29 September 2008

Sacred Moments II: The Choice

The moment my instructor climbed out of the airplane, I knew that I would never be the same. It was one of those moments where we can feel God's presence with us. The weight of the moment is nearly overwhelming, almost more than we can bear.

Even during those life-changing events we looked at earlier, we have choices.

John Eldredge says that we are all warriors, we all have a battle to fight. Whether or not we choose to fight this battle is up to us. We can choose to embrace our Sacred Moments and act on them, or we can ignore them.

I could have shut down the airplane, climbed out, and said, "I'm not ready. I don't want to do this today." I could have walked away from my sacred moment.

Likewise, the other sacred moments that we hear about are all preceded by a choice. Someone chose to go ahead with whatever they were doing. Or not doing.

Jacob could have dismissed his fight with the angel as too much paprika in his hummus the night before. Moses could have decided to not look at the burning bush. Brush fires probably were fairly common out in the desert, and the safest place to be in a brush fire would have been not right next to it. The disciples could have said, "You know, I'm flattered, but in twenty years or so, and I'm going to own a share in these fishing boats."

When the Israelites were getting set to enter the Promised Land, there came a time when they had to cross the Jordan River, and physically enter in to the promise that God had given them. They could have stayed in the desert. "We're fine," they could say, "we've been doing this for forty years now. We've got our system down. We're good at finding water, and we're really good at setting up camp and herding our goats."

When God told the Israelites to take the Promised Land, He promised that He would take care of them, that He would give them what He promised. But they had to do the work. The campaign to take the Promised Land was a military campaign. There were wars, battles, sieges, cities being taken and burned to the ground: it was carnage!

The Israelites could have stopped right there, they could have not embraced their Sacred Moment. Joshua was a strong, intelligent statesman for Israel, the spiritual and political successor to Moses. He probably wanted to build a bridge, or some other semi-permanent structure to carry Israel safely across the river. Maybe he even wanted to stay put, and not risk his army and his nation in battle and war. But God wanted Joshua to step into the Sacred Moment. God wanted Israel to proclaim His power, His strength to the rest of the world.

Because that, essentially, is the reason for a Sacred Moment: that the world may know.

Sure, it feels awesome to realize you are having a special moment with the Creator of the Universe, and it can change our lives in significant ways. But that's not the point. The point is that God is glorified.

And we can talk about it all we want, we can spout Bible verses and stories until we're blue in the face, but how can we really, truly express the greatness of God? At some point, our words will fail us, and God shows us angels holding us as we talk. God shows us the beauty of our hometown from the air. God shows us that we really need to be at church on this particular morning. We need our Sacred Moments, so a cynical, cold, uncaring world can see how great God truly is.

Erwin McManus said that more often than not, God invites us into His grand plan, and instead of joining Him in all that He has planned for us, we settle. We could do with so much less. We fail to step into our Sacred Moment, we fail to recognize that God is glorifying Himself through us, and we settle for "good enough".

We need to stop doing this. What we need to do is seek out our Sacred Moments, and we need to step into them fully and intentionally.

May God grant us the wisdom to see our Sacred Moments, and the courage to embrace them.


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