Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Here I am- When God shows up

I often pray this prayer over the many staff that work in hard places across South Asia: May the Lord guide them continually, giving them water when they are dry and restoring their strength.  May they be like a well watered garden and like an ever-flowing spring.  Its taken from a verse in Isaiah 58:11.

In that same passage a few verses before there is an amazing statement made by God.  It says "when you call, the LORD will answer, 'Here I am.'"  In Nepalese the word would be translated I believe hazur.  It is a respectful term that means more than just yes.  It means, yes, I am here and I am ready to receive your instructions.  This word in Hebrew is Hineni. It is the word that is used by Abraham, Moses, Samuel and Isaiah when they responded to God calling them by name.  "Abraham!" God calls.  "Here I am" he replies (Genesis 22). 

So what is so significant here about God saying hazur, or Here I am, in Isaiah 58?  The God of the universe, the Creator of all things, says to us, his followers "Here I am."  The same response that was given by Isaiah to God's call, He now gives to us. Incredible! His Presence, His readiness to respond, His availability is ours to access.  Wow!  I don't know if that excites you, but I find it stunning and a bit incomprehensible actually.  Not only is He saying He is with us, that he is present, but He is saying "I am here, ready to do what you tell me you want done."

How is this kind of "God Presence" available?  When is it possible?

The verses prior tell us clearly.  God is ready to act, ready to move, fully present and available, when he sees us doing the following:
-freeing those who are wrongly imprisoned (hear that lawyers?)
-setting the oppressed free (deliverance)
-lightening the burdens of those who work for us (fair and good employers)
-sharing our food with the hungry (generosity to the poor)
-giving shelter to the homeless (hospitality)
-giving clothes to those who need them (sharing our possessions)
-when we don't hide from our relatives who need our help (ouch! staying willing to engage in other's issues and problems)
(Isaiah 58:6,7)

I long for more of His manifest Presence in my life, in the meetings I lead or attend, in my every day activities.  I know that apart from Him I can do nothing. Here God tells us where he likes to show up, and where he likes to make himself available.  Its where he sees these things are happening. 

How much of my energy am I devoting to these kinds of activities? Whose burden have I lifted?  When was I kind to a service person making their load a little easier? How am I doing at hospitality and generosity, even when I don't feel like it? Or when I've already given a lot?

A Prayer:  Jesus, we long for more of you.  We want to sit at your feet, hear your voice and encounter you.  We want to experience your Presence in increasing ways.  We know that the only way we can ever be fruitful in your kingdom work is as we partner with you in what you are doing.  Use us Lord.  Open our eyes to the ways, small and large, that we can love the poor and imprisoned and oppressed around us.  We know that as we do this, you will come and offer yourself to us, so that when we call, you will answer "Here I am."  Together, we will bring your Kingdom to earth in all its glory. Amen.

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