…..and follow your dreams’,
but Jesus doesn’t! He says,
‘Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me‘
‘You have Abundant Life’
is that a paradox, a contradiction, or what? Or just a profound and foundational Truth?
In the previous post I tried to show the breadth and depth of Abundant Life as spoken by Jesus, but I want to tell a little of how it impacts ne.
I was praying recently for some great friends who are suffering greatly and I asked God ‘why is this going on? why now? why all at once?’ and God came right back ‘Stop asking questions you wouldn’t understand the answer to!’ I heard the smile in His voice, ‘I love them, I died for them, they have a living hope and glorious inheritance!’
My life is not what I would have asked for, it’s not easy, and I know I am not the only one in this place. There is a mystery in suffering, that we will not comprehend fully until we meet God, but I am learning to live in the middle of pain and limitations with a real and true sense of the presence of God. I’m way short of perfect, look:
- Do I struggle daily? Yes
- Do I make random visits to the pit? Yes
- Am I angry too often? Yes
- Do I have chronic pain and discomfort? Yes
- Do I have Abundant Life?
Oh yes, I have Abundant Life! Oh yes!
Sometimes I wonder if I was nominated for a trial that started 10 years ago to check out if God is good. Today, I am able to confirm that God is indeed good. Immeasurably, unfathomably, infinitely, good. Remember Job, who, in the middle of immense suffering, and having had a serious talking to from God, could say ‘I had heard of You but now I have seen You’. I think he experienced some Divine abundance in the pain!
There are so many things I have learnt in this trial that I would never have learnt any other way, I have heard Him speak to me more than the previous 48 years put together. That’s why I’m writing them down here. Ezekiel (ch 40) was told ‘listen carefully and pay attention, this why I have brought you here. And tell the people everything you see’. I recognise his calling!
Out of God’s abundance, I know that He will never let me go – in the pit, in the pain, in the humiliation of not being understood – He is with me. My glorious inheritance breaks through, my living hope stirs within me and God says ‘Luv ya!’
Here’s an example. I really struggled with worship at the start of my trial, but God spoke such encouragement. ‘Do not be embarrassed by the sounds you make; is your focus on Me? then lay down your desperate desire to sound beautiful; lift up My Name – lay yourself down’. I need to remember that, and put it into action.
And again, a few years ago, I was raking leaves in the garden, with my phone throwing out worship songs. I was tired, (or possibly bored), so I lay down face first on the lawn and joined in as best I can. I heard God say “When a broken man says ‘thank you God, you are good’, I see that as being more than a conqueror”. I wept.
here’s another extract from my phone:
26 Jun 19 – Against all expectations, I have had a wonderful, inspirational day. God has turned stuff around within me – attitudes and depressing thoughts, into hope and excitement. I don’t deserve it but God is good, God is faithful to His children. All our days.
Eyes are hurting, so I’m going to stop now, but I have a lot more to say about the abundance of the Life God has given me!
Sometimes (as with Joseph) God can only deal with us in the pit and the prison before He can use us in the palace.
Keep going, Iain! This is what His destiny is for you!
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I have re-read this pair of posts (again). The.more I read it and let it sink in, the more I hear the siren call of zoe. For me this is just one voice among many during the daily grind, but you have helped to raise it higher, the challenge is to hold on to what matters during the routine of life. I think it raises questions for many of us about how well are we doing, how do we change and how do we work it out, all in the stories of how it is for you. I still love the ongoing commitment to honestly telling it like it is, no fancy gloss.
Real meat here not milk, i am sure the rewrite was worth it because it showed us what you wanted to say.
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