30 August 2011

kicking and screaming or quietly and broken; just fall on your knees

"We look for visions of heaven and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us." - Oswald Chambers

"We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good. Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious...
Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I am blessed to know that I did not need a 'big miracle' to come back to my faith in Christ. Do not misunderstand me, it is a miracle that I stopped living my sinful lifestyle and came back to faith at all but I did not have a flashy, saved-from-death-in-a-car-wreck kind of miracle. I am so happy to have faith in the midst of 'small miracles' but I pray daily for my faith to be strengthened and daily God delivers.

I know that some people need that 'big miracle' to validate their faith or to believe at all. Gideon needed that miracle, even after the angel of God came to him, he still asked for proof! *Judges 6.11-40* Thomas, a disciple who saw Jesus perform miracles, needed proof that He had risen even after hearing it from his closest friends. *John 20.24-29* One of my dearest brothers in faith is a skeptic who came to faith in Christ after a lot of doubt and testing and I am sure he is not the only one.

It is not wrong to need that in our faith. We can come to Christ kicking and screaming in our pride or beaten and bruised in humility. The important thing is that we come to Him at all and when we fall on our knees before Him that we repent of the ugly sin that holds us captive. And then we can rise in the victory that He has provided over that ugliness and walk through life with God, our Maker and Christ, our Redeemer by our side until we meet Him face to face in heaven!

Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. -John 20.29-31

Aslan, the lion, strikes my heart every time he appears in the Narnia books. He is such a beautiful picture of God and Christ. I am brought to tears because I think of what has been done for all of humanity in the name of love. I look at my child and rejoice in this truth, knowing that as much as I love him, he is loved that much more by his Creator.

He brings us out of the darkness to the brightest light we can never imagine until it is seen by our eyes at the end of our journey here on earth. If you are reading this and really do not understand or know what this real, true love is, my heart breaks for you. I hope to the core of my soul, that we will all spend our time in eternity together in paradise. It will make any beauty we experience in this world pale a thousand-fold.

An important thing to note is this, so many people I have known and spoken to throughout my life have said things to the effect of, "so and so (evangelist/pastor/priest, christian friend, christian parent, {insert yours here}) did this, has done that to (me, my friend, my family, {insert yours here}) and yet claims to be a christian, I do not want to be part of that hypocrisy". My response to you is this, DO NOT LOOK TO PEOPLE FOR WHAT ONLY CHRIST CAN SHOW US, PLEASE! We will always fail you, we are not perfect like He is. It is not meant as an excuse, we are told to be examples, to live like Christ but please do not let this be a stumbling block to faith that will bring you to the beauty I have described! No one is perfect, we all sin and will continue to do so until we are brought to paradise. We strive not to do so but again, this world is not our place of perfection. It grieves me to know that I have possibly influenced anyone in my life in this way. I pray often for anyone who crossed my path when I was not living for Christ (or even when I have, but made mistakes) to be shielded from that wrong influence.

I want to end with this verse and also these words from c.s. lewis:

Romans 1:7b
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

These words come from Surprised by Joy, lewis' autobiographical account of his 'early life' remember, if you know, he was an outspoken atheist attempting to disprove God's existence:

"In the Trinity Term in 1929 I gave in, and admitted God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not see then what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The prodigal son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation."

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