In accordance with his sovereign will, the circumstances of my life are set along a route with the goal of his glory in view. But they are mere wisps and shadows of this world. If I am claimed by Christ’s blood, they are not my life. Jesus in me is life, eternal life. The circumstances are really inconsequential.
And I, almost-57-year-old me with all my baggage and experiences and stumbles and failures and memories and gifts and skills and wisdom-gained-through-affliction-and-hurt and compassion-grown-through-seeing-others-through-my-own-mistakes and faith-growing-like-a-mustard-seed, am the one he has prepared for the journey, this particular journey, because this is the one that will reflect Jesus. None other is suited to me. No one else’s is matched to how he has tilled the soil of my heart or how he nurtures the seed of faith in my soul or how he plans to shine through in love and truth.
Don’t let conduct or conversation steal away opportunities to proclaim freedom to those enslaved to sin and life to the despairing. (originally published at Servants of Grace)
If I disregard the protection my blood pressure medication affords me or neglect the exercise of regular dosages or leave it in places where it would get lost or stolen, I am making my heart an easy target for stroke or attack because of weakened and malfunctioning systems. When we disregard the value of the graces the Lord has provided, or fail to put on the spiritual armor available to every believer, or neglect the benefits in growth and maturity accessible through the body of Christ, the church, then we make ourselves easy targets for the side-of-the-road attacks from the fiends of temptation, affliction, and sin.
I know the temptation there is to feel the drudgery or the wastefulness of life, especially in this time of stay-at-home orders, economic uncertainty, an invisible microbial enemy, the endless waiting for a positive turn in the news, the exponentially greater hazard for those in at-risk situations (whether health, abusive environment, trafficked, in poverty).
The good news of Jesus’s reconciling and restoring acts of atonement and resurrection is reflected in the tiny minutiae of stories like yours and mine.
Weights are things which “mar communion with Christ,” and we enter into communion with our Savior through contentment and obedience. As tempted as I may be to get rid of unpleasant people, projects or situations, they are often the very thing that I need to learn contentment and obedience and to progress in holiness.
This is the divine recipe for the bride’s beauty treatment: otherworldly love that compelled a King to sacrifice himself on her behalf.
We need to preach the gospel of freedom in Christ to ourselves. We need to remind ourselves daily, hourly, moment by moment, how merciful and patient the Lord is with us.
Opportunities come and go in our lives. Most poignantly, they happen in small slices of time. A moment’s hesitation and a job prospect is gone. One second more and that car would have sideswiped you. The phone sounds its last ring and you grab it in time to hear the apology you’ve been praying for. You crest the hill at exactly the same moment the sunset sky reaches its most glorious and spectacular release of color and light.
My husband describes the moment that he realized I was the one he’d been looking for this way: “It was like spotting a fugitive on the street whose wanted photo you’ve been carrying around for months.”
It’s not the only time I’ve been sought out.
That hole I want to dive into when this world’s failures — when my failures — press in upon me? I can’t go there. It’s already occupied — by my burden. It tumbled off my shoulders and into that Tomb when Jesus set His mark on me and sealed me for heaven. That glorious, empty tomb was vacated when He rose to conquer the terror and finality of death that loomed over me when I resided in the City of Destruction. That hole once housed His body crushed for me under the weight of my sin, and now it buries instead for eternity my burden and those of all who believe in Him. It’s a bottomless pit.