Sunday, April 10, 2011

Watching for fire

When I was just about 6 years old, I became a Christian.  I don't remember much about it.  I do remember going school the next day and being so excited to tell my best friend.  I remember looking in the mirror and wondering if people could tell by looking at me that I was different.  Nobody seemed to notice the difference, so by third period I'd had enough of radiating my newness, and I turned around and whispered to the girl behind me:

"I'm a Christian."

"No, you're not," she said, coloring her map.

"Yes, I am," I insisted. 

"Not," she replied.


That's what I remember about becoming a Christian.

Also this:  I remember being told that when I gave my heart to Jesus, he came to live in me.  This was great.  I had the Almighty God on my side now. And I had plans, baby.

I think I was born with plans.  Plus I had parents who told me I was special, not just average, that I could be anything I wanted—in fact, should be.  I believed them. 

So most of my life with God has been me marching up to him with my agenda, slapping it on his desk and in effect saying, "Here's what we're going to be doing today.  Here's my part, and here's your part; I've highlighted it for you."

When I get frustrated with God, it's because he's not doing the part I assigned him. 

Then I stumbled upon Psalm 5:3.  You might just read right past it in other translations, but in The Message, Eugene Peterson translates it like this:

       Every morning, I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend.

This was the Hebrew morning prayer, words which started their day.  Every day.  This would have meant much more to them than it does to us, because their camp was literally built around an altar, saturated in the smells of sacrifice.  They were familiar with the wood and the smoke, the smell of fresh blood and burning flesh.  They made their way through the camp leading their sacrifice on its rope.  They stood at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the great bronze altar.  You didn't just fling your sacrifice up before God.  The priest carefully cut it into pieces according to specific instructions, placing them on the altar with intent and care.  You watched as the flames leapt, the fat sizzled and burned. 

When I stumbled upon this verse several years ago, I was searching for a way to re-think my life—my exhausting overextended unfocused life.  And God said:

"This is how I want you to approach me."

"This is what we're going to be doing today," God said.  "Here's my part, and here's your part;  I've highlighted it for you."

"Your part:  Lay out the pieces of your life before me.  Stand back.  And pay attention.
My part:  Fire."

Sometimes, as I watch, God burns away what doesn't belong in my day, in my heart, in my life plan.

"Let's don't worry about that thing you have scheduled at 11:30.  You're not ready for it.  I'm not done getting you ready for it." 

"That right there—see the flames?  That has to go.  It's going.  Yes.  Gone."

Other times, God lights up an area of my life with the fire of his Spirit.  I  know that's where he's at work doing something.  I need to pay attention.

Paying attention requires time and intent.  But it is so much less exhausting than pushing my agenda. 

You might be thinking, "This is a crazy way to live.  She has no plan."

Why, yes, I do have a plan:  I plan to watch what God is doing and join him.

If you're interested, you can watch with me here.


  1. That's probably the best salvation story I've ever heard. Winning! Oh yeah, and good word after that too. Can't wait to read more from you.

  2. This was an excellent inaugural post.
    Keep going! Keep writing!

  3. Life is Like a Bike Ride by: cae gauntt

    I want to tell a little story
    Bout my life philosophy
    And it won’t take but a minute-
    Well, maybe two or three.
    It all started years ago when
    I first heard about the Lord.
    He was like some president, well,
    I was bored !
    But as I got to know Him
    Got to know myself, too,
    I decided life’s a bike ride
    And this bike is built for two!
    When we began the journey
    I was steering up in front.
    He suggested that we switch around,
    and to put it blunt:
    He’s a wild and daring driver
    Going places I’d not go!
    Sometimes at a breakneck speed and
    Sometimes slow.
    When the way is rough and scarey
    And the tires stick like glue
    Then He turns around and tells me-
    That this bike is built for two!
    I will pedal hard for you!
    You would think that I would learn to
    Trust the guy who made this bike.
    Truth is sometimes I get off and
    Take a hike!
    But I get back on....
    We have met some real nice people
    As we're pedalling along.
    They have given gifts of love
    Their acceptance made me strong.
    But the Master of Bike Secrets
    Says to give these gifts away.
    That is why I tell this story so
    You can have a bike ride, too.
    And your bike is built for two.
    Yes, He’s got a bike for you.

  4. Oh my goodness, Cae. That is beautiful. I had no idea you were a poet. Thank you for this; I will never look at a bike the same way! Lovely, friend.

  5. I'm so glad you are blogging again, friend! You have all the words I can never seem to find -- and to which I add my AMEN! xxxoo