Sunday, March 06, 2011

Remember Who Holds You Today

I once heard a descriptive quote in the cartoon movie called "The Prince of Egypt" that described what God is building here on this earth can be seen as a beautiful tapestry, perfect in every way, from the perspective of heaven. Yet, here on earth we can only see the underside of jumbled threads, colors and knots that cannot reveal the finished product. I thought that was a great description of our imperfect, sinful, human struggles here on earth. Yet, in eternity, all of the "whys," "what ifs," "how comes," "why me," "why not me," "why him/her," "hows," "whens," "wheres" and "whats" that we encounter in this life that often become questions for God; will be finally revealed to us. We just have to remain patient, even when we do not comprehend or understand all of the "whys" of this world.

You can be sure that evil, sin, and death are the causes of much pain, grief, sadness, crying and suffering. Whatever we, as Christian believers, can do to alleviate such sufferings for the sakes of others, can be counted as good. But we can't expect to do it all. It would be way too overwhelming. What we can do within our sphere of influence, should be done for the sakes of those who are in our lives at the moment and those in need around us who need help.

In the chapter entitled, "Remember Who Holds You" in Max Lucado's book, Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference, Max writes:

Frightening thing, this pride. It would rather kill the truth than consider it.

Doesn't it sneak up on us? We begin spiritual journeys as small people. The act of conversion is a humbling one. We confess sins, beg for mercy, bend our knees. We let someone lower us into the waters of baptism. We begin as self-effacing souls. Timid children who extend muddy hands to our sinless God. We relate to the thief on the cross, identify with David's forgiven adultery, and find hope in Peter's forgiven betrayal. We challenge Paul's claim to the chief-of-sinners title, wondering if anyone could need or treasure grace as much as we do.

We come to God humbly, no swagger, no boasts, no "all by myself" declarations. We flex no muscles and claim no achievements. We cup sullied hearts in hands and offer them to God as we would a crushed, scentless flower: "Can you bring life to this?"

And he does. He does. We don't. He works the miracle of salvation. He immerses us in mercy. He stitches together our shredded souls. He deposits his Spirit and implants heavenly gifts. Our big God blesses our small faith.

[We] need a big God because we've made a big mess of our lives.

Boy...ain't that the truth! Who hasn't had to admit that they have "made a big mess" of something in their own lives? We all have had one or more experiences where we say, "I should have," "I could have," "I wish I did this, or that," or "I wish I DIDN'T DO THAT," haven't we? Some choices are much more profound than others and bother us for not having listened to the urging of the Holy Spirit guiding our lives. Been, there, done that. We suffer from guilty feelings.

Max Lucado goes on in that chapter to say that "gradually God changes us." It certainly doesn't happen in one felled swoop.

As God gradually changes us, we find that we don't want to do the sins that we used to do quite frequently in the past (and probably without guilt feelings before being saved.) But after being saved by Christ on the cross, His sacrifice for our sakes changes us forever. There is no turning back to that "old lifestyle." This isn't forced upon us, because we still have that sin nature and free will to carry it out if we want to. But our desire to please Him changes us and we look towards His righteousness to guide our lives. We look heavenward more.

Max goes on to say that our good deeds then can often get recognized by more people and if we aren't careful, can result in pride. The Bible warns us, "pride comes before a fall." We should never forget who brought us here. Max describes it this way:

"We think we're shaking up the world when actually we're just along for the ride."

Take time to remember. "look at what you were when God called you" (1 Cor. 1:26 NCV). Remember who held you in the beginning. Remember who holds you today.

1 comment:

Susan Smith said...

Hi Christine,

Beautiful post… Thank you. I like your words: “Been, there, done that.”

As a former lesbian of for more than 20 years and a drunk for more than 30 years, I understand from my perspective what you said. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds day by day. Transformation takes time and grace and truth.

So often I slap others in the face with truth, but forget the grace part. Jesus the Messiah is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

The Messiah is the way I want to go… He is my LIFE. Loving you on the way as we follow JESUS this day! (ss)