Lately, I have found myself drawn to the book of Isaiah. He was a major prophet of the Old Testament. So, this morning, I decided to start at the beginning. In The Message paraphrase, Eugene Peterson gives an introduction to each book of the Bible. He also gives an introduction to the books of the Bible known as The Prophets. One part of this introduction really stopped me this morning. I read it several times…letting it soak in. I would like to share it with you:
One of the bad habits that we pick up early in our lives is separating things and people into secular and sacred. We assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge of: our jobs, our time, our entertainment, our government, our social relations. The sacred is what God has charge of: worship and the Bible, heaven and hell, church and prayers. We then contrive to set aside a sacred place for God, designed, we say, to honor God but really intended to keep God in his place, leaving us free to have the final say about everything else that goes on.
Prophets will have none of this. They contend that everything, absolutely everything, takes place on sacred ground. God has something to say about every aspect of our lives: The way we feel and act in the so-called privacy of our hearts and homes, the way we make our money and the way we spend it, the politics we embrace, the wars we fight, the catastrophes we endure, the people we hurt and the people we help. Nothing is hidden from the scrutiny of God, nothing is exempt from the rule of God, nothing escapes the purposes of God. Holy, holy, holy. Eugene Peterson, The Message (p.910-911)
I think when we compartmentalize our lives we do so in a certain of amount of fear that we would be dissatisfied or let down if God ruled us completely. And yet, letting every aspect of our lives find its place and purpose in God is the most secure and fulfilling way to live. He knows what we don’t know. He sees what we can’t see. He has power we don’t have. And He loves us. He is trustworthy. He is good. Whether or not we ever live in surrender to the greatness, the vastness, the holiness of God…He is still great, vast and holy. Whether or not we ever recognize this and submit our lives completely, every moment we breathe is absolutely caught up in the grandeur of Creator. I have lived in the tug of war between my desire to control my life and do things my way and the deep knowledge of my God calling me to surrender. It’s a fight and He’ll let you go on fighting until it wears you out. I’m quite thankful to grow weary of compartmentalizing God and putting Him in His place. Or rather I am glad to be learning that God is never really put into any “place” or compartment of our lives. We may persuade ourselves that He is…but then we read words like the ones written above and are sharply reminded we are the created.