Our only son has been in a foreign country working on a ranch with two families. It has been their life’s work. He, some young blood to get some physical jobs done.
He comes home Friday and if it is in the Lord’s plan, if he arrives safely and on time, I will get to see his face, hug that man child, and probably cry buckets of tears.
During the six months he has been gone I was led to fast….from sugar, Facebook, t.v. and movies. Whenever these desires came upon me instead I would pray for him, for them, for other young men and women who the Lord has placed in my life.
I have lost over 20 pounds during this time. This result I am thankful for. It is one of the tangible effects of these last six months fast. Something I can feel, I can see, I am joyful about.
But what about the things unseen?
Do my decisions have effects that I am not even aware of? I am sure of it, even though I don’t see it.
Another friend entered the sugar aspect of this fast with me, together we have prayed. We have felt burdens on the same days without knowing each other were experiencing the same things. There has been a mutual spiritual war we have entered into. Against our own fleshly desires foremost. With an awareness of a battle on the periphery of our spiritual vision but still very real.
Another aspect of growth has been the growing awareness of sinful thoughts and attitudes within myself when I have become annoyed at family, friends, situations. And the Lord has been quick to show me my error. My own surrenders have been accomplished faster, with the tangible offshoots from those being immediate. The lasting fruit has been better communication, humility and abiding peace within the relationships or within myself.
Now I would like to clarify here that I confess my salvation was purchased by Jesus Christ alone, by grace alone…no work on my part imparted this beautiful gift to me. My understanding is that sanctification is the ongoing, spiritual struggle that occurs between my flesh and my new God imparted God honoring desires. Paul speaks about this in Chapter 7 of the book of Romans found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible.
There have also been relationships that have seemed to explode before my eyes…shrapnel flying…pieces lodging within my own heart as I was caught in the cross fire. I have had to stand sentinel and pray. I hope and wait for forgiveness between the parties, for healing, for true and lasting restoration. These are all outside of my ability to create. They are a work of God. They are the convicting work of His Holy Spirit. He is real, concrete and only He can set captives free.
He longs to.
And yesterday as I was grieving the passing of Robin Williams, the fractured relationships in the lives of those around me, hurting people….I mused that sometimes our perspective becomes inverted.
That when I sin, why do I shake my hands at God as if He were to blame for all my actions? He is Good. I am most definitely not.
Nor do I know any good people. I know broken, hurting, forgiven, bitter, angry, joyful, restored, surrendered people. But no good people.
And I was thinking how human nature, in its bentness as C. S. Lewis would say, climbs the summit of insolence with sinful act after sinful act, with proud decision after proud decision to finally reach the mountaintop to only rail at Him for all our sins. Shaking fist at the heavens. Isolated and alone atop that freezing, barren pinnacle. Frozen in hatred and unforgiveness.
He, the good One. He, the Holy One. Me, the created one. Me, the selfish. Me, the needy one.
What audacity is it to blame my brokenness on Him? To blame our worlds brokenness on Him?
That further illuminates to me how broken we truly, intrinsically are.
Does He leave us on those mountaintops, frozen and alone? Proud and aloof?
No, He stooped down and laid down His life that He might impart it to those very ones that railed and nailed and scorned and rejected. His life in us, the only hope of glory…in this life and in the one to come.
Revelation Chapter 5
And I weep with sorrow at the hurt, at the loss, at our pride. The seeds sown, the weeds grown, the tangled mass of thorns, this present hell, here and now, choking out life.
And I weep with joy for His love, His mercy, His grace that He longs to pour out on humanity. When His seed received, His fruit grown in us, the weeds dry up and blow away on the wind.
He has become my Vanquisher. His name is Jesus Christ and I am thankful to call Him my Lord and Savior.