January 19, 2011

I Think I Get It Now

I am laughing on this titled post because I *think* I have written this before (at the least, I have said it) perhaps ten or twenty times.  I like to say it a lot:  "I get it now."  I think that I really do get it, I mean, when I say that at the time.  The funny thing (yes, ha ha) is that most of the time, I get a little bit of that clear headed sense, but not the entire picture or thesis or circumstance.  I grasp some part, but not the whole of it, if you KWIM?  We like to think we "get it" and we like to say "I've got it all under control."  The truth is that we rarely get anything at all, and we almost never have things under control.  It is a human flesh thing, one of those aspects of our pride that shouts out to the world:  "I am OK." 

Oh Lord, I am not OK, and I don't get it, and I struggle with the dailyness of life, and with trying to keep my ship afloat."  I want to get it, and I want to feel in control, but as soon as that feeling comes, it seems to flit away again.  It never stays for long, and I *think* that is because those feelings are human fleshly feelings, and are based on our circumstance and situation, and not on the truth of God's Word or on our relationship with Jesus Christ.  God wants us to focus on Him, and to trust Him.  This means we are not to rely on our feelings or thoughts, but on His Word -- Jesus Christ.  Jesus promised us in John 16 that He would give us two things:  joy and peace.  Joy and Peace instead of sorrow and tribulation -- however -- these come to us as a reward for our faith in His Name and when He is revealed in Glory.  For now, we have sorrow and tribulation, but the Helper brings us peace and joy regardless of our outward situation.

God is Good to me, and He knows me well.  He knows that I still rely on my feelings far to often, and that I need to stop looking to the temporary, and focus on the eternal.  His will for my life is coming to pass, and I and doing what He asks of me.  There is nothing more for me to do, nothing more for me to worry or fret about, and nothing more for me to control.  He is guiding me daily, and I am trusting Him for every need.  In this way, I let go of my striving, and I abide in Him, just as John writes to us in his book.  Abiding in the Lord means to rest securely, to lean back upon Him.  John, the beloved disciple, was always portrayed as leaning upon Jesus' breast (or chest).  This was a common position in the Greco-Roman world -- people reclined at dinner, they literally laid down to eat.  It was a way to share fellowship, to be close and to demonstrate your attention to the person near you.  It was very familial in that regard.  We are to be likewise, to lean back upon Jesus as if we were intently focused on His Words to us.  We are to peer into His eyes, to look closely (though we cannot see Him -- we have His Spirit within to help us have this kind of relationship) at Him while He is speaking to us.  By placing the focus upon Jesus, we are less distracted by what is going on around us, and we are sure to hear every message, every word of encouragement, and to receive instruction for our specific lives.  When we sit distantly from Him, we miss so much fellowship.  We also miss His instruction for our lives because He is far from us.

I have learned that abiding, resting and leaning on the Lord, provides the assurance of getting the message correct.  I learn directly from His Word, and as His Holy Spirit guides me and teaches me, I am able to receive correction, and grasp depth of understanding.  I cannot "get it" unless I am right next to Him.  It is impossible to understand the will of God, and know you specific purpose in this life, unless you are right next to His Precious and Glorious Presence.

So back the my thesis topic of "I get it now."    This morning as I read the Word, and then came back to the computer to check my schooling, etc., the Lord reminded me of some things I wrote last year.  I took the time to revisit the last five or six months, and I was so shocked by the depth of sorrow, the pain, and the hopelessness I felt then.  I remember writing a post back in July, where I really felt like I understood why I was suffering so much, and why I was stuck in a difficult place for so long.  Funny, because when I wrote that post it had been almost one year of being in a difficult place.  Now, it has been almost a year and a half, and guess what -- I am still in that difficult place.  Nothing has changed. 

Everything has changed.

My circumstance has not been altered since last summer, but my heart, and my mind have been changed to align with His will.  My attitude has become maleable and agreeable to His will.  I am ready to do His will, and I am at rest in His will.  My outward circumstance is the same -- no movement, no job, no bettering or worsening of the entire event.  It is status-quo, and it is the same old, same old thing.  Yet, I am so very different inside, and I am far more confident, far more bold, and far more willing to "give it a go" now.  I have learned to let go of things, to let things be, and to rest and relax in the Lord.  I am trusting Him daily now, believing in His ability to provide for each and every need.  I know that His timing is perfect, and that He will always do what is best for me.  When I am overwhelmed, I rest in His Grace.  It is sufficient, and I can do everything He has asked of me.  If I need anything, I do as John 16 says and I ask the Father in Jesus' Name.  The provision is there, the protection is at hand.

So what exactly is IT that I get now?  I think it is this:
  • In this life we will have sorrow and tribulation (this is a promise from Scripture)
  • This sorrow and tribulation are for our benefit because they enable us to develop a strong trust in the Lord
  • Moreover, through this process of learning to trust the Lord, we become strong, faithful, and obedient servants
  • We learn how to deal with difficulty, and not give up or give in -- we endure
  • We bring glory to God through our attitude during suffering, so the more understanding we are of it, the more we are able to express joy through it (like the Apostles did)
  • Lastly, the process we endure is called Sanctification and it is a work of the Holy Spirit.  It is for our good, and for His Glory.  It is not always pleasant, and it can be incredibly difficult at times; but, it will result in a perfectedness on the day we stand before the Lord.
Therefore, whether I live here in Phoenix or move some place else; whether I work PT or FT; whether I remain married or end up single -- all of these temporal things are of no real consequence in the Lord's overall will for my life.  Yes, He determines where I live, and yes, He desires for married people to remain married -- but in the scope of His Eternal Work -- they are simply the daily part of living, a part of living that is common to man.

I spend so much time focused on the daily, and I think now I understand that the "daily" will always be with me.  I will never have a perfect life.  I will never have everything I want or think I should have in life.  I may achieve greatness (in human terms) or I may live a modest unknown life.  I may do this or that, but for eternity, my path has been marked out and chosen for me.  My life is not about here and now, though I must remain in it.  My life is bound up in His Name, and in doing His Work and in living for His Glory.  There is nothing else that matters, and while the Lord doesn't ask me to abandon this life (may it never be), He does ask me to trust Him for it.  He knows my needs, and He has plans to cover every possible thing.

I am to abide in Him, and He will abide in me.  In this trust relationship, I will learn from Him, and become like Him.  It is the only way for me now.  I want nothing else but for Jesus Christ to be Glorified.  Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

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