so it was a little wet, but I thought "No big deal" and home it went.

This past Sunday, I went to get it, thinking "I have time now" - and lo, the entire pile was covered in mold. A week of wet, residual honey and bee parts, and dark, had combined to destroy any potential of getting anything out of it - after my father had labored to save it, to add insult to injury.

I felt miserable about it of course - but then I found myself making excuses. Why didn't I do it the Sunday when I got home? It only took a couple of hours - instead, I found reasons not to do it, to let it lie - and let it rot.

In my own life, this is true not only of beeswax, but of many things - things I do, opportunities I'm given. I am not a "Do it now" person. My excuse has always been if I act too soon, I end up making the wrong choice and having to redo it. True enough in limited circumstances, but not for the majority of life. More often, I think, or at least as often, opportunities need to be taken when offered they go bad.

But I found something worse than missing an opportunity: It's having an opportunity, or a resource, or a thing, saved up thinking "I"ll get to this later" only to find, when you have time or when you need it, that the opportunity to has gone bad.

Obedience is always rewarded; disobedience is not. How many times has God presented me with an opportunity and I have put it aside "for later"? God graciously gives us opportunities to participate in the rewards He has planned for us in heaven - but how often do we turn it aside because I'm too busy, I'm too lazy, etc.? Spiritual opportunities are the most transient of all: once they're gone, they seldom return.

Just for fun, take every opportunity you are given today. Do every one, even it you reach point where you realize you don't have to do it or it is not relevant. See what God will do.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


"The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the instruction of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, 'Thus says the the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: 'You said, 'Woe is me now! For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.' '

'Thus you shall say to him, 'Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,' says the LORD. 'But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.' ' " - Jeremiah 45

This chapter has always fascinated me - partially because of who it is spoken to, and partially because of what God says.

Servants of the prophets were hardly ever addressed in Scripture: the two I can think of in this light are Gehazi, the servant of Elisha (who had a poor ending -2 Kings 5) and Baruch. One can imagine that it would be a heady thing to be servant to a prophet of the Lord, yet at the same time hard - the Lord had words for others, does He have nothing for me?

Did Baruch expect God to answer Him? I'm guessing not - at least, it sounds like the kind of thing that I would say to myself! - that sort of whiny, grumbling, "Woe is me, doesn't anybody care?"

But then the unexpected happens to Baruch - God, through the prophet Jeremiah, directly responds to him. It is always an awesome thing, and often a frightening thing, when God responds directly to us - it suddenly reveals and reminds us that in reality, we are always in the presence of God, that He truly does hear and see all, and that nothing we do is hidden from Him.

And what does God address? Baruch's concern for himself. We don't know what he was thinking. From the date of the prophecy (605 B.C.) and the cross reference in Chapter 36, this may have been around the time when Baruch had read the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and King Jehoiakim, as the prophecy was read to him, cut off bits of the scroll and threw them into the fire, thus insuring the wrath of God upon Him and His house. It may also have been around the time of the first Deportation of the Jews to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24) (including Daniel and his friends - historical note). All of a sudden, gripped by the reality of the current and coming judgement, Baruch bewails his lot: "Woe is me!"

I have had this moment - maybe you have too, where all of a sudden the circumstances change and all your plans and dreams shift radically. Or maybe you wake up one morning, and suddenly realize that your opinion of your own gifts and talents and place in God's economy are wrong. You've been "wasted" or "exiled" to something of seemingly no importance.

How does God respond to Baruch - to us? With grace. He reminds Baruch of what is important. Is he seeking great things for himself? Why? - when the milieu he would seek them in was to be destroyed within 20 years - almost as if to say, don't build your empires on the sand. His great dreams were to come to naught.

But then God comforts him as well. Even though he is going to destroy the world as Baruch knew it, with the destruction of the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem and the end of the temple system - approximately 800 years of Jewish presence in the Promised Land -God promises Baruch that he will continue live "wherever you go", whether into death, captivity, or exile. It is enough, given the circumstances, to be content to live, knowing that God continues to watch over and protect him, and will continue to hear him, even as he did when Baruch mourned.

John MacArthur says "Baruch had his expectations far too high, and that made the disasters harder to bear." Be assured of God's care, and be careful that we set our hopes, goals, and expectations according to God's plans, not our own.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Breaking Hearts

"The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says - "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart. " - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 1st

When I graduated from College (slightly before the earth cooled), I attended a six week study session in Budapest, Hungary. It was quite an experience, as Hungary had just emerged from the Iron Curtain. Included in the party was a young woman to whom I (ever the romantic at time) feel for. We dated, I visited her home (her parents lived in Munich), and then flew back determined to have one of those long distance relationships that worked (she was in Chicago, I was in Chicago).

During the ensuing 2 months, things took their usual course that being apart and young does - until that one splendid day when she called, asking me to come out for some large gala ball. Of course, I accepted, excited. The Romantic was thrilled beyond belief.

Until I got there. Then, I discovered that much like high school dances, sometimes you go because you asked someone and it is too late to call it off, not because you want to go with them. Thankfully, I got to spend the whole weekend in this wretched state, including a wonderful afternoon walking in the cold biting wind by Lake Michigan, simply because I didn't have anywhere to go.

I panicked -calling, writing, calling - until the day (I remember it clearly) when I got here phone answering service which included, as part of the greeting, a comment for me basically telling me "Bug the heck off!"

I was crushed - so much so, that I actually buried the experience and iced it over, like a hockey pond over a meadow, and never analyzed it fully. Part of me died that day. Certainly, the Romantic was crushed, only to ever rise as a shadow of his former self.

This smacked me across the face this morning as I caught up on my meditations. "Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks?" asks Chambers. He proposes that through these heartbreaks, "God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son". But in reading this, I realized that we have a choice when these heartbreaks come.

On the one hand, we can choose to bury the pain and react from the flesh, trying to cover over the hurt or make it better - often to the detriment of ourselves. Without a doubt, most of the bad decisions I made in that 2 year period until I met the Ravishing Mrs. TB were attempts to find that Romantic. But the Romantic was largely gone, any actions on his behalf a sort of walking wake.

On the other hand, we can do as Chambers suggests: realize that God is breaking our heart so that we can enter fellowship with Him. He reveals all that is not Him to us so that we can seek the Giver, not the Gift. There was nothing wrong inherently with the Romantic, except his goal: he sought earthly love, while God wanted those feelings of beauty and passion to be exercised first with Him, then with those around the Romantic in service to Him.

God wants us to be about His purposes in the world, not our own agendas. We accept that for goals, but how often do we apply it our entire person? Is my whole person - heart, mind and soul -about how I can conform to His will and Word?