What Are You Teaching Me?
- February 12, 2018
- Jared Odenbeck
After a couple hours of rehabilitation at my own gym, away from my physical therapists, I crossed the parking lot and opened a dialogue with God.
“What are you teaching me?” I queried.
It has been a long, long road since February of 2017 when chronic groin injuries began to plague me, culminating in an operation in January to reattach my lower abdominal muscle to my pelvis on the right side, repair a tear on the left side, and fix my torn left adductor muscle in my groin.
I have found myself constantly aching for the pure joy of playing soccer. I felt it as I crossed the parking lot that one afternoon. I do not understand why I am withheld from playing – my main inroad for ministry – when I finally put my idolatry to death and discovered a healthy way to approach the game. But, in that moment, I discovered that I asked the wrong question and I asked a lazy one – in formation, intellect, and action.
“What are you doing?”, “what are you teaching me?”, and related questions require nothing of me. I do not pray, I do not seek, I do not read, I do not sing. I sit idly and expect a result to flow from my inaction and desire for immediacy. I receive and gain nothing.
Yes, in Isaiah 65:1, the LORD proclaims, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name.” Sometimes, God drops in unannounced by way of the Holy Spirit without a knock or a phone call or text in advance. Wonder fills those moments – a glorious grace that we failed to ask for descends on us for our good.
But, more often than not, we follow the principle of Matthew 7:7-8. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” We take initiative to ask, declare our desires, seek him, search after his soothing comfort and deep love that comes through his Spirit, and find him as he beams with radiance when he opens the door to us.
I believe a better question lies beyond my complacency. I believe I will hear clearer answers from the LORD, and that his silence sometimes stems from the laziness of my pursuit and search.
“What must I seek to learn from you and what do you desire to change in me?” Or, perhaps a bolder prayer – “Transform me, make me more like you, and strip me of my selfishness – whatever it takes.” Discipline, difficulty, and defeat may come, but immeasurable gain awaits those who give themselves up for transformation and climb the mountainous, rocky path to holiness.
Every season merits new learning. The uniqueness of the season dictates the characteristics of the lesson learned. Times of suffering produce different growth than times of plenty. Months marked by silence and unanswered questions birth varied outcomes from months of spiritual soaring. One is not better than the other. But, each season requires that we learn unique lessons that other seasons fail to touch.
Do not miss what the LORD has for you in the season you find yourself in. Ask for him and you will receive him. Seek him and you will find him. Knock and he will open the door of himself (John 10:7) and awaken you to wonders anew.