…Continued from last post
Before I endeavour to complete the second Part of my last post, I would like to share something extraordinary that took place yesterday. An average of 200-300 readers look at my blog each day. However, soon after I published my post yesterday, viewings started to increase more rapidly than I could keep track of. It was almost as if I had ignited an explosive and the moment my post was published, the gunpowder started burning at an incredible speed with no sign of slowing down. My viewings yesterday reached 1,826, the highest so far in the 9 months that I have been blogging. Everyday that I live, I continue to be amazed and in awe of God’s power and providence. Anyone who believes they call the shots in their life remains in darkness, for God’s ways are unfathomable and what we achieve in our own strength will never even come remotely close to what God’s mighty power can do with one single breath of His Holy Spirit. Praise God!
For the past 6 weeks my family and I have lived each day at a time, just as we should. We have relied solely in God’s power, love and promises to carry us through what has been a fiery furnace of shock, hurt, anger, repentance, disappointment, fear, trembling, anxiety, unexplainable peace, compassion and Godly counseling from others, shame, pride, humility, and sharp, raw, pure and simple faith. This wonderful but explosive cocktail was all thrown in together and the only reason we are pulling through it, is because when we are partakers in Christ’s sufferings, as a very genuine and caring cyber friend pointed out to me today, we are in very good company, for as we go through that fire, we remember the One that went before us, and it fills us with hope, honour and the undeniable presence of God’s grace towards us, as He loves us to such extent that He will neither leave us nor forsake us, but instead work in us until the point when we are able to see for ourselves that, as Christ suffered and is victorious, so will we be victorious too.
But, and this is a very BIG BUT, one cannot have the victory, unless heart and soul are broken to such an extent that there is nothing of us left, only the will of the Father remains in us and the genuine wish to see God’s will accomplished in and through our lives, regardless of what it may cost.
Didn’t Jesus agonise in the Garden of Gethsemane when he pleaded with God: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; YET not my will, but yours be done.”
Let me insert this whole passage, because what takes place before and after is absolutely key to making it in this world and the next as a true follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, or by contrast as a phoney who seeks after all the glory with no blessings spared; one that is in it for himself/herself and not for the glory and praise of God Almighty.
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
I cannot begin to even tell you how many times this passage with Jesus’ words of anguish and supplication has been echoing and ringing relentlessly in my ears. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard myself pray out loud for God to remove this cup from us and instantly felt convicted and ashamed to call myself a Christian that is happy to claim the prize at the end, but who every time that is facing a hurdle, begs to be pulled out of the race; not willing to count the cost and to accept that the suffering and the glory are two sides of the same coin that cannot be removed from each other, for if you attempt to escape the suffering and work out your own favourable circumstances, you are stepping outside of the will of God, and the fate that awaits those who live in such a manner is far more agonising, far more painful than any of the troubles we may experience on earth, because once you experience the presence of God in your life, the worst possible outcome or prospect has to be to be separated, even when only briefly, from that embracing, glorious, powerful, unexplainable, far above all things known to men presence.
I cannot tell you how deep James’s words have penetrated into my heart and soul over these past few weeks:
James 1, 2-6
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
As I have sat there many times with my husband praying and talking about our predicament, not often have I regarded our circumstances as cause for pure joy, if I am honest. We have often lacked faith in God’s plans, as we have tried to wriggle our way out of our plight by endlessly making excuses and so avoid facing head on the challenge to stop fretting and to step out of the boat and into the water, no longer relying on our own ability to make it through turbulent waters, but merely trusting by faith that as we hold Jesus’ hand, we do indeed believe without a shadow of a doubt that He is the One and Only source of strength qualified to take us to the other side, for He knows only too well what is needed for that journey.
And this, my friends, is exactly what my whole dream was about. “My ways are your ways”, said the angel of the Lord. Take up your cross and follow me, for whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Yes, God’s Ways are so very much higher than ours and for that very good reason the Lord’s ways have to be our ways too. As Christians we have a high calling to live up to and certainly aim for, and nothing less will do. Yes, Jesus died on that cross for all our sins and we are saved by grace and not by works; we are saved by faith and grace alone. However, we cannot be complacent and content with just accepting that. Our call is to reflect the glory of God, the light of his presence in this dark world and in order to do that, we have to constantly aim for gold, for that victory wreath, that crown of life that awaits; we must fix our eyes on Jesus and the steps he took in order to get to the finish line, so that not only we aim for heaven, but when we get there we can be mature and complete, not lacking in anything and resting in the knowledge, when the final judgement comes, that we love and have loved God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind, that we have been faithful to him till the very end, even when under unbearable pressure.
My ways, said the Spirit of the Lord to me, are your ways. Indeed, they are. May the Lord grant us all, the grace and humility we will need on the journey, the faith and the courage to get to the finish line, for the Battle is the Lord’s. We just need to watch Him very closely and learn from a job well done.
Lyrics to “Just like you” by Jason Upton
So with water up my nose I felt your hand come close to save me
Ive tried to cast out the demons Ive gone to the darkest of regions
When fear has me shaking you suddenly break in to save me
To be like you
Like any son or daughter
I want to be like my Father
I desire to be like you
You promised to never forsake me
So I’ll risk it all if you’ll make me like You
You stand beside me just waiting while I try to go it alone
Smiling You say son come here wont you let me just help you
But frustrated I try to make it cause Ive just got something to prove
Not knowing it is my weakness that perfects your power