I feel like every time I walk out of my Thursday night counseling class, I could blog the entire class. But that would probably be some form of plagiarism, and I also know I cannot come close to reduplicating the brilliance, eloquence and beauty of nearly every word that Ed Welch utters. Mutters, even. Still, worth writing down almost verbatim.
You know what I love about Dr. Welch's class? How he always talks about the surprise of the Gospel. I know I've said this before, but it's been a while and I have amassed *loads* of new readers since then. And the rest of you have maybe forgotten.
Anyway, Dr. Welch seeks to surprise people with the Gospel when he is counseling them. And true to form, our awesome God always seems to do just the opposite of what our human minds fathom and expect.
Screw something up really badly? God comes to us in mercy and forgiveness, restoring us.
Want a powerful king to crush your enemies? He comes in humility and gets beat up by everyone he angers.
Feel like God is distant in your sufferings? Read the Psalms and see how intimately he knows your pain.
Afraid? Look how tenderly God speaks to his precious flock.
Addicted? Look to the God who is so much more awesome than you imagined, and be ready for the fear of the Lord to blow your socks off.
Over and over this semester I am hearing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I so desire to be wise; I want to be able to open God's Word, seeing it with fresh eyes and teaching others the richness that is available therein. I know I'm young, and I have a long way to go.
But at the same time, I have hope because the more I study God's Word, the more I am learning to fear him. Fear ... seeing how great he is. Fear ... trembling when I recognize my uncleanness, a la Isaiah 6. Fear ... covering my mouth because I am in no position to question his will. Fear ... respecting, adoring, praising. Tomorrow I might post a quote from some of my reading that talks about how integral knowledge is for our sanctification. For now, however, I pray that God will teach me how to fear him even a little bit of the way Dr. Welch does -- I think this will go a long way to conforming my mind to the image of Christ and growing me in wisdom, because I will increasingly recognize God for who he is. And who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name when he sees you as you are, even if it is a dim shadow of your glory?
"And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, 'Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.'" Revelation 15:3-4