is a question that the Lord has been asking us in the renewal for years.
I remember when I first became involved in the renewal, God was asking
us to receive all the gifts and blessings He has for us. Seventeen years
later He is still asking us to receive all He has for us. But now I
sense an urgency for us to respond even more and accept and receive
all He has for us.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 (The Wonderful Stream) is a must reading to understand
what God is desiring of us. God has Ezekiel wade out into the river;
first it is ankle-deep, then to knee-deep. Ezekiel continues and then
it is waist deep, and finally it ~over His head. (Please spend time
reading this passage in the full context) The only way he can cross
the river is to swim across.
On our Charismatic retreat last year with Father Orris, our retreat
master, a vision and prophecy were given. God was asking us to go out
deep into the river and let go of everything and just to float in the
arms of Jesus. We were to allow the Holy Spirit to overpower us and
to be totally dependent on God. Could that be the river that Ezekiel
had the vision of?
I swim at the Y.M.C.A. and one day I was observing a young family. There
were two small children, I don't think they were even in school, but
they could walk. I watched as the family enjoyed the water and their
being together. What struck me the most was watching these small children
get out of the pool and run over to the side. They would scream and
jump into the water laughing all the time. They knew beyond a shadow
of a doubt that their Father was right there to catch them. He would
not leave them nor allow them to be hurt. As I watched this family I
heard the Lord say to me. "This is my desire for you, to trust
me as much as these small children trust their Father. I am your Father
and I want you to jump into my arms, to trust me in all things, I will
not leave you or allow you to be hurt".
The Lord has so many gifts, blessings and graces to give to us but we
hold back and don't receive the fullness of His Spirit. We come before
the Lord with a cup and say; "Please, Lord God fill my cup".
We think we are being so submissive to the Spirit but, He says in reply;
"Why do you come with just a cup when I have a huge vat the size
of an ocean to give you. The cup you ask for is nothing compared to
what I have for you, Will you not empty yourself so you can have the
fullness of all my gifts, blessings and graces?" Why do we not
let go and let God be in control?
I can only answer that for myself. I believe that I am afraid to die
to self and to allow God to have complete control over my life. Oh,
when I am in morning prayer I say Yes Lord, I give this day to
You. You be in control of my life today! But little by little
throughout the day I take control back. I might be in the middle of
doing something that is not working out well. I then have to stop and
ask myself if I had checked this out with the Lord before I plunged
in. If I am truly honest with myself often I have started something
that the Lord did not want me to do. He had something else in mind.
As an example; I had had a desire to work in the RCIA. I thought this
certainly had to be from the Lord because, I rationalized, after all
what better way to bring people to the Lord than through this process?
When my husband and I moved to Gladstone I went to our priest and asked
if I could be a part of this and he said no!!!! Can you imagine that?
Well, I went on my way and then a couple years later some of the people
in the program stepped down and again I went to Father and asked if
I could be a part of the team. Another no!!
I would not admit it to myself or anyone else, but I was very bitter
over this rejection. After all, I thought I had so much to offer! Well
the resentment just sort of stayed with me and every now and again I
would fuss and fume about it.
Another priest worked with the prayer group on a life in the Spirit
Seminar and he told me that I was truly where I needed to be, that I
was planted where I needed to bloom. He observed that my gift is in
the Renewal and bringing people to a closer relationship with God through
the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and empowering them to accept and use
the charisms. I then realized that God did not need me to be in the
RCIA, He needed me to be open and active in the renewal of the Church.
I was so busy fuming about what I could not do, that I think I missed
out on many blessings and graces He was trying to give to me. We have
to be open to God, and His gifts even when His plan is not our own.
Don't do what I did and miss out on a few years of blessings.
I am reminded of a short story I read. Mrs. Brown died and went to heaven
and as St. Peter was showing her around, she saw a huge storage shed.
When she asked about it St. Peter told her that she did not need to
know what was in it. But you know how we humans are. She just would
not let go, so finally St. Peter said she could look inside. When she
opened it she saw row upon row of white boxes wrapped in red ribbons.
They were in alphabetic order and when she went to the B's she found
a box with her name on it. St. Peter said he did not think it would
be a good idea for her to open it, but she went ahead anyway and opened
the box. As soon as the lid was off she knew what was in the box. It
was full of all the blessings, gifts, and graces that God had for her
that she did not ask for and refused to accept.
We do not want to be like Mrs. Brown and miss out on what God has in
store for us. Lets put down our cup when we come before the Lord and
give Him our whole self to be immersed in His blessings, gifts, and
graces. Lets jump into His loving arms knowing that He is always with
us and will always be with us in every situation in our life. Let our
attitude be; Yes, Lord, I will receive all that you have for me!