That up there seems to scare a lot of us, mostly because we think God’s will is painful or embarrassing or filled with lack. There are quite a number of things I am not sure about, with every passing day, I discover more and more about this God I’ve sworn my life to; but if there is anything I am sure of, I am sure of this one thing, in my spirit, deep down beyond my 5 senses, I know that God loves me. Of course, the problem for a while has been not knowing what love really looks like, what love is. He is love. His being is the very definition of love. Unfortunately, because we’ve been exposed to a lot of counterfeits, we tend to think that that is what God looks like. So day by day, moment by moment, He breaks down these imaginations I’ve built, these ideologies I’ve held on to, He uproots all that is not meant to be, leaving me feeling naked and exposed sometimes…and He rebuilds, opens my eyes and reveals Himself.
I read something earlier this week, a commentary from a friend about that part in the scriptures about “carrying our cross daily” and my friend was explaining it as sometimes the cross will be the painful things in life we will go through and that is God’s way of turning us into the perfect beings He created us to be. I have a problem with that kind of thinking. A good friend of mine said something to me last week that was amazing “You cannot rejoice in your trials and tribulations if you think it is God who sent them, but rather you rejoice because you know your father loves you and He is more than able and willing to deliver you from whatever comes your way.” I’m paraphrasing…it is more like, whatever the devil and the world throws at you, you can say, “Bring it on, God’s got me”
There is an analogy that I have heard used before to explain why change is sometimes painful. An example is given of a man who hasn’t had a bath in so long that the dirt has caked on his skin. To get clean, that man will experience some kind of pain from the scrubbing, and not because it is bad for him but because the dirt has stayed so long, it takes a lot to get it off. I once also tried to explain it as, the reason things like patience are hard to form in us is because we love the other side more, we’d rather be impatient, so the situations that call for patience are trying for us.
About 2 weeks back, I read The Shack, very amazing book, you should read it if you get the chance; everything in the book was profound but the thing that stood out for me the most, I guess because it hit home is this time when the character Mack is having a conversation with Jesus, it goes like this:
Tell me what you are afraid of, Mack.
Well, let me see, what am I afraid of, began Mack. Well, I am afraid of looking like an idiot. I am afraid that you are making fun of me and that I will sink like a rock. I imagine that…
Exactly, Jesus interrupted. You imagine. Such a powerful ability, the imagination! That power alone makes you so like us. But without wisdom, imagination is a cruel taskmaster. If I may prove my case, do you think humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?
Well,said Mack, hesitating, I think the most obvious answer is that we were designed to live in the present. Is that wrong?
Jesus chuckled. Relax, Mack; this is not a test, it’s a conversation. You are exactly correct, by the way. But now tell me, where do you spend most of your time in your mind, in your imagination, in the present, in the past, or in the future?
Mack thought for a moment before answering. I suppose I would have to say that I spend very little time in the present. For me, I spend a big piece in the past, but most of the rest of the time, I am trying to figure out the future.
Not unlike most people. When I dwell with you, I do so in the present I live in the present. Not the past, although much can be remembered and learned by looking back, but only for a visit, not an extended stay. And for sure, I do not dwell in the future you visualize or imagine. Mack, do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?
That there, Jesus’ last statement is what got me. Isn’t that the truth? I find that the things I would project or was afraid of, I never pictured God there with me. I imagine that God will ask me to do some hard things like forgive someone who has hurt me in the worst way possible, become a missionary or whatever is hard for you and I hardly ever imagine that He will be there with His peace that surpasses understanding, that I will rest in Him and shall have peace of mind and heart knowing He is there with me. Jesus goes further to explain our fears, in answer to why it is so hard for us to picture Him there with us
Because you don’t believe. You don’t know that we love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it, but you don’t know it.
Do I know it? Do I believe that God loves me? If I know that God loves me, then I know that God has healed me. If I know that God loves me, then I know that God will feed me, clothe me, give me transport, fight my battles, give me wisdom, cause me to excel, guide my paths into his perfect will which is good and there is not a single moment I will be without Him. Let’s think on this for a bit; what are you afraid of? What are you really afraid of?