Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Espresso Machine Between the Eyes

Recently, my sister and I met in a Scandinavian bakery on a snowy night. Huge snowflakes covered our cars within minutes, and I laughed as I tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue while walking in. Partway through the night, fearful shrieks and a hissing noise cut through the calm cafe. The espresso machine was malfunctioning dangerously and two female baristas scrambled to turn off the machine and get out of the way. Mixed coffee drinks were off the menu until a repairman could arrive.

That image returned to my mind this week as I was studying Isaiah. (You, my reader friends, know that we have been talking about Isaiah often, including here, here, and here as it leaks onto the blog from my time in God's word these last few months.) Anyway, Isaiah 43:7 delineates, "Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made," and verses 21-24 continue that thought with "...the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise."

"YET, you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
           you have not wearied yourself for me, O Israel.
           You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
                           nor honored me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with grain offerings,
          nor wearied you with demands for incense.

You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,
                or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.

BUT you have burdened me with your sins,
          and wearied me with your offenses."

Wow... I circled and reviewed the verses, scrawling quickly across my journal. The mirror poetry and words were powerful to me.

Along with the Jewish nation, God formed us so we could proclaim his praise. 
But, very often, I/ we?
        we don't fulfil our purpose.
        We don't call on him.
        We don't weary ourselves for him.
        We don't bring him sacrifices of our time, energy, or money as praise for him.
        We haven't honored him with our tithes, when we do give.

He says HE hasn't placed burdensome or wearisome demands on us -- his creations.

He says we/I haven't made an effort to spend time connecting with him in prayer (calamus is linked with incense and prayer), or lavished on him the best part of my time, energy, resources, as extravagant praise to him.

Rather, we -- I --burdened him with my sins, and
                          wearied him with my offenses.

Wow! Where do you go when a gentle God lays it on the line like this? What's next when he so boldly, plainly lays it bare?

We malfunctioned. We did not deliver. We are a broken product.

Silence. Sadness. A still quiet. He's right. My pen stopped writing and I sat in silence. He's right.

What words are next? His mouth opens and the very next verse spills out like water in the desert.

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more" (vs. 25).

Forgiveness, grace, and a restoration that humbles me.

The repairman has come and gone, and I am working properly now. I will proclaim his praises. Thank you, God.

This journal and Bible time may have just been for me this week. But it hit me, and I pray that God uses it mightily in your life too. Humbly, sitting quietly and happily proclaiming his praise, I'm your Jennifer. I'd love to hear what is on your brain this week, or how I can pray with you.

12 comments:

Brian Miller said...

nah it might have been for you but you passed it on well...smiles..a great reminder esp in this busy season...

emily wierenga said...

"where do you go when a gentle God lays it on the line like this?" i've been reading isaiah too, and this is exactly how i feel. well said. merry christmas friend!

Jennifer Dougan said...

Brian,
Thank you. I was a little worried that it might be too heavy of a thing to post. Thanks.

Merry christmas to you and your bike-riding-finally-free-friend!:)

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Emily. I agree. Isaiah has done that to me so much these last few months, asking tough questions and asking if my life shouts worship in ways he wants me to?

Merry Christmas.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Pieces of Sunshine said...

In His grace God gives us choice and His unconditional love, yet still craves our first love. How amazing that is.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Pieces of Sunshine,

What a vulnerable, tender image of God you just said... gives us choice, loves ununconditionally and yet still desires to be our first love. How humble and amazing that is!

Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

cabinart said...

I kept wondering how you would tie a broken espresso machine to Isaiah! Repair, it needed repair, we need repair. Wow, did you come up with that thought with or without the caffeine?

Danielle said...

Hi Jennifer, I'm popping over from my DOZ site. You asked the question how I got started... Totally God. I was hesitant at first, questioning how God could use someone like me. To make a long story short, I obeyed and I've been blessed with my group ever since.

I meet with 9-13 year old girls every two weeks to disciple them and mentor them. You can read more about it on the tabs of the DOZ blog. Thanks so much for stopping by there.

Blessings to you, your family and the ministry you do!

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Cabinart Jana,

(laughing) Yes, it's the repair theme for me. :) It must have been through a caffeine buzz then! :)

Thanks for the emailed article, by the way. You are right, she's a strong writer too. I followed her across the internet for a little bit too and found her Italy article sobering. Thanks.

---------------------------


Hi Danielle,

Youth ministry is such a great ministry to be involved in! I love connecting with my teens, and they teach me so much too. I love that the Holy Spirit is active and alive in them too, and can speak through them as well (if they know him).

Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Wearying myself for Him... a preaching word for this season in my life and in the life of my family as we continue to minister in a difficult place of obedience.

How thankful I am for the keeping, encouraging Word of God that keeps me, sustains me, and strengthens me daily.

Merry Christmas.

peace~elaine

Kateri said...

Beautiful thoughts, Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family.