fellowship: suffering and grace, grace, grace

I hid last week.
My friend in ministry let me hide…
I don’t know why she let me hide…
I’m glad she did.

I learned something… experienced something… with, in, and of God that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Being the self-centered individual that I am, I struggle with the suffering. I’m quick to see my suffering and whine about it… accept it but NOT with joy.

This time, I hid… I deceived myself into thinking it was someone else’s call this time… joyfully I hid. Released from the struggle of self-killing obedience. Actually content… for a moment…

Then the silence.
The question: What would God say to you in this moment?
The Voice: You have neglected your call. You are forgiven.

Nothing more. No condemnation. No accusations.
A simple statement of fact and forgiveness.
Peace. Eye-opening peace.

Much of my suffering comes from a distorted image of God… I tend to see Him as judge. He calls me, I struggle with obedience (will I do it right, what will others think, I’m inadequate), and then my subconscious sees Him sitting and judging …

My encounter with the real God — the One who spoke — proved all this wrong, especially when coupled with a teaching I received the same week:

 God does NOT use people like a tool…
He fellowships with people in ministry.
He comes alongside, in, and with you in the call… it’s an invitation not an assignment.

Obedience does not lead to judgment… it leads to fellowship!
A working together — a deepening of relationship.

I didn’t hide from a call, I hid from God… like Adam and Eve in the Garden… God calling: Where are you?

God wasn’t the one judging… I was… reflecting my own broken perfectionist psyche onto Him.

Today’s lesson: obedience is communion with God.

Eating the Bread, drinking the Wine… Yes, there is suffering for the flesh, the broken body must die to self… but the wine — the blood — the grace poured over, in, and through the brokenness, the feeble efforts to let Christ flow through… fellowship!

I’m in Him and He in me…

I hope this is a turning point for me. A marker raised and set in my spirit… an Ebenezer: the stone of help.

Lord, thank You for Your grace, Your lessons, Your gentleness.
Thank You for the invitation to work with You.
Thank You for growth, healing, and new understanding.
Thank You for fellowship…

God, who has called you into fellowship
with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1Corinthians 1:9

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