Listen to this song...
(I’ve included the lyrics if you can’t listen to the song)
All my days
I've been wearing the mistakes I've made
Like a coat I could've thrown away
I should've brought it to You
All my pain
Like a fire burning in the rain
Like a stain I couldn't wash away
I should've brought it to You
Show me what You see
When You look at me
Show me what is real
More than what I feel
We have stains, it's true
But when Your light shines through
We all look like stained glass windows to You
All my fears
I've got one for every single tear
Like a flood that's rushing through these years
I'll bring it all to You
We both know
I've been barely holding on to hope
Like a sneaker with a worn out sole
I'll bring it all to You
This song was not one that I looked for, it popped on my spotify in a ‘recommended to you’ playlist. For the first few times I’d been listening to it without really thinking about it, I had sort of assumed that it was just another love song and it blended in with the rest.
Then one day I actually listened to the lyrics and thought about it.
That’s when I realised that it was a love song, but one about me and God.
I realise it may make seem a little naive as its quite obvious once you really listen, but the time when the lyrics became obvious were at a time when this particular message was just what I needed to hear.
I know that I am forgiven by God for what I do and that he will eternally love me, no matter how many mistakes I make or how big; as long as I turn to him and ask. But often I still cannot move past the mistakes and forgive myself. I feel as they are a part of me, and made me who I am today.
But the lyrics of this song say in a way, that these mistakes have made us who we are with God, which makes us as beautiful as stained glass windows to him. The colours on the glass are the mistakes we have made but when we have also come to God and asked for forgiveness, it changes the way that we perceive them. We become someone through who God shines his love. And that even with mistakes, you are with God, who loves you and helps you to shine as the person he created you to be.
On Mount Sinai God revealed His character to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments.
When you think of mountain top experiences with God, what do you think of?:
Miracles? Prophecies? Hearing an audible voice? Seeing visions? Healings?
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
The experience described here is massive! “Everyone in the camp trembled”… all the people experienced this and because of that experience you would expect them to grow some incredible fruits in Him. However, a few chapters later this generation had to be killed in the wilderness because they didn’t believe in God’s promise of deliverance to the promise land. As we go up a mountain we can see more. The danger is that when we get that new perspective we either stay there or don’t acclimatise and so panic… or in this case die!
So often we associate a mountain top experience with understanding. This is deception. Often when we come to God with a question or a request we won’t see the answer straight away. If we take the Lord a question and we are willing to camp and wait (as the Israelites did), the revelation will be massive! We can camp peacefully in the knowledge that God is good and knows the plans He has for us, otherwise we value the answer more than the mystery:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you
Not all of our biggest revelations and experiences will be “mountain top experiences” either. God comes and meets us in everything, we just have to say “yes” to Him consistently in the small things and He will grow us. Small is the new big!
Matthew 13:32 talks about planting small mustard seeds. If we can give God our small “mustard seed” yes then He will grow us.
We live in such an “on demand” world. We can click a button and have something delivered to our doors the next day, we can press a button and watch live TV coverage of almost any event going on in the world at any given moment and we can contact a friend simply by opening facetime. We expect the rules of God’s kingdom to apply to this Earth. They don’t. God doesn’t operate an “on demand” kingdom. We have to be willing to camp and trust His judgement that He gives us as much as we can handle at the right times. If we want God to operate in an “on demand” way then we are giving ourselves to an experience not to God. If we only want to see the “big things” then we are not in true surrender of our hearts.
In God’s kingdom He does everything. All we have to do is position our hearts in surrender so He can build in us. We never do the building. As He builds, He enables things to flow out of us so that He can build even more. WE NEVER DO THE BUILDING, IT IS ALL GOD. Humility isn’t the ability to stand, it’s the ability to fall and to glorify God in our “fallenness”.
Fallenness however is a position of our hearts. We don’t have to physically fall. Everything around us can be fine and we can still be in this place of fallenness. We need God to pick us up and carry us out of the “smoke” (Ex 19:18) around us and take us to a place of freedom and humility to walk in His plans that He has for us. At Ripon last year we talked about “your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as in heaven”. By surrendering our hearts in this way we will see God’s kingdom come.