Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

Just a few days ago, I opened my mouth and found words flowing out that were indeed NOT useful for building one another up or encouraging another person (Ephesians 4:29).  Now I wasn't yelling, or even angry in any sense of the word.  I was offering unsolicited advice, and it did nothing to help the poor friend at the other end of my 'river' of words.  Almost immediately I regretted my loose lips.  My relationship with my friend had been shaken, and I tangibly felt the tension between us rise.  But this post (thankfully!!) is not about the marring effects of sin.  It is about the renewing effects of GRACE!

God is gracious and merciful.  But like many others, I am prone to completely forget the good works God does in my life to sustain and uplift me in His grace.  It is my hope that this post will help us all to not only see His good works, but to remember that He is indeed, faithful to save - even save us from ourselves.

"But blessed are your eyes because they see,
and your ears because they hear.
For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
Matthew 13:10-12

The children and I were recently reading about the prophet Samuel as a child, and how he mistook God's voice for his master Eli's voice.  After a few tries, Samuel finally recognized God's voice for who He was. We talked a bit more about whether either of them had heard God speak to them, and they were both rather shocked to hear that Mommy could hear the voice of God.  It was hard to explain to them what a still, small voice sounds like.  Or how He uses His very Word to speak volumes to me just when I need to hear it.  But, then days and series of days happen like they did below, and I am encouraged to remember.  To remember just how that still small voice spoke.  To remember just how blessed my ears are because they heard.

Even in the midst of the sin of loose lips and self-righteousness, I found God to be gracious and merciful...even to me.  Here's how it played out:

- I left my friend that day teary eyed, and regretting my words.  And what was the first song that God placed on my heart?  Jehovah Jirah.  You know, the one whose verse continues, "His GRACE is sufficient for me."  In fact, that verse is all I could remember at the time.  His Grace?  I just left my friend on uncertain terms.  My words were still so fresh in my memory I could smell the match I inadvertently lit under this bridge.  And God was already assuring me that His Grace would cover this?
- A few days later I was reading 2 Chron 20:20.  King Jehoshaphat was about to take on a triple-headed monster in the form of the Ammonites, the Moabites, and those from Mount Seir.  On the way out to the battlefield, he stopped and did what all good leaders have done in the past - uttered words rightly spoken.  Encouraging words.  Uplifting words.  Words as fit the occasion, that gave grace to those who heard. (Eph 4:29-30).  I could have taken these words as condemnation, and as a rightful discipline for my loose lips.  But instead I heard my God encouraging me.  "Just as your words are to build one another up, and give grace to those who hear you, so my Word will build you up and give grace to you, Tracey."
- At church that very same day, God continued to encourage me and fill me with His grace.  Hebrews 6:10 was quoted in the bulletin.  "For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do."  It was as if I heard God saying to me, "I know your heart, Tracey.  I know that you love your friend.  I won't overlook what you have done in love for her in the past.  This mistake won't wipe out a history of the love you have shown for My name."
- And finally that night at our fellowship group, we were talking about seeking forgiveness.  I told the group how I had to seek forgiveness from this friend just recently, and how I relied upon the very words I used to train my children when seeking forgiveness.  I intended to share our family's training method for seeking forgiveness in the home, but what a fellow brother in Christ heard was my heart.  He pointed out that I just experienced the very thing we can not always teach our children - having a heart that desperately seeks reconciliation.  Oh what an encouragement it was to hear that my heart cry for reconciliation was blatantly evident.  What an encouragement it was to hear how willing others are to forgive when they can see that your heart truly seeks forgiveness.  It was as if God was saying, "It's all right, now.  Your friend saw your heart.  She knows.  And my grace is sufficient for you...both."

Praise God for ears to hear and eyes to see!  Praise God that I didn't mistake the encouraging  and grace-filled voice of the Lord for the discouraging, condemnation-filled voice of the enemy.  Praise God!

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