If we are wise, we will do what Jesus said: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our life to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless life. And we shall find that it is more than poetry, more than sweet hymnody and elevated feeling. The cross will cut into our lives where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputation. It will defeat us and bring our selfish life to an end.
~A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
~ My King, oracled by Isaiah, in Isaiah 53
Oh beloved, it is true.
We, each of us, will find that the pain of this world is too great to bear. Many of us formerly lost boys from The Colony of Mercy know that the pain of this existence can be maddening. It tears at our souls and dares us to try and find a way through.
Oh, we tried. We hammered chemicals and images and anything else we could find. To somehow, of god please!, make it stop.
Still, and thankfully, most of us have found freedom from this foolishness that dominated us. We had been sitting there on some tiny little throne of our own making, and trying to build a kingdom of our own comfort; failing all the while.
And He broke through.
It was like the moment in so many believer’s lives. Somehow the curtains were pulled back, and He enabled us to see both our incredible foolishness, and His astounding goodness. These were two things separated by an infinite distance, that only Jesus could leap across…. We called, and He came running to our rescue.
Still, and painfully, the freedom we know that we have found on the inside does not always (sometimes ever) work its way into the consciousness of others who knew us in our past. And actually, most of these people saw us at our worst – while we were faded out, unconscious, or laying in a pool of whatever had spilled around us, or out of us.
But still, the freedom HE gives us is real. There is no need to even prove it. But, it is our desire that others might see it. Our godly sorrow has created in us a powerful energy that both desires to live free (oh! Don’t we hate it when we fail?!?!), and for others to see the same freedom that is possible.
Can we see it, though?
Many, or even most, will never see it. They might be old friends, or family members, or coworkers, or whoever. But, for them, it may be something that they just cannot overlook.
Maybe too much of our failure got all over them.
Maybe too much of our pain injured them.
Maybe too much of our selfishness sucked too much life out of them.
Maybe the miracle G_d has done in us, is something they themselves are not ready to see.
This fool of a writer left one hell of path of destruction in his past. My heart was so broken over so much pain in my own life, that i could not see how much pain i was laying down on others who i supposedly loved.
But now that i have truly learned to Love, while i find that while i can more clearly see the pain of others, a tender heart is also more easily hurt by the ongoing years of loss of relationship with those who used to be the people who were closest to me.
What to do?
Nothing. Just let it hurt. And oh, it will hurt.
Oh beloved, there really is no answer to some of the conundrums of our lives. They are lives both drenched in the Joy of His Presence, and sometimes flooded with the sorrows of this world. However, we are not alone any more. There is One Who knows exactly how we feel. He is, in fact, feeling it with us – right here, and right now.
So, have you hurt others? Confess, and know you are forgiven. Make the amends that you can, and allow His Grace to enable you to live in such a way that you will never give them reason to hurt on your account again. But, know this: your (and this fool of a writer’s) reputation with other humans may never be repaired. Love requires that we do not try to force others to see us any other way than they are willing to see.
Tonight is your night. Time to allow your reputation to be buried. And, it is time to allow your freedom to set you free from the expectation that this will ever be different in this life.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: If you put fine grapes into the winepress, there will come out a delicious juice; our souls, in the winepress of the cross, give out juice which nourishes and strengthens. ~Saint Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney (1786-1859)
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.” Psalm 4:1