Friday, May 30, 2014

Trust The Promise

"Every word of God is pure. He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him." Proverbs 30:5

I just finished a book by Brennan Manning called Ruthless Trust. As with all of his books, I was moved and frustrated with myself and hopeful and eager by the end. The journey of life with Jesus is all about trust, at least for me and Brennan. I'm so glad he understands it too.

I read just yesterday how easily Jesus' disciples deserted him in the garden when the soldiers came to arrest him. Matthew gives them no flattering moment of indecision, he just lays it out there: "Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled." (Matthew 26:56)

One minute I think I've eradicated fear from my life, and the next I realize how easily I succumb to its miserly lies. I fail just as many times as I successfully rest in Him, but my heart is growing more and more desperate. Every time I choose to walk in fear, I hate it even more. The self-protection that used to comfort me now only smells like betrayal of Jesus to me, and I guess that's a step forward. A small, seemingly insignificant transition.

I read this verse this morning and loved it. "Every word of God is pure." In my Bible, it explained that the word pure could also mean "refined, tested, found to be pure". In the commentary, it explains the word actually means to refine by fire, as a precious metal. Every word of God has been put through the fire.

Isn't that an encouraging thought? When I am at a precipice, so close to the edge where only fear and depression rage like seas beneath, and the only hope is a ragged looking promise from God's word that I pray can bear my weight- I can take comfort knowing that this particular promise has been tested by those who went before me. The words have proven able to carry the forerunners of our faith, and what appears only a few words on a page is actually the very lifeline that others have clung to and found able to carry them out to a resting place. And we know that resting place on the other side of faith is a glorious place, according to Isaiah 11:10.

I've had conversations with a few friends recently who confess that they are afraid to lean their whole heart on God. Total surrender, in their minds, is equated with painful trials and loss and grief. It's such a slippery place, that moment before we choose to give it all to Jesus again. The enemy comes in trying to convince us that God is capricious, cannot be trusted, and has some sort of sick need to snatch away our happiness like the character Gru on Despicable Me, who makes a kid a balloon dog just to pop it in the end. Our minds start racing, asking over and over, "What will this moment cost me?"

If only we had a correct view of Jesus, we'd happily just throw everything at His feet for the joy of Him. Of His love, of His face. I love how Graham Cooke says, "He's the happiest person I know." Little children flocked to Him, prostitutes and sinners and the most hopeless of men felt pulled to His side because of the magnetic hope that emanated from His very heart. There is no shifting shadow in Him, He doesn't bait and switch. He IS True. His name in Revelation 19:11 is Faithful and True.

I had a moment this week in Psalm 84, reading one of my favorite verses about how a swallow and a sparrow find a nest for her young near God's altars, and it hit me suddenly that God's Old Testament altar was a holy place, one only priests could be near, and yet little sparrows and birds, skittish under normal circumstance in anyone else's presence, found His presence to be so restful and life-giving that they built their homes there, and He allowed them to. He is a good, generous Father. If they can build a home in Him, certainly so we can we, for " you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows!" Matthew 10:31

I love Heidi Baker. A few months ago Bethel released a documentary about her and her ministry to the orphans of Mozambique, "Compelled by Love". I watched it one morning with tears literally streaming down my cheeks as she continually talked about what a joy it was and is to give everything she has and owns to Jesus, and she knows that when she arrives in Heaven, she'll wish she had more to give, because He is so worthy. And yet she doesn't look pinched and uncomfortable, she looks radiant. She looks full, she looks ALIVE. "Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces will NEVER be covered in shame." We will not be ashamed when we make the decision to cash it all in on Jesus.

When we reach our end, and the chasm of emptiness stretches before us, where only a promise from God's word about His character can offer us a way across to the other side, we can trust it. That bridge has borne many a faithful soul before. And we do not want to miss out on being among them, on the other side. Some else's fire has tested that promise before. It will not fail us. He cannot fail us.

"Therefore since we are surrounded by SUCH A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us RUN with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2

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