In the Gospel of Matthew, there are two instances where a cloud appears over Jesus and God shouts two brief, identical messages. I have often wondered what God would shout at me in a similar situation.
Honestly, I tend to think God would shout negative things at me. I imagine God telling me to stop doing something or to do more of something. In either case, the message would focus on the ways I’m falling short and have been inadequate.
I have struggled to imagine a loving and merciful God. It’s much easier to imagine a God who is either disappointed or really, really angry.
Bringing up this disappointed/angry image of God with people tends to strike a nerve. What would God shout at you?
Read the rest of this article at https://edcyzewski.com/2017/06/20/what-would-god-shout-to-you-from-a-cloud/
It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we see the activity and mistake panic for inspiration. That is why we see so few fellow workers with God, yet so many people working for God. We would much rather work for God than believe in Him. Do I really believe that God will do in me what I cannot do? The degree of hopelessness I have for others comes from never realizing that God has done anything for me. Is my own personal experience such a wonderful realization of God’s power and might that I can never have a sense of hopelessness for anyone else I see? Has any spiritual work been accomplished in me at all? The degree of panic activity in my life is equal to the degree of my lack of personal spiritual experience.
Put God’s Needs First.
Lo, I come to do Thy will, 0 God. Hebrews 10:9
A man’s obedience is to what he sees to be a need; Our Lord’s obedience was to the will of His Father. The cry to-day is — “We must get some work to do; the heathen are dying without God; we must go and tell them of Him.” We have to see first of all that God’s needs in us personally are being met. “Tarry ye until….” The purpose of this College is to get us rightly related to the needs of God. When God’s needs in us have been met, then He will open the way for us to realize His needs elsewhere.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. — Revelation 1:17
The Delight Of Despair
It may be that like the apostle John you know Jesus Christ intimately, when suddenly He appears with no familiar characteristic at all, and the only thing you can do is to fall at His feet as dead. There are times when God cannot reveal Himself in any other way than in His majesty, and it is the awfulness of the vision which brings you to the delight of despair; if you are ever to be raised up, it must be by the hand of God.
“He laid His right hand upon me.” In the midst of the awfulness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. The right hand not of restraint nor of correction nor of chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it is ineffable peace and comfort, the sense that “underneath are the everlasting arms,” full of sustaining and comfort and strength. When once His touch comes, nothing at all can cast you into fear again. In the midst of all His ascended glory the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, and to say — “Fear not.” His tenderness is ineffably sweet. Do I know Him like that?
Watch some of the things that strike despair. There is despair in which there is no delight, no horizon, no hope of anything brighter; but the delight of despair comes when I know that “in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” I delight to know that there is that in me which must fall prostrate before God when He manifests Himself, and if I am ever to be raised up it must be by the hand of God. God can do nothing for me until I get to the limit of the possible.
Grant my prayer, Lord, and do not allow my soul to wilt under the discipline which you prescribe. Let me not tire of thanking you for your mercy and rescuing me from all my wicked ways so that you may be sweeter to me than all the joys which used to tempt me; so that I may love you most intensely and clasp your hands with all the power of my devotion; so that you may save me from all temptation until the end of my days.
You, Lord, are my King and my God, and in your service I want to use whatever good I learned as a boy. I can speak and write, read and count, and I want these things to be used to serve you, because when I studied other subjects you check me and forgave me the sins I committed by taking pleasure in such worthless things. It is true that these studies taught me many useful words, but the same words can be learnt by studying something that matters, and this is the safe course for a boy to follow.
Imagine sitting down to write and your mind is completely at rest. Your thoughts are focused, your body is prepared but relaxed, and you have a reassuring confidence that the project you’re about to begin aligns with God’s calling on your life and the unique gifts and talents you’ve been given. Imagine what a rested, peaceful, focused mind is like as you begin writing.
Such a scenario was a far cry from my experience as a writer over the years. Only until I started to pay attention to my body and my mind did I even begin to make some positive changes in order to inch myself closer to that ideal of writing from a place of peace, rest, and prayerful focus. It’s my conviction that prayer and writing both come from a similar practice: attentiveness. If we have spent our days, weeks, months, and years attentive to the wrong things, then meaningful prayer and writing will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
-Cyzewski, Ed. The Contemplative Writer. Ed Cyzewski, 2016. Kindle Edition.
…Secondly, you may say that you have neither the power nor the means to lead souls to God; though you would willingly do so, you do not know how, as you can neither teach nor preach as did the Apostles. I have often written an answer to this objection though I cannot tell whether I have done so in connection with the Castle. However, as the difficulty probably often crosses your minds on account of the desires our Lord gives you of serving Him, I will now speak of it again. I told you elsewhere how the devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so that instead of putting our hands to what work we can do to serve our Lord, we may rest satisfied with wishing to perform impossibilities.
You can do much by prayer; and then, do not try to help the whole world, but principally your companions; this work will be all the better because you are the more bound to it. Do you think it is a trifling matter that your humility and mortification, your readiness to serve your sisters, your fervent charity towards them, and your love of God, should be as a fire to enkindle their zeal, and that you should constantly incite them to practise the other virtues? This would be a great work and one most pleasing to our Lord: by thus doing all that is in your power, you would prove to His Majesty your willingness to do still more and He would reward you as if you had won Him many souls. Do you answer: ’This would not be converting my sisters, for they are very good already?’ What business is that of yours? If they were still better, the praise they render God would please Him more and their prayers would be more helpful to their neighbours.
-St. Teresa of Avila. The InteriorCastle. Third Edition. London: Thomas Baker, 1921. Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
A water-bearer in India had two large pots, both hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot always arrived half full.
The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream:
‘I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.’
The bearer said to the pot, ‘Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’
Thankfully, God uses cracked pots! You do not need to be perfect for God to use you. We want our lives to count for something. If you want to be useful to God, here are twelve keys: