“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven…everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”- Matthew 7:21, 24
They are a mysterious thing, if you really think about it.
Those of us who are able to articulate what is on our minds and hearts through the vowels and consonants tied together on our lips have quite a responsibility to use them wisely… and most of us (pointing all fingers toward myself!) don’t do this as wisely as we should.
“With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”- James 3:9-10
These things ought not to be so, but they are.
Isn’t there a lot of that around and within us?
It is all to easy to find spaces and pieces of ourselves and of others that simply don’t line up with identity of Image Bearers that we have been given.
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”- Romans 8:22
We may have a lot of things we don’t agree on, but at the end of the day, I think most of us would admit that this doesn’t feel like home. Sure, we can all attempt to bandage our wounds, tie our hurts up with pretty bows, and mask the places that just don’t seem quite right (or- almost worse- pretend they aren’t there); but if we were just gut-wrenchingly honest, we know.
We see it in tragedy. In sickness. In natural disaster. In war. In politics. In relationships. In the church.
Each of us could point out more than a handful of places that we are aware of that simply don’t seem like God’s best.
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”- Hebrews 11:13-16
Let’s go back to this whole concept of words. There are human words, and then there is the Word of God.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- John 1:1
God’s Word is perfect because it lays out exactly who He is and who He says we are. And in the above Hebrews verses, God makes it very clear: This feeling you have that things aren’t they way they will be? You are exactly right! My plans for you may begin here but my purposes for you extend far beyond this place. What is seen is not what truly is.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately and about the reality that if this is what I truly believe, it should change everything. I know as Christ followers we say this- but really- I’m not just blowing smoke or giving a Sunday School pep rally cheer. If this is really true- then it’s not just true some days. It’s not meant to be lived out merely at your dying breath, or one day a week, or on certain holidays, or during what the world deems tragic. No.
The fullness of God is willing and able to meet you right here, right now.
God longs for you to trust Him with this moment, and the next, and the one after that.
I wrote this in my journal recently:
“I have come to a point where I am utterly sick of acting like the Enemy has lost the war but still has the power to win some of the battles. The truth is the only good thing about the Enemy is that he has already lost. He comes to steal. Kill. Destroy. That’s it. He’s the father of lies. And he has absolutely no control over me seeing as, “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Christian, it’s time to stop living like we are searching FOR victory and instead, live FROM victory only found in Jesus Christ”.
You know what I don’t think this means?
I don’t believe this means that heaven is here. I think that until Jesus comes back, suffering will be permitted for reasons only God Himself understands. We know this. We may pray against specifics when they head our way- and there’s nothing wrong with that. But God? His plans are greater, bigger, wider. I have many, many people who reach out very offended that I say that God allows suffering. I have no response other than that if I didn’t believe that, I would not believe in the truth and authority of the Word of God. Beyond that, I have seen in my own life and the life of most of the people whose faith I admire most that suffering is a gateway to knowing the Father more. Why? I’m not sure. Yet, I know that God’s light seems brightest when everything around me seems darkest.
What I DO think the above means is that we are able to trust in the goodness of the Father in spite of all that we see around and within. I think this tells us that the time is NOW to hold fast to His Words instead of fixating on the words of those around us. We must behold Jesus in order to see things as they truly are.
Where is God?
He is right here.
He is Immanuel, God with us, a very-present Help that never even for a millisecond thinks about abandoning His own.
In spite of all that is around us, He is constant.
He is the ONLY One we can fix our full hope on, both in this life and the next.
And, smack dab in the midst of this broken place we live in but are not destined for, I want to make sure I don’t miss the opportunity to tell you that I believe this is absolutely true and that He is absolutely sovereignly good in all His ways. This is all that’s worth staking our entire lives and whole beings on. This is it. HE is the Answer. The time is now. Satisfaction awaits and is found in the One who will never, no never, no never forsake.
At all times.
In all things.
No matter what.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”- Francis Chan