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Archive for February, 2016

(un)surprised by pain

The first wave came as a complete surprise. It knocked me cleanly off my feet. Thankfully He still held the ground that was beneath me. The hesitation and caution with which I crawled again before him, expressed itself in my doubt filled prayers. Then came another. I had just managed to take a breath before I went under again. The wound was made fresh again. This time rather than trying to stand, I stayed huddled in the corner. After all, if the waves were not going to change their course, then to stay hiding would be the safest option. Maybe then I wouldn’t notice falling so much. This time, half-hearted prayers were silenced by despondency. The lie of despair called my name loudly. It told me that my prayers were to no avail. So why bother using that breath to cry out to Him when I needed to conserve it just to survive.

As I sat here, I heard the prayers of others. I even heard them say they were praying for me. But these words didn’t take root in my heart. The devil had his foothold. He caught them and threw them away before they could cause me to trust in the One who was listening the whole time. He climbed higher and tried to cover my eyes with a thick blanket that stopped me from seeing the Loving Sovereign Father at work in pain.

It causes me deep sadness as I reflect on this to realise how long I stayed here. But he taught me valuable things when I was in the corner. His Spirit ministered to me in ways that my conscious mind may never know. His faithfulness stood undeterred. Then came the thought that caused my spirit to again stand with His.

I had been surprised by pain.

I had seen first hand the effect of a gospel that proclaims an easy life. I had felt the disappointment of the false whispers that made me trust in my circumstances. But even more revealing: I realised what darkness there lay in my heart. How quick I was to throw in the towel. How quick I was to retreat from the Author of Life. How slow I was to trust His wisdom.

His word gives a lens that explains pain like no other attempt I have ever seen. A brokenness that runs so deep into humanity that no one likes to acknowledge. A deep rejection of God as God.

As a result this life is broken.

I should be unsurprised by pain.

But there is more. There is also a deeper answer. A deeper hope. A way that plummeted the depths to soar to the highest heights. A love that broke through. A cross that pierced that deceiver, a cross that engulfed the darkness, a Saviour that scooped up the broken one. A grace that transformed the hardened one.

He showed me that I should be unsurprised by pain, and that he arms me to keep standing. Nothing kills trust in His goodness more than giving in to passivity. And projecting this passivity onto God…who is tirelessly at work for our good.

His Word is also living and active. A sword.

Lord you call us to an ACTIVE faith. Lord WHEN the next wave rolls in, may I wrestle with your word. May I reconcile every doubt-filled thought with the truth. May I desire to take my tendency to retreat to the foot of the cross where I find the power to stand. And when I can’t fight Lord, help me to know that your word fights for me. You act on my behalf. You always have.

I praise you that it is YOUR armour that we are told to put on. It is far better than any of my coping mechanisms.

Help me to fight the good fight of faith. With your children all over the world. Help us fix our eyes on heaven. When you bring all things under Christ. A restoration of brokenness.

And help us realise Lord…that now…while we wait…it IS a fight. So rather than being surprised by pain, we are armed and ready.

 

 

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Jesus the Seeker

There once was a man who decided to seek Jesus…from a distance. Intrigue got the better of him. He yearned to know who this man Jesus was. So he climbed higher. High enough to see over the crowds. From a distance. He wanted to watch Jesus as he passed by; to watch this man of importance who seemed to be on a great mission.

But little did he know what was at the heart of Jesus’ mission. The heart of which many would be quick to deem unworthy of the title “mission”. This man….watching Jesus from a distance…was Jesus’ mission. Jesus did not pass by as expected. Jesus stopped. Jesus looked up. Addressed this man by name. Called him to come down closer. Jesus the seeker. Up close and personal. No longer at a safe distance. Face to face. This man met Jesus. His seeking would only result in being a spectator…from afar. But thankfully, Jesus was the real seeker. And the one whom Jesus seeks, is not kept at a distance. The one whom Jesus seeks is brought close. Looked in the eye. And addressed by name. The one whom Jesus seeks is changed.

“The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”.

For so long, I attributed faith as the outcome of my “seeking”. Yet the truth, which results in the crushing of all pride, is that He was the real seeker. My seeking would have kept me at a distance. Observing from afar. My seeking may even have filled my lips with opinions to share about Him…something to contribute to the discussion. Something to offer. But His seeking of me brings me intimately close. It breaks down pretence. Produces a desire for holiness. Brings transformation. My seeking would have observed him from afar. But He came close, called me down my name, so that I could joyfully receive Him. Not just so that I could know of this man Jesus, but so that I could be known by Him.

Lord Jesus, may my mission be yours. May I not see “stopping” for the lost, as a distraction, but as your very heart. Lord may I not be so precious with my time, so rigid in my schedule and goals, that I fail to stop and notice. That I fail to stop and look someone in the eye and tell them of the news of the God who came to save them. Please bring this work to completion in me Lord. May the knowledge that you have known me, produce in me a desire to live a life worthy of your call. Thank you for being the Seeker.

 

 

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