Sligo19: Growing in... Devotion

Miryam Lightbody is writing with VOX Magazine at the New Wine Ireland summer conference in Sligo this week. She’ll be looking out for speakers’ practical tips and methods that we can apply to see growth in our lives.

Monday 15 July

Growing in Devotion.jpeg

In Charlotte Curran’s seminar; ‘Disappointment’ she illuminates the story in John 11 of the effect of Lazarus’ death and resurrection on his sisters, Mary and Martha, to illustrate the steps we can take to move from disappointment to devotion to divine commissioning. Here are some insights from her talk: 

Be aware of your distance 

Charlotte illuminates Mary’s response to disappointment in John 11: “the woman who used to sit at His feet is now sitting at a distance.”

Jesus will never force you to come to Him

If you sit at a distance with your disappointment it will become the defining moment of your life

Be honest with Jesus

 “Lord, if You had been here this wouldn’t have happened.”  Jesus welcomes your honesty even if it is an ugly truth. Say what you think because Jesus already knows what you think anyway

Charlotte describes the path of trying to deal with disappointment without God as journeying “from disappointment to distance to deceit.” 

We will go into a stage of life where we are not honest with Jesus 

Charlotte says that our heart’s response is the same as in the Garden of Eden “we’ve got to hide this.”

The only one who can heal the darkness and brokenness inside you is Jesus. Deceit means that we hide parts of us that we need to take back to Jesus for healing. 

Charlotte explains that we as a church don’t help to close this distance. We’ve left no room at the church table for doubt. It’s as if we’ve created this weird theology that if you have doubt you can’t have faith when the truth is we carry both at the same time. 

 Trust Jesus with your pain

Mary has no faith for a miracle: ‘even You can’t fix this, Jesus.’ It’s not that Mary doesn’t believe that God can, she just doesn’t believe that He’ll do it for her. The disappointment has gone on too long. She believed a lie that if He hasn’t fixed it by now He never will

What happens when you have no faith for a miracle? Jesus doesn’t scold Mary; Jesus weeps. In that moment, even though He knows a miracle is on its way, He doesn’t push past the pain of the present.

You can bring your pain to a Jesus like that!

We need to learn how to carry our doubt to Jesus and say: ‘Lord, I don’t have faith for a miracle.’

Learn devotion

If you handle disappointment biblically, you will discover deeper levels of devotion. 

Mary is not coming for what Jesus can give her but for Jesus Himself.

Charlotte shared her own story of agonising disappointment: “I was so angry because I had walked with Him since I was three. I had loved Him.I had given Him everything and Jesus wasn’t fixing this. I would go into church and everyone would be worshipping and I thought ‘I would rather be in a wheelie bin.’ I felt nothing.”

Keep showing up

Put yourself in the presence of God. You have to do that. You have to close the distance.

Charlotte suggests to leave your Bible open to invite yourself always into God’s presence

Charlotte said her distance ended one day in a breathed vow “Jesus, if you never give me what I want; I still want you. In that moment of my story I found a deeper heart of devotion than I had ever found in my whole life.”

Keep your eyes open

Disappointment can lead to divine commissioning.

When you journey through the valley  of disappointment you become positioned for entrustment.

She describes how the story continues in John 12 and Mary is chosen by God to be the one who anoints Jesus before the crucifixion “in that moment, Mary is caught up in a story much bigger than her.”

She is the one appointed to anoint the Son of God as He takes up His role.

In a sentence

In the middle of your disappointment, close the distance. It is calling you to levels of deep devotion and divine commissioning