Light for one step, Manna for one day

Friends,

Psalm 119, 105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”. It seems to be where so many of us are:  clarity needed about why things happen, understanding for the future, counsel regarding situations that come up in our lives. Often with the Lord's lamp we are meant to only see ahead one step; rarely does God allow the light much beyond that.

It is hard place, but a good place. For is it not this mystery, this gap in understanding or direction or justice or fairness which is created for us to long for HIM ... His face and not just His hand? Think of it as a holy chasm created BY God for us NOT to long for wisdom, direction, clarity or understanding FIRST, but to long for HIM as a son, a daughter, a child of our Father. It is in this regard that Matthew 6:32-34 says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Light perhaps to avoid one tree, to illuminate one step, to avoid one pit; that is what God often provides.

Why is it that we must often suffer extreme loss, or hurt, or hardship for us to reach to God? Often that holy chasm creates the knowledge gap WE need, not that we WANT. It is the human condition that we forget Him in times of plenty, and often shake our fists in times of need...very few get to the point of brokenness where we lie before the King’s throne and reach up to Him as His children. This is the posture of contrition that God wants.

In contrast, some have cut themselves off to mystery...usually they’ve had hurtful events in their life they haven’t grieved or addressed, so they respond by tightening everything up into a little box: little theologies, little pat answers, little quibs and idioms that can be distributed like tacit doctors distribute aspirin. Such tightness ignores so MUCH of Scripture, so much of God. It hurts people, it misrepresents the Lord, and life, and reason. Think about so many in the Bible, in history, who we regard highly. Were not many events and situations of their lives shrouded in mystery?

We as The River, live in and embrace this mystery: Sometimes we walk confidently into the future with clarity, sometimes we tiptoe and sometimes we wait.  At this point I believe God has given us Manna (literally ‘what is it’ in Hebrew) in our journey. Like the light that illuminates the path one step, the manna is only to last one day and not two ... temporal provision to be a Holy Chasm.

Very practically, what that means is that we MOVE on what we know and wait on what we don't. And God has shown us faithfully only where to go a few steps ahead. As a Leadership Team (Charly Tull, Gray Roberson, Jim Sallie, David Maranz and myself) we retreated a few weeks ago and emerged with the sense that the Lord had given us JUST enough for now: start LIFE groups (a very different kind of group life model than I’ve seen in 15 years of ministry), gather the Body to learn, share and focus (the Wed evening eight week series starting Sept 16), utilize a team to pray in services after the sermon and during communion, and to keep being faithful in the day-to-day. Very simple, like Manna.

I believe with all my heart that God has set us apart as The River for some very good and important things in the NRV. I say this not in the “I’m going to exaggerate the importance of our existence" way, but because I see God having drawn together some very incredible people to do a very incredible work of the Kingdom for a very critical time. We are ALL privileged to be invited and I’m thankful to be a part of you all.

Tell Fearlessly, Invest Intentionally, Live Sacrificially, Love radically

Yours in Christ,

JT