The most difficult of decisions are often not the ones that we cannot determine the correct course, and rather the ones that we are certain of the path but fear the journey.
This is the first real blog post in over a month.I’ve been intentionally refraining from venting any news or emotions through this blog, knowing who may be reading this, and how they might react.?? For I do not want to say anything that I would regret, or reveal anything private that ought not to be made public.?? I want to glorify?? Christ here, above all else, and thus, I have kept many things private: discussing matters personally to those whom I trust: via email, instant messages, phone, or in-person conversations.?? All in all, it may seem from this blog that I have been reticent, and even “quiet” to say the least.?? And in that, such may be an unfortunate but accurate description of what I have been feeling.However, 4 weeks have past, and I feel that it is necessary to have a “press release” of a sort.?? In as much as I want to make a public pronouncement, I’ll still try to be as open as reticence and vagueness would permit me.
God Gives, God Takes Away
If you asked me 2 months ago about whether or not I could relate to Job‘s sufferings, I would have said no.?? But if you asked me now, I would respond by a solemn affirmation — yes, I certainly can.?? I know very well what it feels like to have God bestow abundant grace into my life, giving me numerous things I do not deserve by His sovereign decree.And at the same time, I can now also say that I know very well what it feels like to have such gracious things removed by God, and taken away like a thief in the night.?? To do just about all the right things, and then have that very good thing that God first gave to me taken back by the Him, is likely the most heart-wrenching feeling that any Christian can experience.
Flawed Person, Sinful by Nature
I do not for once think that I am a perfect person, but rather, that I am far from it.?? By the grace of God and through the Spirit of Christ, I am doing the best I can.?? I have been trying… Not trying by my own strength to do the right things, but rather dying to self-trying and self-power and crucifying the self of its fleshly desires.?? Perfection is impossible to accomplish in this life, but I have grown in obedience and in love, and that is what matters.Or at least, I thought that was all that mattered.Oh how often do we overlook the sins of our friends and love them just as they are!?? Is it not foolish of us to think that anybody we come in contact with is a perfect sinless person??? May it never be that we think such a thought!?? Just as Luther once said, “This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it. The process is not yet finished but it is going on. This is not the end but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.” I am a work in progress, and you would be deceiving yourself to think otherwise.?? You also are not yet who you should be, and I would be deceiving myself to think otherwise.
Peace with God, Peace of God
Someday, I hope to do an extensive word study on the word “friend” (?????????????) in the Scriptures. Like how in John 15:15, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” What does it mean that we are ????????????? (friends, dearly beloved) of Jesus??? And how does that translate into our relationship to each other as ??????????????I am also reminded of Romans 5:1, where Paul writes that “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In his use of the word ???????????????? (peace) the apostle’s implication is that we are no longer enemies of God.?? On the contrary, this is the objective experience of our peace with God: Paul is saying that even when we don’t feel like we have the peace of God (Phil 4:6-7), we should assured that we have peace with God!?? Because of Christ???s atoning sacrifice, we are no longer at war with God but we at peace with him.?? Thus, only since we are at peace with God can we possibly have the peace of God in our lives!How does this translate into our relationships with friends and how we treat one another in the body of Christ??? Does this passage have any significance at all to our friendships with brothers and sisters in God’s family??? Certainly, we are of one family and of one body and thus are (or at least, should be) at peace with one another.?? As an application, this is both an indicative?? and an imperative for our relationships.?? While we may not feel like we can forgive another family member and be at peace with them, we must recognize that Christ has already purchased forgiveness for all our sins and brought us peace through His precious blood.?? Having peace with God means that we ought to be at peace with each other.That is why we must rid ourselves of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, but instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven us.?? Everything we say should be good and helpful, so that our words would be an encouragement to those who hear them (Eph 4:28-32).
How deep the Father’s love for us,How vast beyond all measureThat He should give His only SonTo make a wretch His treasureHow great the pain of searing loss,The Father turns His face awayAs wounds which mar the chosen One,Bring many sons to glory